Do you throw away your orange peels? They can be used in a simmering potpourri, as zest in cooking, rubbed onto your skin as an insect repellent and used in compost. The first three reader tips share additional ways to use them.
ORANGE PEEL BATH: Create a wonderfully thrifty, immune-boosting bath. Vitamin C is one of the few vitamins that can be absorbed through your skin. The vitamin C from the peels not only benefits your immune system and helps fight off illness, but it’s also great for your skin. Ascorbic acid acts as an antioxidant, which fights skin-damaging free radicals and promotes collagen production. To make this vitamin C bath, just make sure you wipe the orange peels clean before putting them into the bath. You don’t want any pesticides floating around in the water with you! That’s it; just draw a warm bath and chuck in your orange peels. –T.S., Canada
CANDIED ORANGE PEELS: For candied orange peel, you need to save the zest (just the orange part). Use a very sharp knife to scrape or cut away the white pith. Slice the peels into strips and cook them in simple syrup (1 part water and 1 part sugar). Cook on a low simmer until the strips start to look translucent. Remove, roll in sugar, and place them on a plate to dry. Now you can use them in all kinds of baked goods. — C.H., Kansas
CLEAN THE SEAL ON YOUR FRIDGE DOOR: Have you ever looked at the rubber seal on your fridge door? You might be surprised by the amount of food and other kitchen remnants that have fallen in there. When this rubber gets full of bits of food, the door is unable to make a proper seal and cold air escapes. As a result, the fridge has to work that much harder to maintain a constant temperature. There’s a very easy way to ensure that you’re not wasting electricity. Simply take a cotton swab and run it through the rubber seal that goes around your fridge door. The swab will pull out any of the food bits, and the door will close properly. — T.S., Canada
CHECK THE DUMP: Paint really is a great, cheap way to update or remake furniture and other household decor items. I’m not sure if this is the case everywhere, but my city’s dump has a paint drop-off area where you can also go through and take whatever paint or stain you want, for free! I have found full gallons of good-quality paint, in great colors. In fact, I was able to paint my powder room entirely with paint that I found at the dump (primer, paint for the walls and trim). I’ve used stain that I found at the dump to restain and update old furniture, too. Check out the dump in your area! — T.S., Canada