· Food & Recipes · Recipes · What To Do When Life Gives You {Lots Of} Oranges!

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 moist and orangey with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting! Recipe at Key Ingredient

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!

I may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • . . . and marmalade! It’s so inevitable on any list that I’m sure that’s why you mentioned but didn’t develop it. I’m all enthused about marmalade now because I’ve just learned how to make it in my Instant Pot. It’s a 2-step cooking process, using the pressure and saute settings. This week, I’ve made seven half-pints of lemon/lime and four pints of orange marmalade. Having spent up to $7 for 12 jars of premium marmalade, this is nice.

  • Well, I know one thing for sure…you made me hungry for an orange, and I have some! I’m gonna’ start off by trying out the taste!! Mmmm…:-) Thanks, Jillee!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • You can also cut an orange in half and light up the white stuff for an orange smelling candle (and it repels bugs) while camping. The orange half will burn for a half hour!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • I would make Orange Curd and I would make more orange marmalade for my dad! I do like the idea of cleaning the micrwave, and the glowing oranges are cool too!

  • 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….

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Orange meringue pie sounds promising. You can also hollow out cupcakes and put the curd in the reservoir. Or, even better, you can just eat it…with a really big spoon. That’s what I’d do.

  • >