This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
With the price of food so high these days, one of my goals is to avoid food waste, and have been finding interesting ways to grow vegetables from trash. Spring is right around the corner and with it comes a huge variety of fruit. I always feel bad about throwing away the peels so I started using them. Consider these uses and you may start saving them as well.
- Potpourri: Dry or dehydrate orange, lemon, tangerine or grapefruit peels. You can add them to prepared potpourri or make your own. To dry them without a food dehydrator, follow these steps.
- Temporary seed starter: This works for peels that are bowl shaped and sturdy such as avocado. Slice the fruit in half, and after scooping out the inside fruit, fill with garden soil and plant your seeds.
- Shoe shiner: Banana peels are great for this – just use the inside of the banana peels to shine your leather shoes.
- Marmalade: Citrus peels are great for making marmalade. (Note: If you are going to use the peels for food, try to use organic fruit if you can. Either way, always clean the peels thoroughly before using.)
- Air freshener: There are a couple of ways to do this: Cut up the lemon or orange peel into one inch pieces and run them through the garbage disposal. I’ve done this for years and it does freshen up the garbage disposal and sink. Or, take whatever citrus peels you have a boil for a few minutes. The smell will freshen up your kitchen.
- Hand softener: My dad actually taught me this trick: After peeling a pineapple, rub the fruit side all over your hands and leave on for a few minutes before washing. Your hands will feel really soft. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain that has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties.
- Sink scrubber: After squeezing the juice out, I’ve used lemon and orange peel slices as sink or counter scrubbers. The leftover juice is great for cleaning, and the pulpy part is great for removing grime.
- Insect repellant: Release the orange oil but rubbing the outer part of the orange skin on your skin. These oils repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. (Test on a small area first to avoid irritation.) Orange peels will also repel ants – just leave in areas infested by ants.
- Cat repellant: To keep cats from digging up your garden, leave orange peels around – they don’t like the scent.
- Compost: Fruit peels are great for compost. If you don’t have space to have a compost pile, you can also cut up the peels and bury them around your garden. The peels will decompose and supplement your soil.
- Addition to natural cleaners: Add lemon or orange peels to a jar and fill with vinegar. Leave it alone for a week or two, strain and use as grease cutter or all-purpose cleaner. Here is a good recipe for homemade cleaner.
- Tea flavoring: Even after squeezing the juice out, you can use orange, lemon or grapefruit and a flavoring for teas.
© Apartment Prepper 2016
Updated from a previous post that was originally published on 3/29/2014.