The Last Thing You Should Do with Your Orange Peels Before You Throw Them in the Compost Bin

published Nov 10, 2021
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Orange peels on countertop
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Anytime I can reuse something in the kitchen, I feel a little bit of a kinship with the Ingalls family from Little House on the Prairie, making do on the homestead in the middle of nowhere. I’m not exactly churning my own butter by hand, but saving glass jars, soaking the labels off, and then using them to store homemade salad dressing is kind of the same, right? 

Well, today’s orange peel trick is also equally rewarding. Plus, it’s super quick and straightforward! The next time you reach for your Vitamin C-packed snack, don’t be so quick to throw out the citrus peel in your compost bin. Instead, I’ve got a perfectly smart tip for you that’ll be great for all of your festive holiday baking! Ready to find out what it is?

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Use an Orange Peel to Soften Brown Sugar That’s Hardened

Encountering a rock-hard block of brown sugar is no fun when it comes time to bake! Turns out, an orange peel will help your sweet supply get nice and soft. Here’s what you do. First, wash and dry the outside of your orange before peeling it. Once you’ve peeled it, enjoy your tasty treat! Then, make sure the leftover peel is totally clean (it should just be the peel, no fruit remnants). Good? Now put a piece of it in your brown sugar container and seal it up.

As many bakers know, an opened package of brown sugar, which contains molasses, hardens and clumps because it gets exposed to air. The moisture from the molasses evaporates, causing the sugar granules to stick to each other, and thereby, leaving you with a solid block. An orange peel in your storage container (left there for a day or so) adds moisture, turning your hardened brown sugar soft and fluffy, so that you can easily whip up seasonal delights, such as ginger pumpkin pie, apple cider doughnut blondies, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Happy baking!

How do you keep your brown sugar from hardening? Tell us in the comments below.