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The next time you peel an orange, think twice before tossing the peel. While many people see the peel just as something to throw away, it can actually be useful for things like skincare, cleaning, and cooking- proving that the outer layer of this popular fruit is as beneficial as its nutritious interior.

Here are 12 ways orange peels can be a secret ingredient in your kitchen.

All-Natural Cleaner

orange peel vinegar
Image Credit: Homestead How-To

Have you ever considered using orange peels as a useful cleaner? Combined with vinegar, orange peels can make an effective all-purpose cleaner.

It’s eco-friendly, non-toxic, and a great way to use kitchen waste. The natural oils from the orange peels add a beautiful smell to the vinegar and a certain power and intensity to the white vinegar used for cleaning.

Get the Recipe: Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner

Orange Extract

orange essential oil extract

If you enjoy using extracts in your recipes, you’ll appreciate this easy DIY orange oil extract recipe. Like our homemade vanilla extract, this extract is less potent than pure essential oils but highly effective.

Get the Recipe: How to Make Orange Extract

Soften Hard Sugar

hardened brown sugar
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We’ve all likely experienced hardened sugar despite your best efforts to seal your brown sugar tightly. This makes it hard to use. However, you can soften it using orange peels. Simply place a few peels with the hardened brown sugar in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

Seal the container and leave it for several hours or overnight. The sugar will soften as the natural oils in the orange peel release moisture, keeping the sugar soft and free of lumps without altering its flavor. This method is effective and easy!

How to Make Hard Brown Sugar Soft Again

Boost Your Compost Mix

composting food scraps and eggshells
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Incorporate orange peels into your compost as a ‘green’ material. They speed up the composting process and increase the nutrient density of your compost, making your garden soil more fertile.

A Guide to Composting Made Easy

Deodorize the Garbage Disposal

image 9 edited
Image Credit: The Thrifty Apartment

Eliminating odors from garbage disposals can be simple and natural using orange peels. Slice up the peel and drop it into the disposal. The citrus oils in the peels serve as antibacterial and antifungal agents that combat odors. Additionally, the acidity of citrus fruits helps kill odor-causing bacteria, leaving your disposal smelling fresh.

9 Ways to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

Garnish for Cocktails

cocktail with orange peel
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Adding a twist of orange to a cocktail is a classic touch, particularly in whiskey drinks. The orange’s sweet aroma refreshes the cocktail, giving it a light, summery feel.

Attract Beneficial Wildlife

Beautiful sparrows. A photo of sparrow.
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Orange peels can attract birds by enticing insects, providing a natural food source for insect-eating birds. Wash the peels to remove pesticides before using them to ensure the safety of garden wildlife.

Protect Plants from Cats

cat in garden
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Scatter orange peels on the soil to prevent your cat from disturbing your potted plants. Cats find the strong citrus scent overwhelming and will steer clear.

Nutrient-Rich Spray

spraying the plant.
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Make a nutrient-rich spray for your plants by boiling orange peels. Strain the liquid into a spray bottle. Apply this spray to your plants to deter pests such as slugs, ants, and fruit flies.

Candied Orange Peels

Candied orange peel
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This recipe for candied orange peels is perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth. First, boil the peels, then simmer them in a mixture of sugar and water. This will coat the peels in a syrupy, caramel-like glaze. When simmering, the peels will become soft and chewy.

Use as a Fire Starter

fire pit
Image Credit: The Thrifty Apartment

Use dried orange peels as kindling to start your fireside. Place dried orange peels in the firepit or fireplace and light them. The flammable oils in citrus peels ignite faster than newspaper, helping you get your fire going in no time.

Enrich Your Soil as a Natural Fertilizer

coffee fertilizer
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Bury orange peels near your plants to gradually enrich the soil. By doing so, you’re disposing of the peels responsibly and nourishing your soil over time. As the peels decompose, they release essential nutrients into the soil, enriching it and fostering a healthier environment for your plants to thrive.

11 Reasons Banana Peels Are the Secret Ingredient Your Garden Needs

A Close up view of a white round plate with bananna peals piled into it on the green grass
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Banana peels are not just kitchen scraps but an excellent way to enrich your garden. Here are 11 reasons banana peels can be your garden’s secret ingredient.

11 Reasons Banana Peels Are the Secret Ingredient Your Garden

12 Delicious Herb Plants to Grow in Water

Herb harvest at home while cooking. Woman picking fresh basil leaf from growing herbs plants in hydroponic kratky jars system. Edible plant leaves. Basil, mint, thyme.
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Instead of constantly buying fresh herbs from the store or waiting for seeds to sprout, you can easily grow your favorite herbs at home using only water. Here’s a list of 12 herb plants you can start growing today in just water.

12 Herb Plants to Grow in Water

How to Outsmart Gnats to Keep Them Away From Your Houseplants

cinnamon on houseplant
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Gnats are more than just a minor annoyance; these tiny pests buzz around with a persistence that’s hard to ignore. Here are ten effective ways to keep gnats away from your house plants.

How to Outsmart Gnats to Keep Them Away From Your Houseplants

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