Thursday, February 13, 2014

Orange Peel

By Marie Lasater, Guest Blogger

In the category of never throwing away nutritious foods, orange peel ranks at the top. There are dozens of uses for orange peel, and it provides benefits that can’t be found elsewhere.

Peels can be prepared with or without added sugar.

With generous amounts of Vitamin A and calcium, 1 Tbs. of orange peel also provides 14% of your vitamin C requirement and 3% of a daily dose of dietary fiber, with only 6 calories. In addition, it offers potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and some zinc as well.

Orange peel contains natural pectin, useful in making jams and jellies, and also decreases the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Nutritional benefits aside, orange peel also contains large amounts of limonene and hesperidin, components that have huge health benefits.


The major component in oil extracted from the orange peel, limonene has exceptional tissue healing properties. It is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects, and in addition to its anti-cancer properties, it is effective for many other metabolic and health problems – even helping with weight management.

Anyone who has used orange oil as a cleaning agent is aware of its degreasing properties. In the body it serves as a unique fat cleanser, helping to clear cholesterol sludge, including the sludge in the gall bladder that can form stones. Limonene helps reduce appetite and improve metabolism, making it one more nutrient to assist with healthy weight management. And of great importance, it is a superior nutrient for breast cancer prevention.
Hesperidin has been studied for about 50 years. The highest concentration of hesperidin can be found in the white parts (pith) of the orange peel. Flavonoids such as hesperidin have been identified as the anti-diabetic components in a number of traditional remedies.

Hesperidin has a strong impact on blood cells and is used to help treat varicose veins. In Europe, this natural ingredient is used to make Diosmin, a prescription medication for treating venous insufficiency.

Hesperidin is also used to reduce hay fever and other allergic conditions by inhibiting the release of histamine from mast cells.

Orange peels can be prepared in several ways: processing them to make candied peel, drying them and grinding them to an orange zest, or finely grinding them to a powder.

My family loves candied orange peels!

The final product

Here is the simple recipe:

Candied Orange Peel

· 2 large oranges, 1/8 inch of top and bottom cut off
· 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
· 2 cups water

Cut peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. If you squeeze your own orange juice, just cut strips from the peels after extracting the juice. Cook in large pot of boiling water 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again.

Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 cups water to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring to
dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is very soft, about 45 min. Drain.

Toss peel and 1/4 cup sugar on a plate, separating strips. (You can also skip this step to lower the sugar content.)Transfer peels to sheet of foil. Let stand until coating is dry, about 24 hours. The peels will transform after about a day into a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth treat.

Peels curing for 24 hours.

Note: Save any remaining liquid after removing the peels, and you will have a delicious orange
syrup for pancakes, stir-fried dishes, etc.The original water that you first boiled the peels in can be saved for use in cleaning products, or as an additive to homemade facial tonic. I make homemade laundry detergent, and I have found that adding one cup of my “orange water” greatly boosts the cleansing power.

Orange zest in coffee grinder

Dried orange peels can be ground in your coffee grinder to make a fabulous orange zest. Add it to stir-fry dishes or to cornmeal for breading fish prior to frying for enhanced flavor and nutrition. Grind an extra minute or two for a fine orange powder. Lime and lemon peels can also be processed with your oranges.

Limes and lemons together with oranges

1 comment:

  1. I knew a guy who loves to chew on orange peels, and he calls this his dessert. Looks like he was really on to something. I will have to try the candied peel method suggested here.