We consume a lot of oranges in the winter. I hate to see the peels go to waste with all their health benefits. Fresh- the peels can be candied, chopped and put into a fruit cake, added to a mulling spice mixture, simmered for potpourri or used in an oxymel. An oxymel is an infusion of herbs into vinegar and honey (see also shrubs, kvass, kombucha, switchels and other similar fermented “sodas”/drinks ). Plants easily give up their vitamins and minerals when added to vinegar. The raw honey serves as a powerful antibiotic when not exposed to heat. The yummy result can be mixed into salad dressing, braises or marinades. A tablespoon added to carbonated water or iced tea makes a refreshing drink with added nutrients, medicinal properties, pro-biotics, and acid. If you suffer from bloating, gas, indigestion etc. a shot of oxymel first thing in the morning may help with your symptoms.
Orange Peel Oxymel
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 -2 cups of coarsely chopped orange peel
1/8 cup of dried chopped licorice root
2 TBSP of powdered star anise seed pods
2 cups of raw honey
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped ginger root
Combine all ingredients in a very large canning jar. Put a piece of plastic wrap or baking parchment between the lid and jar lip. Seal tightly. Let sit six weeks in a a cool dark place. Shake and invert weekly. Press and strain to remove any solids or seeds. Divide up into smaller bottles which can be stored or refrigerated. With proper storage an oxymel will last for at least a year.
Besides vitamin C there are other healing uses for fruits in the citrus family. The peel specifically is thought to be anti-bacterial. It is high in anti-oxidants (could prevents cancer/tumors) bio flavinoids (could strengthen blood vessels and tissues) coumarin (found in turmeric) and other nutrients. Orange peel increases circulation and removes dampness. It may support “the spleen” , liver and gallbladder. It is best known as a digestive to address symptoms of bloating, constipation, gas, indigestion, nausea, and hiccups.
What ways do you like to use orange peels?