5 Good Uses for Your Citrus Peels

Tips from The Kitchn

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Don't throw away that clementine or grapefruit peel! Did you know there are plenty of things you can make with the leftover peels from all that citrus you've been eating? Here are a few suggestions.

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1. Make Candied Peels

These are great to munch on their own or as a garnish on top of cakes and parfaits. You can also dip them in chocolate for an extra-special treat. Our recipe for Candied Lemon Peels can be adapted for orange or grapefruit, too.

2. Dry and Save for Tea

Dried peels make a nice addition to your basic cup of black tea! We also like to use them in our homemade chai tea mix this time of year. Scrape away as much of the bitter pith as you can and leave the peels in a single layer on a plate or drying rack for a few days. If you're very eager, you can also toast them in a 200°F oven until completely dry. Store in an airtight jar away from direct sunlight.

3. Add to Meat Dishes

A hint of citrus will enhance many meat dishes. Throw the peels in the braising liquid or put them in the cavity of a whole chicken before roasting.

4. Infuse Liquor

Citrus-infused vodka makes for an excellent cocktail, of course! Don't spend money on flavored vodka when it's so easy to make your own: just steep citrus peels in liquor for a few days. The bright, cheery peels are beautifully suspended in the jar, where all the magic is happening.

5. Mix with Fireplace Kindling

A few peels thrown in the kindling makes for an especially fragrant fire! They work best if you let them dry out for a day or two beforehand. Just collect the peels in a bowl and leave them out in the open or on top of a heater.

What else do you use leftover citrus peels for?

Updated from a post originally published in January 2009.

(Image credits: Natasha Breen; AlenaKogotkova; Emma Christensen)