Never underestimate the orange. It tastes fresh in winter when other fruits fail. It’s full of healthy vitamin C and fiber. And if your fruit bowl is running over faster than you can eat them, you can put your extra oranges to a myriad of other uses.
1. Make Orange Vinegar for the Freshest House In Town
Orange-scented cleaning products make a house smell fresh. But instead of relying on commercial products with questionable ingredients, a real orange can do the job safely.
In this hack, you can have your oranges and clean with them too. Make an orange-scented vinegar solution for cleaning. It’s easy. Save your orange peels until you accumulate enough to fill a glass container with a lid. A quart size Mason jar will do nicely.
Stuff your orange peels in the jar and cover them with white vinegar. Now comes the hard part… wait.
After two weeks to a month in a dark place, you can uncap your magical, practically free cleaning solution. You actually have two cleaning aids.
First, strain the contents of the jar into a new container to get rid of the peels. You can use ¼ cup to ½ cup of your new vinegar essence in water as an all-purpose cleaner.
The leftover peels make great garbage disposal deodorizer-cleaners, too.
You can create the smells you like with this process. Add some sprigs of rosemary, cedar, or pine to spike your orange scent if that pleases you. You'll love how the house smells. But warning, it could make you hungry!
2. Work Out Your Arthritis Kinks
The irony of arthritis is that it hurts to move afflicted joints, but moving them is important in managing the affliction. That seems to be particularly true when your fingers suffer.
These gentle workouts with an orange will leave you feeling more like you had a massage than a workout. Many people do these with a tennis ball, but an orange is even friendlier to hurting hands.
The easiest one is the big squeeze. Palm the orange and wrap your fingers around it. Now squeeze. Go gently if you are really sore. Hold each squeeze to the count of 5 then release. Repeat 10 times. On your good days, you can squeeze with all your might to build hand strength.
Next, move on to the claw pinch. Put all your fingers together and place your clustered fingertips on the top of the orange. Put the tip of your thumb below. Pinch the orange as if trying to dent it. Gently if needed. Hard if you can. Hold each pinch for 5 seconds and do 10 of them altogether.
Now do solo finger presses... This is simpler to the claw pinch, but you work one finger at a time. Put your thumb under the orange and place just your index fingertip on top, opposite your thumb. Keep the other fingers relaxed. They'll have to wait for their turn. Now squeeze your thumb and index finger together for 5 seconds. When your index finger is done, move on to your middle finger and thumb. Continue with the other fingers in turn, finishing with a thumb and pinky face off. That’s one series. Try to reach 10 series of finger presses, 15 if you're feeling spunky.
Finish your routine with the unbender, because all you need after this squeezing is a good stretch. Put the orange in the palm of one hand. Place the index finger of your other hand on top of the orange. Keep your finger straight, and use the orange to push your finger back as far as you can comfortably move it.
People usually do this last exercise by using one hand to push on the fingers of the other hand. But it’s easy to overdo it that way. The orange keeps it gentle.
3. Make a Pomander
Possibly your great grandmother did this. Time to bring back a tradition that safely keeps your closet smelling fresh and bug free. No mothballs, smelly plug-ins, or strange chemicals needed.
If you like, put two rubber bands around an orange. These are useful so you can tie a ribbon to your project at the end.
Next, stick whole cloves into the orange, all around. This is adequate and you can stop there. But to make your pomander extra effective, you can also roll it in powdered cloves or nutmeg—whatever spices you like—along with orrisroot powder. The orrisroot helps the orange last longer.
You can let your pomander dry out naturally for a couple of weeks, tie on a ribbon (the use for the rubber bands is revealed), and hang in your closet.
If you want to use your pomander right away, put it a low oven (170 or as low as you can) for 4-5 hours. If you want it to dry naturally, leave the orrisroot powder on the orange and put it in a paper bag for 2-6 weeks. If the orange is not well dried it can get moldy. When the skin has hardened and you are ready to use your pomander, brush off the powdered orrisroot so. The orrisroot helps a pomander stay useful for as long as a year.
If you don’t want to hang them in your closet, you can also create a pretty display of pomanders in a bowl to freshen the whole house.
4. Eat Them
What’s new about this? Eating the WHOLE orange, including the peel.
Orange peels are rich in nutrients. Gram for gram, the peel of an orange contains about twice as much vitamin C as the fruit. Orange peels also include the B-complex vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, and folate along with Vitamin A.
But only eat the peels of organic oranges. And wash them first.
Oranges are powerful. In addition to all those vitamins, they are a natural source for diosmin, a flavone with a strong pharmaceutical demand, especially for achy legs.