What To Do When Life Gives You {Lots Of} Oranges!



Yesterday we received an unexpected delivery. A 20 pound box full of California Navel oranges! I had completely forgotten that I’d ordered them from a young man in our neighborhood who was selling them for his swim team fundraiser.

I was very excited because I LOVE oranges!!!  But even *I* can’t eat 20 pounds worth! At least not before they eventually start to grow fuzzy stuff on them!

My first thought was to give them to neighbors, friends, etc…which I still plan on doing…but then my 17 year old son Kell said, “You should do a blog post on oranges Mom.”  duh! lol!  Why didn’t *I* think of that? :-)

At first I figured all I’d find in my research was How To Make A Pomander…or How To Make Orange Marmalade (both of which are great ideas!)…but I actually found SO much more! Stuff that had me thinking…”Wow! I’m going to TRY that!”…so I knew I was on to something. :-)

So I present my curated list from across the WWW of lots of cool stuff to do with oranges!


orange peels

Orange Peel Kindling

Due to the high content of flammable oil in orange peel, dried peel makes a great firestarter or kindling.

Stove Top Potpourri

Cut up peels. In a saucepan add peels, 1 cinnamon stick, a few cloves and fill to the top with water. Simmer for a nice simmering potpourri.

Face and Body Exfoliator

Dry orange peels in the sun or in the oven. Process then in the food processor or coffee grinder and mix with chickpea flour for a natural exfoliating cleanser that can be used on face and body.


acv and orange

Hair Rinse

Soak orange peels in Apple Cider Vinegar and use as a hair rinse!

Keep Cats Off Your Grass

Make a mixture of orange peels and coffee grounds and distribute it around the cats’ “old haunts.” If the problem persists, put down a second batch and moisten it with water.

Mosquito Repellent

Rub fresh orange or lemon peels over your exposed skin to keep mosquitoes away. It’s said that mosquitoes and gnats are totally repulsed by either scent.

Get Rid Of Ants

In a blender, make a smooth puree of a few orange peels in 1 cup warm water. Slowly pour the solution over and into ant hills. Also use it in your garden, on your patio, and along the foundation of your home.

Scrubber For Cast Iron Pans

Half an orange with some coffee grounds poured into it makes a great scrubber for a cast iron pan! The peel helps to protect your hand from the coffee grounds (which are an excellent abrasive), as well as adding citrus cleaning power. Then just toss it in the compost.


orange peels

Garbage Disposal Refresher

Keep them in a jar or bowl under your sink. After they dry, periodically put them down the garbage disposal – helps clean blades & smells lovely.

Migraine Soother

Boil the orange peels and let steep for 10 minutes. Drink as a tea to get rid of migraines.

Clean Your Microwave

Place orange peels in a bowl of water and microwave for about five minutes. Then wipe the microwave clean with a sponge.


orange peels

Clean Your Cutting Board

Rub the empty peel across your cutting board to deodorize. Do the same in your sink.

Citrus Vinegar

Same as my Lemon Vinegar…but with an orange twist!

Clean Your Pans & Tea Kettle

Boil the rinds in your tea kettle or a pan that has burnt on stuff stuck to it. Let it sit for an hour or more to really soak in, and watch all the grime come right off!


The rest of list contains items that are all food-related…but still worthy of sharing! Now I can enjoy one of my very favorite fruits even more!

orange peels

Of course…#1 on the list….EAT THEM. :-)

#2 JUICE them. You can drink the juice right then (it will keep just fine in the refrigerator for a few days) or freeze it for later!

orange peels

#3. PEEL, SEGMENT, AND FREEZE them. Frozen orange slices taste wonderful partially thawed in fruit salad with yogurt or slipped under chicken skin before baking.



Mulling Mix Add-In

Peel some skin with a peeler and bake it until fully dried. It’s great in spice/chai/mulling mixes, and anything that can use an orange-flavour boost.


orange brownies

Orange-Chocolate Brownies

Make your regular recipe for brownies and add at least 3 oranges worth of orange zest, and substitute orange juice for any liquid.

