Life is interconnected and so are the topics on this blog. It might be cooking and gardening one day, yoga the next, knitting and sewing, or hiking and then bird watching followed by recycling or composting. They are the parts that bring humble joy to my life of voluntary simplicity in Montana.
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
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.