The Orange Peeling Trick That Perfectly Preserves The Peel

How often have you made fresh orange juice and simply discarded those juiced citrus halves without a second thought? Statista claims the average American consumed roughly 26 pounds of citrus fruit in 2021, and you're probably not surprised to see oranges at the top of the list. Fruit Growers News indicates oranges to be the second most consumed fruit in America for fresh consumption, either eaten as a raw fruit or enjoyed as a tart, refreshing beverage.

If you're someone who enjoys eating raw orange segments, then you know how frustrating peeling an orange can be at times. Orange lovers have an obvious appreciation for that acidic flesh but the outer peels are usually an afterthought. What if there are more uses for that textured, aromatic exterior besides the compost bin? Apart from some of the more practical citrus peel uses outlined by Reader's Digest, such as neutralizing unwanted odors and even conditioning your hair, citrus peels have many culinary uses as well. As a matter of fact, according to Best Health, citrus rinds tend to have more health benefits than the inner flesh. If you're up for giving your next round of orange peels a second life, what is the most effective method for peeling so you don't end up with a messy pile of rind particles?

Save your citrus rinds with a few different peeling methods

Whether you're choosing tangerines, clementines, or mandarins or opting for the ubiquitous navel oranges, there's a way to peel these citrus fruits that will make saving leftover rinds a breeze. For oranges specifically, if you have the desire to save your peels in one long strand, Uncle Matt's Organic showcases their preferred method. Starting at the very top of your fruit, score the rind gently to avoid piercing any flesh, and then make your way to the other end, hand peeling in a circular motion until you've reached the bottom. If you're having trouble with this method, Sweetish Hill suggests soaking whole oranges in boiling water before scoring to loosen the rind and pith.

Cleverly Inspired suggests cutting off both ends first, scoring a line down the middle of the peel, and then removing the entire exterior in one fell swoop. If your goal is to keep most of the peel intact, Food&Wine advises slicing an orange around the center 1/8 of an inch first so the flesh isn't disturbed. Then simply wedge the handle of a spoon between the peel and flesh, working along the inner exterior until you've made a complete circle. After doing so, you should be able to remove the whole top half of your orange peel. Now that you know how to properly peel an orange without damaging the rind, how do you incorporate these peels into your favorite dishes?

Fun ways to use orange peel

If you're ready to use those thoughtfully peeled rinds, why not make Produce Made Simple's citrus fruit salad? Just one look at this recipe may lead some to argue the best part has to be the little orange bowls of citrus rind perfect for showcasing the bright salad composed of strawberries, oranges, and pomegranate seeds. If you want to eat the peel, you could always make homemade candied orange peels or spice things up even more by attempting Southern Living's orange peel pound cake which calls for thin strips of navel orange peel in the recipe's finishing glaze along with a hefty amount of zest right in the cake itself.

Speaking of citrus zest, America's Test Kitchen recommends freezing zest if you don't plan on using it right away since the zest of limes, lemons, and oranges can enhance the flavor of any dish. Eat or Toss explains how citrus zest can be added to various baked goods, sprinkled on top of cookies, added to oatmeal, or even used as a thoughtful decoration for a celebration cake. Whether you decide to candy your peels or use those perfectly scooped rinds to house fruit salad, or even jello shots, peeling your oranges in a few easy steps assures more fun with the versatile, aromatic leftovers.