I hate waste of any kind. If I throw something out I feel so ashamed and guilty. Some people may call me cheap but when something is perfectly fine, I try to find another use for it. One thing that has a lot of uses are citrus peels. I save them. All of them. If I take an orange to work, I wrap up the orange peel in a paper towel and bring it home – I know, I know. I can feel your judging eyes. If I use the juice of a lemon or lime in a recipe, I save the peel.
These last few weeks I’ve been eating an orange a day and I’ve been saving those peels for another use: Orange Vinegar.
When I make orange vinegar for eating, I always zest the orange because the pith will give the vinegar a bitter taste. Add the orange zest to a quart jar, fill with vinegar, and steep.
After it’s steeped for a good amount of time (a month or more; taste it to make sure it’s at the flavor you want), strain and bottle. This vinegar is yummy in a lot of things: adding it in marinades, adding to sauteed greens, using it in a salad dressing. The possibilities are endless.
Another tip: do not throw the pith out after you zest it. Throw the pith down your garbage disposal, turn it on, and it will help disinfect and clean it!
My citrus peel bag is specifically for making citrus cleaning vinegar. I do not remove the zest from the pith. I just fill up a quart jar with the reserved frozen peel, fill the quart jar up with white vinegar, give it a good shake, and let it steep on my window sill.
I let them steep for a long while; usually I forget about them. When I think the vinegar is ready I strain and bottle it.
I fill up a squeezie bottle with citrus cleaning vinegar to use as a rinse in my dishwasher and I also half it with water to use it as a cleaning solution in a spray bottle. I label it Cleaning Vinegar.