Pork Marinade

Marinate and cook pork shoulder or pork tenderloin in fresh orange juice. Heavenly!

Oranges With Honey

Slice your oranges in half, and put the halves in a baking dish. Drizzle a generous amount of honey over them and sprinkle with just a touch of cinammon. Bake in a 350 degree oven just long enough to heat them (5-10 mins).

Take out of the oven and place in a bowl and eat with a spoon! Yummy and also very soothing and healing if you have a cold or a sore throat!



Orange Extract

Zest your oranges and cover with vodka. Let sit. Delicious Orange Extract (works for lemons, too).

Fresh Orange Salsa

Chopped orange, red onion, jalapenoes, cilantro. Great on grilled fish or tuna steaks. Also good added to a citrus slaw, cabbage or jicama.

Orange-Flavored Vinaigrette

Substitute orange juice for a portion of the vinegar in a salad dressing – a great way to add a slightly sweet flavor and to balance the taste of the vinegar.  Wonderful over endive or spinach.


orange curd

Orange Curd

Use your favorite lemon curd recipe, and lower the sugar by a third.

Oatmeal With A Zing

Prepare oatmeal with orange juice instead of water: top cooked oatmeal with orange juice rather than butter or cream to get great flavor and no added fat.

Citrus Pancakes & Waffles

When making your favorite pancake or waffle batter, substitute orange juice for the water, milk or buttermilk in the recipe. This will give the pancakes a great flavor and added vitamin C!

Orange Tea

Make a lemon or orange infused tea by boiling lemon or orange rinds and then throwing in a tea bag. Let the bag steep as long as you like and enjoy!


orange maple butter

Orange Maple Butter

To top french toasts, pancakes, scones…anything really. Delicious and keeps well in the fridge.  Recipe at Martha Stewart

Orange Butter Cake

Very fluffy, moist and orangey with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting!  Recipe at Eat.at 

Orange Jam

Peel the oranges, cut in chunks. Process in the food processor or blender. Add sugar, pectin and water and stir. No cooking necessary. Will keep refrigerated up to three weeks – or freeze for longer storage.  Recipe at Sunkist.com

Candied Orange Peel

Orange peels can be candied to make a deliciously, zesty treat.  Recipe at Bright Eyed Baker




Candied orange peels dipped in CHOCOLATE!  Recipe at Smitten Kitchen

Ina Garten’s Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

From one of my favorite cooks! So, so, so, good!  Recipe at Food Network


jelly boats

Orange Jelly Boats

A fun, family-friendly favorite!  Recipe at Tesco.com


glowing orange

Or…..last, but not least….if you’ve exhausted the list above and STILL have an orange or two leftover…why not try making a GLOWING ORANGE!? :-)



Wow….that’s a whole lotta orange!!  Can’t wait to get in the kitchen and start making some of this stuff!

Share YOUR citrus obsession!


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    • Ashley H. says

      Eat it! ;)
      While I have never really had orange curd, I LOVE lemon curd, and I assume it would be good for the same things. Lemon curd is good on scones, (or toast, or english muffins if you want to keep it simple). It is also a great for desserts (I like it in combination with berries and whipped cream!) Example: fill some tartlet shells with the curd, put whipped cream and some berries on it (I think raspberry would be good with the orange!!) I’ve heard it is good on pancakes and as a cake filling. I’m making myself hungry…..

  1. Corinne says

    I live in Vero Beach, FL, which is one of the main producers of oranges and grapefruit. I ALWAYS have a ton of oranges on hand because one of our friends runs inventory at one of the local grove packing houses (it’s nice to have a friend in the biz lol). All of these ideas are great! Aside from just eating an orange (or two) a day, I always wonder what to do with the last few straglers that hang around. Thanks! PS I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

  2. says

    Orangeades!!!!! I grew up in Sebree, Kentucky, and in the middle of “downtown” is a century-old drugstore, Bell’s Drug Store. It’s still there today with the original soda fountain and Coca-Cola coolers. My all-time favorite drink is Mrs. Bell’s Orangeade. It’s the same concept as lemonade, only with orange juice. Juice of large orange + simple syrup, shake, and serve over ice. Top with water to fill your glass. Mmmm, mmmm GOOD!!!!!! People drive from miles (and miles!) around for goodies at Bell’s Drug Store … myself included. A trip home is not complete without an orangeade!

