Sunday, January 19, 2014

Clever Cleaning - DIY Orange Vinegar

Matt and I don’t eat citrus a lot.  We tend more towards berries and apples.  I like citrus fruit—I like all fruit, but we can procure our own, or cheaply buy, the more local fruits like apples, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, plums, pears, and so on.  The only tropical fruit that we buy consistently is bananas.

So, when we do buy ourselves some oranges or tangerines or whathaveyou we try to get the most out of it. 
Matt has been known to zest fruits before peeling to eat them.  The zest can be saved in the freezer for future use.   Like freezing ginger this has proven to be a pretty great kitchen tip.

Another great way to maximize their use is to make citrus-oil infused vinegar for cleaning purposes.  It’s so easy to make.   I've made a few batches now and am quite pleased with it.
I peel my orange (or other similar fruit like satsumas, tangerines, etc.) and toss the whole rind into a quart jar filled most of the way up with white vinegar.  I don’t include the pith if it is easily avoided, but I don’t bother to remove it from the rind specifically either.   As I add more rinds I make sure the amount of vinegar is sufficient to keep the rinds covered.  I also give the jar a shake when I add new peels--though I am not sure this is really necessary, but it certainly doesn't hurt.  Once the jar is full I let it sit for a month or two.  

This part is pretty remarkable.  The completely clear vinegar gradually grows darker and darker as the orange oil is extracted into it.  After a month of two the tonic can be diluted with regular vinegar for cleaning and scrubbing purposes after straining out the rinds which are at long last composted.  It works very well.  The bathroom and floors gets sparkly clean and the vinegar makes the room smell delightfully orange-scented, too.   I like it better than cleaning with just vinegar, in general, if for no other reason than that it smells better.  It can be used in its concentrated form for really tough spots or stains, too. 
Concentrated orange vinegar after two months or so of steeping.
Cleaning the house with vinegar is sure amazing.  To think of all the bottles of specialized cleaners and products we used to buy back before we knew you could pretty much do it all with simple vinegar and baking soda.  Amazing.

6 comments:

  1. Because many of my neighbors grow citrus, we get lots of it when people have too much. This year I learned that the entire peeling can be saved and re-used as supplement to any hot tea. Leave the pith on. Just cut it or tear it into dime size pieces and dry. The pith helps with those good bacteria that everyone talks about these days, and adds a nice orange flavor to whatever tea I am having that day.

    When I read the tip, the woman had such a nice way of putting it. She called it nature's freebie--two for the price of one. Buy it for the fruit and get a free tea each time, she said. :)

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    1. I swooned a little at the idea of a neighbor with citrus trees. So far from our world up here! But, how incredibly awesome for you!

      Nature's Freebie. I like that. I like that a lot. And now I have another way to make the most of my citrus rinds! Thanks, Cristy!

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  2. Exactly what we clean with too! As it is marmalade season I usually stock up at this time of year.

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    1. I like the way it smells a lot. So clean and bright and homey.

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  3. That infused vinegar mix looks beautiful, thanks for sharing will be giving this one a go, especially since hubby eats oranges like there's no tomorrow!

    San x

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    1. That sounds like a perfect fit then! I can remember when I first read about it and was pretty keen on the idea...and I was not disappointed.

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