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Growing up, my mother always came up with creative ways to reuse household objects - ones that my father would, in typical fashion, refer to as "all junk." Her biggest cause was probably saving orange peels from getting dumped in the trash. Thanks to her eco-friendly instincts back in the day, I can now think of close to 50 different uses for an orange peel, instead of just throwing it away. Here are five of my favorites:


My mother's favorite way to save orange peels from the trash was to cook them into an Orange Peel Jam. It only takes 4 orange's worth of peels to make a small jar of this breakfast favorite! Just follow these simple steps:

Scrape the white part of the peels off with a knife, wash them, and cut them into long thin slices. Pour them into a pot along with water and sugar. Boil the mixture until it has a medium thick consistency, not too liquidy but still juicy. Finally, add a few drops of vanilla extract and lemon juice. All that's left is to put it in a jar and store it in the

Also, Orange zest complements a variety of dishes, particularly grilled chicken, rice and soup. In one of my mother's signature Persian dishes, she would add sliced almonds and cooked orange peel (same as the jam process) into plain rice. In Farsi, it translated into "Sweet Rice," and everyone fought over it at the dinner table. If you're feeling super adventurous, dip chunks of cooked orange peel into a pot of melted chocolate, and put it into the fridge to harden. Chocolate orange peel has the most delicious taste and unique combination of sweet and bitter. On a personal note—it's my ideal desert.

Insect Repellant

Rub orange peel onto your skin, and I promise you the bugs will stay away. It's perfect for anyone who likes to sleep at night with the windows open. And even more perfect if you've got a special someone next to you in bed—your skin will smell diviiiiiine! Hmmm hmmmm...

Room Freshener

Every year during the holidays, my mother would place orange peels onto the vents of our radiator. It filled the living room with the most delicious citrus scent that would last for hours. It worked way better than any chemical room spray/air freshener hazardous to the environment. If your house/apt is like mine—lacking in the "central air system" department—this is an effective and environmentally safe way to make your room smell absolutely scrumptious.

Protect Your Plants From you cats (and dogs) that is. Rub the orange peel onto your plant leaves once a month, and the pets will stick to eating their own food. Brown Sugar Has your Brown sugar gotten too dry and grainy? Slip a piece of orange peel into your sugar container and you'll have soft and fluffy sugar within hours. Orange peels emit moisture onto any object they touch. So if any of your spices/herbs have dried out from sitting too long in the cupboard, put a little moisture back into the air with an orange peel! Love green gadgets, fashion, and news? Get the latest from Planet Green's dynamic duo Suchin Pak and Daniel Sieberg on the G Word[i].