In today’s wasteful modern life, it feels almost like a sin when you throw food away. Some opponents of juicing use the leftover pulp and peels of fruits from this healthy practice as their example of why juicing is bad, but we disagree. Responsible juicing takes into consideration every part of the process, including the parts some people throw away. Aside from the pulp, which can easily be composted or fed to chickens, there’s the issue of orange peels. What are you supposed to do with those bitter things?
Can you juice orange peels? Yes! Orange peels are perfectly safe to juice. In fact, they are totally edible and have been used in a huge variety of culinary applications for ages. You just need to understand what flavor profile orange peels will add to your juices and other foods so you can choose the right complementing fruits and vegetables to go with them.
The flavor of orange peels is not appealing to everyone—pun intended. But don’t let one bad experience with poorly juiced orange peels make you shy away from this flavorful and nutrition-packed ingredient! In this article, I’ll cover reasons why you should juice your orange peels and what you’ll get out of it, and I’ll even give you some other uses for orange peels in case you decide not to juice them every time.
Why You Should Juice Orange Peels
Many fruits and vegetables hold a large portion of their nutrition in the skins or peels. When we peel those off and chuck them in the garbage bin, we’re removing what nature intended for us to eat together with the flesh of the plant. This is true for oranges and many other citrus fruits.
While it is true that not all fruits and veggies have peels or skins that should be eaten, the majority of the most common ones in markets today are totally edible. In fact, when Mother Nature created her bounty, she did so with the intention that we’d consume each one whole. So, she wisely spread a variety of important antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients throughout the fruits and veggies, all designed to work in harmony within our bodies.
When you remove the perfectly edible skins and peels from fruits or veggies, you are messing with the balance. But don’t worry! You can get that balance back by understanding how and why juicing orange peels can add back important parts of your daily nutrient intake.
Orange Peels Contain Flavonoids
Like most other citrus fruits, orange peels contain an astounding number of flavonoids. Why should this matter to you? Well, flavonoids are powerful antioxidants. As we now know, antioxidants can help protect the body from horrible medical issues such as cancer. You can learn more about antioxidants right here. We’ll keep our focus on orange peels for this article.
One of the flavonoids in orange peels is called hesperidin. It is found in the fleshy, soft white part of the peel, just under the colorful outer layer. If you’re familiar with zesting fruits, you know that you zest down until you don’t see color any longer. What’s left in your hand is the incredibly powerful hesperidin that most people throw away.
Don’t toss it! That weird white stuff is so powerful it has been shown to help reduce bone loss. It was also noted to lower serum and liver lipids in lab mouse studies. More research needs to be done, but the science community is pretty excited about this discovery, so we are too!
Orange Peels Contain D-limonene
This funky-sounding compound is pretty much the main ingredient in essential oils with citrus scents. It’s the compound that makes oranges and other citrus fruits smell refreshing, crisp, and so yummy. Even more important is what d-limonene can do for your body.
Almost magically, d-limonene has shown impressive power in chemopreventive activity. What that means in everyday language is that it has been shown to help prevent or control some types of cancer. Yeah, even breast cancer!
D-limonene has some other tricks in its weird little white flesh. It can neutralize gastric acid, which is really helpful for things like GERD.
Orange Peels Have Lots of Minerals
Remember when I said that the peels and skins of fruits and veggies often contain a huge punch of nutrients? When it comes to minerals, this is where orange peels really shine. When compared in weight to the fleshy bits of citrus fruits, orange peels contain a higher density of minerals such as vitamin C.
In one ounce of orange peel, you’re getting 118 IU of vitamin A, 38.1 mg of vitamin C, and 8.4 mcg of folate. And that’s just naming a few healthy bits. These things are packed with nutrition we’ve just been tossing in the garbage.
How to Juice Orange Peels
It is absolutely imperative that you thoroughly wash all orange peels before juicing. While it’s just good juicing practice to wash your produce first, this is especially true for oranges and other citrus fruits? Why? Because most people peel these fruits and discard the peels, meaning the farmers, handlers, shippers, and grocers may not always treat these precious foods with as much care as they might a tomato or an apple, for example.
This is not to say that citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are breeding grounds for bacteria or grime sponges teeming with filth. Farmers, handlers, and grocers just may not take as great of care with these fruits as they would others.
