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How to avoid food waste in the kitchen: repurposing citrus peels

How to avoid food waste in the kitchen: repurposing citrus peels

It takes imagination to become zero waste in the kitchen, there are so many things we throw away that could be used up. Some peels you can eat, like potato, cucumber, eggplant..., or even banana peels, yes, you read that right! Find out how to use up banana peels here. 

But, what to do with citrus peels? 

Down below are some food waste hacks, natural beauty DIY and home cleaning tips to repurpose any kind of citrus peels and avoid food waste. Repurposing food waste avoids waste and reduces your carbon footprint. 

First thing is to find recipes to process the peels so you can eat them, they are a great vitamin C supplement, you have multiple options; you can dry them, salt them or candy them. Food tip; it’s better to scrape or cut the bitter white pith off the peels for culinary purposes. Here are some of the recipes we like:

  • Make candied peels, with lemon, orange or grapefruit, all you need water and sugar, follow this wonderful recipe from the Zero Waste Chef
  • You can also dry the peels, it’s a great way of storing those peels longer and with this recipe from Foodstasia you don’t need a dehydrator. 
  • Or preserve the peels in salt, preserved peels add great flavor to recipes, all you need is salt and a jar to store them in. Once preserved they can last for up to 2 years. We personally like this recipe by Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler. If instead of peels you bought excess citrus you can also use this zero waste hack to store whole lemons for a longer time.  

Another way of repurposing citrus peels is by making homemade beauty products, like scrubs. These are our two favorite recipes: 

  • First one is super simple, after you have squeezed a lime or lemon, save the citrus peel (we usually cut the lemon in half to squeeze the juice out) and add some salt or sugar and rub it against your nose, chin and forehead to cleanse those areas. 
  • Second DIY scrub, requires more steps, first you have to grate or chop very finely the peels, you can also dry them, and then add some sugar or salt, both are great exfoliants.  

It is also quite common to use citrus peels for cleaning purposes, they are great as disinfectant and add a really good fragrance. Here is a great DIY on how to make an all purpose cleaner. What we do most of the time is keep the used peels in the freezer and once there is enough to fill up a jar we put them in white vinegar for a week or so, take the peels out, mix the vinegar with some water and pour it in an old spray bottle that we keep on reusing. 

And lastly compost, once you have used as much of the peels as you can, for any of the previous food tips and beauty and  kitchen hacks, make sure you compost them to avoid any waste from going to the landfill. Organic waste in landfill gets stuck between plastic and can not decompose properly generating CO2 emissions. 

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