Money Mondays: 24 Uses for Oranges – Never Waste Another Orange

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Being able to reuse or re-purpose things instead of throwing them away can help you save money.  I’ve written many articles about avoiding waste and have even tried a few tips about other uses for citrus peels.  This article written by my friend Shelli who writes goes even further and provides tips I have not heard of before.  You’re bound to find at least a handful uses you can try now.  If you have other uses we’ve missed, please add to the comments.  Enjoy!

24 Uses for Oranges – Never Waste Another Orange

Written by Shelli, Preparedness Mama

When the opportunity came to purchase a box of oranges, I couldn’t resist…but what to do with 20 pounds of oranges? Find 24 uses for oranges, of course!  I love a good deal, don’t you? I also love to purchase in bulk and “put food up” for another day. So, when the opportunity came to purchase a box of oranges from a youth baseball fundraiser at a really good price, I couldn’t resist. But what do you do with 20 pounds of oranges? Find 24 uses for oranges, of course!

The first thing to do is wash the oranges before you use them. you are going to eat, or zest, in a sink of vinegar and water. Don’t worry too much about the ratio – a big “glug” of vinegar to half a sink of warm water will do. Let them sit for a few minutes and then rinse. I washed enough for several days and left the rest until I needed

Fill a sink with warm water and add vinegar. Don’t worry too much about the ratio – a big “glug” of vinegar to half a sink of warm water will do. Let the oranges sit in the solution for a few minutes and then rinse.

I washed enough for several days and left the rest until I wanted to use them. The wax coating that they place on them helps protect the oranges so they will last longer.

24 Uses for Oranges

  • Eat them! Oranges are a healthy snack with low calories. You can’t beat them for a mid-day boost.
    -86 calories in a large orange
    -65 calories in a medium size orange
    -45 calories in a small orange
  • How can you use a whole orange without waste? Simple…place the washed orange in the freezer. Once the orange is frozen, get your grater, and shred the whole orange (no need to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your foods. Sprinkle it on your salad, ice cream, soup, cereals, smoothies, noodles, spaghetti sauce, rice, sushi, fish dishes….the list is endless. All of the foods will have a wonderful taste. (This works well with lemon and lime too)
  • Make orange zest and use it for Corrie’s Kitchen Spa: Citrus Salt Body Scrub. Of course, you could cook with it too.
  • Make an herbal tea. Traditionally, orange peels are used internally in teas to help with stomach cramps and as an appetite stimulant.
  • Make orange zest and freeze it with water in ice cube trays. Use it for flavorful drinks on a hot day or to add some zing to your daily water routine.
  • Make old fashioned marmalade! It’s a great addition to your food storage. I used this recipe from Self-Reliant School and added spices to mix it up – nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon are good choices. Tasty!
  • Dry and powder the rinds. Here’s a great post from the Cupcake Project with all the instructions on how to make and use powdered zest. 
  • Make natural citrus cleaner with orange rinds and white vinegar. This was my favorite thing to do with the leftover orange peels, now I have orange scented vinegar to clean with. It’s so easy, you’ll never throw away an orange peel again.
  • Garbage Disposal sweetener – Keep the vinegar orange peels in a jar on the counter and put a few down the disposal every time you use it.
  • We always have extra eggs and now that I have a box of oranges I can make Honey Sweetened Orange Curd. This stuff is fabulous! You’ve got to try it over ice cream.
  • Clean your sink. Oranges can be used to safely clean most surfaces. Cut an orange in half and dip it lightly into a dish of salt. Scrub the inside of your sink with the salted orange. Rinse thoroughly. Then use it for #9. Even an orange that has already been juiced will work with this technique.
  •  Make an orange pomander. The citrus scent is pleasant and is a great mix with cloves, which repel moths. Here’s how:  Use a toothpick and make holes in an orange. Fill the holes with whole cloves. Bake the oranges on low for an hour or until they harden. After cooling, decorate with ribbon or string to form a sling for the orange. Hang in your closets, your bathrooms, your kitchens, or where you keep litter boxes. I like to put several of these in a decorative bowl in my bedroom.
  • Make an orange peel face mask. Grind dried orange peels to a powder and add it with an equal part of water (or milk) until you have a paste.  Apply as a face and body treatment.
  • Keep your brown sugar lump free. Oranges can deter brown sugar from hardening. Place a two-inch wide orange peel piece, pith and all, in with your brown sugar and keep in an air-tight container. The skin puts moisture into the air inside the container, keeping the air damp.
  • Fire Starters – The oil in orange peels is volatile, use this to your advantage and make your own fire starters. Squeeze the oil of orange peels onto a bundle of dryer lint. To start a fire out camping, put some dried orange peels with the kindling under the larger wood.
  • Make a delicious homemade oil for use on salad – give them as gifts, or just keep for your own kitchen. Place bits of orange peel (pith removed) and dried cranberries or a sprig of your favorite herb, into a decorative bottle and fill the remainder with extra virgin olive oil. Close the bottle and place it in a dark place. Remember to gently shake every few days. After several weeks the orange peels and herbs will impart a wonderful flavor to the oil. Remove the herbs, decorate and give!
  • Make citrus sugar: Use fresh twists and add it to sugar, combining them in a jar Let the oil from the peel infuse the sugar and after a few weeks remove the peel.
  • Make citrus extract powder:Make zest or twists (lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit) being sure to remove the pith and allow to dry, about three or four days for twists, less for zest. Put in a blender (or spice grinder) and pulverize into a powder. Store in a clean jar.
  • Keep cats away from your garden or houseplants. I’ve heard that cats don’t like the scent of orange. Try placing dried rinds around your prized plants and see what happens.
  • Compost it of course! Just be sure you don’t overload the compost bin with citrus. Putting the entire box in would be a bad idea and a waste of other great products you could be making!
  • Reduce the odor in your trash area. Placing orange peel at the bottom of your trash can, before putting the bag or bags in, is said to reduce odor and discourage insect infestation.
  • Make candied orange slices with these directions from Stacy Lynn Harris.
  • Make an infusion of honey with orange peels by placing twists and letting the flavors steep for a few weeks. Speed up the process by slowly heating them on the stove, being careful not to bring it to a boil. Remove the peels and store in a clean jar.
  • Try making your own orange oil extract: Caution! Orange oil is flammable and very corrosive. For most cleaning purposes, a quarter of an ounce mixed in with a quart of water should be enough to get the beneficial results. Always spot test before applying in quantity.                                                                                                -//dry and grind the orange peels.
    -// place into a mason (glass) jar and cover with clear grain alcohol (like vodka), warming it first will yield more oil.
    -// shake vigorously for a few minutes and repeat every couple of days.
    -// after two weeks, strain the mixture through a coffee filter, reserving the alcohol.
    -// place it in a shallow dish, cover with cheesecloth, and allow alcohol to evaporate, what’s left over will be orange oil.


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About the Author:

Shelli runs the popular website, Preparedness Mama “Getting the scared out of being prepared.”  Check it out at


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  1. Well I didn’t know the oil in the peel is volatile and can be used as a fire starter. I love the smell of oranges and would enjoy trying the Citrus Salt Body Scrub. I’ll have to try this with lemons, limes, and other citrus since they are too good to waste a bit! Thanks for the list.

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