For that reason, you must wash and scrub your oranges and other citrus fruits very well under warm water before juicing. This will remove any surface dirt, germs, and any chemicals the fruit may have picked up during transport. You definitely don’t want to add those to your juice!
- Wash your oranges thoroughly.
- Cut your oranges into the proper size for your juicer model. Some juicers can handle whole fruits, but not all of them can. Be sure to check your juicer’s manual for details.
- You can either remove the peels and juice them after the rest of your ingredients so you can control the amount of citrus peel flavor that ends up in your juice, or you may leave them on and juice everything together.
- Run the juicer.
- When juicing orange peels, you may wish to run the pulp through a second time, if your juicer model says you can do this. The reason you may wish to run it through a second time is that citrus peels, such as orange peels, can be tough to juice. The first run will soften it up, while the second run can squeeze the very last drop of delicious citrus juice from the orange peels.
That’s it. It is seriously that easy. There really aren’t any special steps to take for juicing orange peels. I do suggest you only do a few pieces at a time until you find the amount that works best for you. You can even work your way up to juicing the whole orange and the entire peel if you wish.
Juicing Organic Orange Peels vs Juicing Non-organic Orange Peels
If you’ve been on this site for more than a few articles, you’ll know that we are huge supporters of organic foods. By reducing the pesticides and other chemical additives or boosts during farming and production, we’re also reducing the toxic load in our own bodies. This is true to oranges you intend to juice, too.
Orange peels, like many other citrus fruits, can absorb whatever happens to be around them while they grow. And since they take so long to reach maturity and ripeness, that’s an awfully long time to be stewing in pesticides and fertilizers. Washing the peel before you juice oranges will remove the biggest problems, but you really never know how much each orange absorbed before it reached your hands.
The only way to guarantee you’re not juicing a toxic cocktail into your juice each day is to stick with organic produce.
That said, we also know that organic produce isn’t always readily available. If that’s your situation, don’t fret. A good, solid scrub in warm water and a little vinegar will help kill any bacteria, strip off the insecticides, and remove the chemical fertilizers. Dilute your vinegar 1:1 with water and just let it soak for a few seconds. That’s a perfect time to get the rest of your ingredients ready for juicing.
What to Do with Leftover Orange Peels
You won’t always want the strong flavor of orange peels in your juice, and that’s okay. You still don’t have to waste those peels! As I mentioned earlier, people have been consuming orange peels for ages, and I’d like to show you some of those ways now.
This is the method most people are aware of for using orange and other citrus peels. Using a fine grater, you can add a nice kick of fresh citrus taste and smell to any dish or drink. Add as much as you like or as little. You’ll be getting some of those powerful antioxidants this way.
The main issue with zesting is that you only grate off the colored parts. That leaves that super healthy white bit untouched. I suggest grating that a bit, too. You can mix the white part into your dish or your drink and leave the colorful zest for the top.
Both of these—the colorful zest and the grated white part—are awesome in juice and smoothies.
Candied Orange Peels
Even health-conscious people need delicious, sweet treats now and then. By candying your own orange peels, you’re using your whole fruits and decreasing your waste, but also ensuring that your sweet treat is organic and made to your tastes. Making candied orange peels is really easy. There are literally hundreds of recipes online for you to try, all with their own unique twists. Find something that suits your taste buds and let us know what you think.
Orange Peel Olive Oil
Did you know that you can infuse a large variety of flavors into your favorite olive or avocado oil? Using your leftover orange peels to make a bright, tasty orange-infused oil is one way to cut your waste and add new flavors to your cooking.
Adding to Tea
I love tea. It is so good for you and so refreshing, no matter the temperature outside. A great way to boost the flavor of many kinds of tea is to simply add some orange peel during steeping. Some people like to dry the orange peels first, but I just drop them in fresh. It helps release the oils. Besides, the sooner you use an orange peel, the more nutrients you’ll get out of it!
Add to Savory Dishes
You might be surprised to learn that you can add orange peels to a wide range of savory dishes. The zesty citrus flavor adds a kick and a special brightness that other ingredients just can’t. Chop the orange peels up very small and add them to a simmering sauce, soup, stew, or casserole. They go really well on grilled meats, too.
Juicing orange peels is not only possible, we highly recommend it! There are so many health benefits to adding even just a small piece of orange peel to your juice that it’s well worth experimenting. Let us know what you think after you’ve tried it a few times.