    Blessings + Hugs,

  3. Anastasia says

    Several years ago I was receiving a pedicure and was offered a citrus scrub. The technician took two orange halves, turned them inside out and proceeded to vigorously massage my legs with it. It was cooling, refreshing and my skin felt so soft and smooth! It was a surprisingly delightful treatment in the midst of summer, but at the same time I wondered, “Did I really just pay $8 for that???”

  4. says

    Love oranges. Need that extra Vit C in the winter to stave of the sickies. We purchase 40# bags from a self serve table for $5 each year. Some years we go thru more than one. The owner sets out the bagged oranges on a table with a lock box for you to deposit your money in. Not sure how many acres he has of orange trees but he picks them every year since we moved here in ’94. So fresh and sweet.
    I throw the peels out in the gardens to keep the stray cats away. Doesn’t seem to work very well…but then we are loaded with unresponsible cat owners who let their cats roam, which always seems to be our home. I guess thats what you get for feeding the birds :( And yes they freshen the disposal too. Great tip with the cutting boards and microwave.

  5. Julie C. says

    Love these ideas! We had a similar crate of oranges over the holidays. I divided them up, added a few cinnamon-scented pinecones and made little fruit baskets to give to those indispensable people in my life. Share the citrus love!

  6. Heather says

    These are fantastic ideas!!!!!! I especially love the one about simmering orange peels with cloves and whatnot for a fantastic smelling potpourri. With 5 kids, and hubby in construction, a cat and dog (who by the way has some crazy doggy odor ) I use a lot of smell-goods. And a TON of your homemade cleaners, laundry solutions, etc. Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas!

  7. Chris says

    I have been cutting up an orange and adding it to a salad with romaine lettuce, black olives, onions, and any combination of fresh sliced fennel or fresh marinated mozzarella with tomatoes with an olive oil and white balsamic vinegar dressing…it has been my favorite salad this winter. These tips are very interesting….

  8. cty says

    Great post. I get lots of oranges in So Cal.
    Make extra sauce from the recipe below and use as one of Jillee’s Dump Chicken Recipes.
    My quick/fresh version of Julia Child’s Chickena L’Orange (2 servings), hers is still way better though.
    2 oranges-Peeled seeded & diced 2 pieces bone-in chicken (cut breast in 1/2 horizontally)
    1 onion cut into 1/8ths 3-4 sprigs rosemary 2 TB olive oil & 1 TB white vinegar (or Dijon mustard)
    Add oranges, sugar & water to over sized sauce pan. Heat, stir to blend. Cook until bubbly. Remove from heat & whisk in oil & vinegar (or mustard). Place chicken pieces in sauce pan & coat. Oil a shallow casserole dish and layer rosemary, onion then chicken. Spoon extra sauce over chicken. Bake 425 for 30 min-ish (165 degree temp w/ meat thermometer). I use the smallest casserole dish I can get away with without the pieces of chicken touching. Sometimes I tuck the orange peels under & around the chicken.

    Another great recipe that can be canned or frozen. Orange Squash Concentrate (orangeade). Recipe at canninggrannyblogspot.com This year I canned about 50 lbs of oranges. Orange squash, marmalade, oranges in heavy syrup & lots of cleaning stuff too!

  9. says

    First, I think selling oranges is an awesome fundraiser! Groups around here (near Portland, OR) sell things like candy bars and magazine subscriptions. Oranges are so much better! As for the tips… Wonderful ideas! Can’t wait to try a few of them out :)

  10. Jennifer says

    Putting orange peel in sugar will make flavoured sugar. It’s fantastic in tea, or dusted on baking for extra flavour. I make orange and grapefruit flavoured muffins by blending the leftover peels with juice or milk, until it’s the consistency of apple sauce, and substituting it for the oil.

