The Best Use for Your Leftover Citrus Peels

updated May 24, 2019
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Two lemons on a blue microfiber cloth
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Zak H. Stern (aka “Zak the Baker”) and his wife, Batsheva Wulfsohn, are the husband-and-wife team behind Miami bakery Zak the Baker, which produces mouth-watering babkas, challah, and sourdough in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. Of course, their retail food prowess extends back into their own home. In their sunny kitchen in Surfside, Florida, you’ll find rows of preserves in Mason jars, a refrigerator filled with fresh ingredients, and even an indoor edible garden to harvest for juices and salads. A food-lover’s dream!

(Image credit: Sonya Revell)

And when it comes to feeding their family (they have two young daughters), they do all they can to make their food in a healthy, holistic way from start to finish. They sprout all of their beans and legumes, then cook and freeze them to make dinner prep easy. They take the trimmings of fish, vegetables, and meat they cook meals with to make stock, which they freeze in individual containers. They grind their own nut butters and milks, and have their own “house recipes” for their favorite pasta sauces.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

This attitude towards using every part — and making the best of the best, from scratch — extends to their cleaning routine, too: They save their citrus peels and combine it with vinegar to use it to make an all-purpose cleaner.

This all-natural, all-purpose cleaner is easy to make, safe for kids and pets, and is inexpensive, too. And you can do the same, without having any chefy street cred! Just save your lemon peels in a Mason jar in the fridge as you use them, covering them with vinegar as you go. When the jar’s about half full of citrus peels, fill the jar the rest of the way with vinegar. Wait about two weeks and the peels will have infused the vinegar with their citrusy scent, so you can strain them out and use your lemon-scented vinegar to clean windows, countertops, cabinet hardware, and more. Fresh and natural!

See what else Zak is up to at home: A Visit with the Miami Bread King in His Kitchen