Orange is a citrus fruit, native to China, India and Myanmar. The majority of the cultivation of orange trees comes from tropical and subtropical countries. Orange can be consumed fresh as a whole or pressed into a juice. Usually, people will throw away the orange peel but it has many uses too. The fruit is green in color when unripe and turns to orange when fully ripe.
The color of the grainy, uneven surface of the rind of a ripe orange ranges from bright orange to yellow-orange, and sometimes retains green patches on it.
Like all citrus fruits, orange is rich in Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and boosts immunity. About 100 grams of orange provides 60 % daily value of Vitamin C.
Besides this, it also contains many other nutrients like phytochemicals which include beta carotene and lutein and flavonoid compounds that are anti-inflammatory in nature and have many health benefits. The good part about orange is that it is inexpensive, widely available, easy to carry and store and one entire orange can be consumed as a single serving.
Orange peel has many uses even though many people discard it when they eat the fruit. One tablespoon (tbsp) of an orange peel (5 to 6 grams) supplies us with 15% of daily recommended Vitamin C value. This serving of 1 tbsp also provides about 4 times more fiber than the pulp of the fruit. Orange peel also contains folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine and some amount of calcium. There are many uses of the orange peel. They include :
Orange peel Uses
The outer layer of the rind can be finely grated to produce orange zest. This zest finds its way in cooking due to the oils it contains and the aromatic flavor that is just as powerful as the fruit pulp itself. Orange oil is produced by pressing the peel to extract the oil, which can be used as flavoring agent in food and drinks
Although the peel is not as juicy as the pulp, it can be consumed and has good amounts of vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids and minerals like potassium and magnesium that have many health benefits
Orange peel consists of a compound known as nobiletin, which lowers the risk of oxidative damage and heart diseases. This compound is also beneficial in lowering LDL cholesterol, that is the bad cholesterol. It is anti-inflammatory in nature and improves heart health by preventing the onset of inflammation induced heart diseases like dyslipidemia, hypertension and others.
Orange peel has high fiber content and has almost zero calories. It increases satiety and keeps the stomach full for longer, thus preventing from over eating and keeps the weight in check.
Maintaining lung health
It is said that orange peel contains substances that act as lung cleanser and help in removal of toxins form the lungs. It also helps in the break down and removal of trapped phlegm and increases lung capacity
Improves dental health
Rubbing an orange peel over teeth and inside of the mouth reduces bad breath, cleanses the teeth, reduces tooth sensitivity
The orange oil extracted from the peel also finds it place in perfume industry and can be used as aromatherapy for its very powerful and pleasant fragrance. Because of its use in aromatherapy, it can be used to relieve anxiety and depression, thus enhancing mood. Few drops of orange oil can be rubbed on the temple area or can be added while taking a bath
Because of its high vitamin C, flavonoid and pectin content, the peel has anti-cancer activity against certain types of cancers like breast cancer, skin cancer and colorectal cancer. It is also believed that about 90 % of essential oils in orange peels consists of a substance called limonene, which has shown some anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
The high amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in the peel help in boosting the immune system which is important for preventing infections and many chronic diseases
Maintains gut health
The undigestible fiber found in the peel relieves constipation, acidity and increases alkalinity in the body, thus improving gut health and immunity
Making of jams and marmalades
Since Orange peel consists of high levels of pectin content. In the preparation of marmalade, orange peels are useful. Marmalade is a bitter and sweet jam like substance mostly used in breakfast as breakfast spread. As pectin and other substances make marmalade, it looks thick and vicious.
Orange peel finds its way in gourmet cooking like using the zest for garnishing, making orange peels chocolate dips, candies, exotic orange tea, baking a cake using orange zest, and making a tangy orange sauce. The zest can help make citrus-infused olive oil that can go perfectly well with salads and exotic vegetables.
It also prevents brown sugar from hardening or forming into lumps and absorbs the moisture, thus increasing its shelf life
Skin brightening agent
Vitamin C content in the peel helps in lightening the dark skin tone and fades the blemishes on the skin. Rubbing and applying the peel onto the skin or making a paste out of it acts a natural bleaching agent. It can also act as a body scrub, that acts as a natural exfoliator, giving a nice aroma and fragrance along with brightening the skin
Aromatic oil can be extracted out of orange peel. It can be used to pamper oneself by adding a few drops to the bath, as it is anti-inflammatory and improves skin texture.
Using the peel to make a natural face mask helps in cleansing the face, removing impurities and excess sebum. This is due to the pectin and vitamin C in the peel that makes orange peel a good natural alternative for face masks instead of chemical ones
A lot of luxurious ayurvedic brands use orange peel as a component in their lip balms. It can be combined with almond oil and sugar to make a home-made lip balm for treating dry and cracked lips
Applying crushed orange peel along with water as a live on hair mask overnight helps in eliminating dandruff and dry flakes, cleanses the scalp and naturally conditions the hair
Orange oil contains a substance known as D-limonene, which can be used as a solvent in household chemicals such as wood conditioners for furniture, detergents and hand soaps because of its detergent and cleaning effect. It can be used to put in new life to old and dull wooden furniture and give it a good shine
Because of the cleansing property and refreshing aroma, orange peel cans be kept in small packets and kept inside a shoe rack. The peel is known to naturally soak in all the odors and give out pleasant fragrance
Orange peels make a great natural sponge. The peel contains essential oils that act as cleansers and degreasing agents for utensils. Rubbing orange peels over soiled utensils or a sink can get rid of grease and impurities
A freshly peeled orange can fill the entire room with its very peculiar and pleasing aroma. Keeping these peels in the bottom of garbage cans, or placing them in bathrooms helps to keep the space constantly fresh and reduces bad odor. We can also prepare natural air freshener by boiling orange peels and use the concentration as a spray. To make it more strong, cinnamon stick or mint leaves can be added along with the orange peel
You can also prepare candles, ornaments, and jewelry with orange peels.
There are several other uses of Orange peel. Orange peels are helpful in repelling mosquitos, ants and slugs. These are also helpful in making a fodder feed to ruminate the animals. For cultivation purposes, orange peels are also helpful in making a good compost to enrich the soil.
Orange Peel Uses and Its Recommendations
The fresher the peel is, the better the utility it will be. Hence it is advisable to use the orange peel as fresh as possible and not store it for long. It does not require refrigeration and can be stored in a cool and dry place. To get rid of mold and insects an orange peel loaded with pesticides can sprayed out.
These pesticides if ingested can have irreversible detrimental health effects. Hence, it is extremely important to wash and dry the orange peel completely before putting it to use. Because of the undigestible compounds and high fiber content, orange peel is hard to digest by the gut. Eating large unprocessed chunks of peels can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. It is extremely difficult to chew and swallow due to its coarse texture.
The best way to incorporate orange peels is to cut them into smaller pieces or thin strips, powdering them and then adding to smoothies or salads bowl, yogurts, salad dressings. However nutritious the peel is, it is bitter and unpleasant to consume it as it is and needs thorough washing before use.