  11. Amy says

    I love the idea of using it on ant hills, Im def trying that! One of my favorite ways to use an orange is to make an orange herb butter rub for a roast chicken. Zest an orange into a few tbsp of softened butter, add your favorite herbs and spread this under and over the skin of a chicken and bake it! Be sure to quarter the orange and put it in the pan with the chicken. Soo yummy!

  12. meenakshi says

    Nice List !
    Orange Marmalade ?!
    I’ve tried the potpourri, but with lemon.

    Wanted to let you know that your posts are now arriving in my email box regularly, as before. Finally the glitch has been resolved :-) Be seeing you daily again …

  13. Laura says

    The one about the cats on your grass struck me, because I recently heard that orange peels are also good for keeping the dogs from “going” around them. I recently had a problem with one of my puppies doing his doo, in the grass walkway from my car to my porch. Now, every time we have an orange, which is about three a week, we just throw the peels in the path. I’d much rather step on peels than poo, wouldn’t you?
    I loved this blog-post, so thank you for sharing. I’m saving this on Pinterest too.

  14. Juyd Ann says

    Jillee.I have to say I have chosen many many of your tip and recipes etc…but today I found the best one of all…and all because of the young man that was selling oranges!!
    I saw your Orange Extract and just yelped in joy! HAHA

    I currently make my own Vanilla Extract, and made a 16oz bottle for my grandson and his new bride. The difference in taste in my homemade cakes and pies etc are so much better,

    I also love to make Italian Pizzelles, and I love the orange and lemon flavored ones. The extract cost so much for a little bottle that I usually only make the vanilla ones-or coconut ones. YUM!
    So YOU have enlightened me and made me a believer of all that is JILLEE! (I have saved so many of your home-made ideas): I am off to buy some vodka and some wonderful oranges and Lemons.

  15. Sidney Benson says

    use a common Banana Nut bread recipe and use zest from two large oranges instead of the Banana’s and Pecans in place of Walnuts. I also make a Blueberry bread with both walnuts and Pecans using the same recipe. You will need to add extra flour to the Blueberry Batter to keep it from falling in the middle when baking. I also split recipe with unbleached flour and whole wheat flour.

  16. says

    Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a honest price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  17. Alberto Shipman says

    Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between “bananas” and “plantains”. Especially in the Americas and Europe, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called “plantains”. In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many more kinds of banana are grown and eaten, so the simple two-fold distinction is not useful and is not made in local languages…

    Remember to go and visit our favorite web site

  18. Judy Ann says

    Jille – or someone who knows:
    How long does it take to make the Orange Extract?
    Then do I remove the orange peel?
    I am stocked up on Oranges and Vodka…and ready to roll

  19. Jon Cabibbo says

    Coffee is a brewed beverage with a distinct aroma and flavor, prepared from the roasted seeds of the Coffea plant. The seeds are found in coffee “berries”, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.;

    See you later

  20. sue says

    I can’t wait to try some of these nifty ideas. I shall share these with my friends and co-workers as most of are trying to find way to cut costs and be kind to the earth. Thank you for all that you do!

  21. Tyia says

    One of my favorite things to make when camping is “Orange Cake”, fun for all to make and very simple.
    What you will need:

    1 box, white cake mix (brand of your choice).
    Ingredients listed on the box of cake mix.
    6 to 8 Oranges depending on size.
    1 roll of heavy duty foil.
    1 knife
    1 small spoon

    Cut and remove the top section of orange (large enough for a spoon to fit into), save the top to use later. Use a spoon and carefully remove pulp from the inside of the orange, making sure to keep orange peel/outer section whole or intact. It’s okay to leave a little pulp on the inside wall of the orange. Prepare the cake mix following direction printed on box, minus cake pan and pre heating oven, not needed. Fill hollowed out oranges with cake batter, filling only 3/4 of the away full. Place the saved top section back on the orange. Wrap orange several times with the heavy duty foil. Place wrapped oranges in the coals of the camp fire. Cooking time varies, depending on the amount, size and temperature of the coals. Some may need to be turned while cooking. Check one orange after 15 to 20 minutes, and go from there. When done unwrap your orange, discard the top and peel orange to eat the cake or use a spoon, however, enjoy your orange cake.


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