Are you wondering what to do with the bountiful tangerine and mandarin oranges you have leftover from Chinese New Year?
We have 3 easy and useful things you can do to avoid wasting fruits that contribute to a zero-waste home!
Make dried citrus peel for your kitchen
You don't need any fancy equipment and peels are great for cooking which is why they’re popular worldwide for all sorts of dishes and desserts, even cocktails! Just like herbs, tangerine and orange peels become more pungent when they are dried and the peel also darkens with age so don’t let that put you off using them. Here is a quick 3-step process to making your citrus peels:
Peel the fruits about two thirds down without cutting the flesh (you want dry skins and not juice-covered ones), carefully pulling away like you would a banana skin, and gently pull the remaining peel away when you reach the bottom. Scoring helps if the skins are tough to remove.
With a serrated knife, scrape the insides of the peels to removes the white remains so as to leave a very clean skin. The white pith is not just humid but also bitter, so it makes your life easier later and tastier to remove them.
On a sunny day, leave the peels to dry in the sun on a tray. In Singapore where the air is super humid, drying them indoors in front of a window might be better than outdoors. Once completely dry, as in brittle and hard, store them in an airtight container. Remember that the peels must be 100% dry before storing otherwise they will quickly go mouldy...
And voilà, ready for use! But what to do with the flesh of the fruits you just peeled?
Freeze your citrus fruits for treats on hot days
Before your citrus fruits go mouldy (no judging, we might have all been gifted a bit too many this Chinese New Year season, it's hard to eat them all!), you can still save them for later. Just not whole in the freezer as defrosting fruits whole just doesn't work. Here's how to freeze your citrus fruits:
Oranges and lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C and can be easily juiced while they are still a bit plump. Lemon on its own is bitter but with some orange and a bit of sugar makes for a great vitamin boost. You can use a simple manual juice maker, which is better because no-heat processing prevents the vitamins from getting damaged.
You can also put them directly in popsicle makers for additive and food-colouring-free iced treats you can enjoy all year round. You can even add the pulp for more flavour, just make sure to remove all the pits. You can make cubes and any fun shapes for drinks too, such as watered-down lemon juice cubes for a tangy glass of water.
Tangerines often aren't as juicy, so peel the fruits and spread the quarters out on a tray or in a reusable container (like a barePack FlexBox!), separating the layers of fruit with reusable papers like wax or silicone sheets. You can thus use them for cocktails later as beautiful ice cubes or blend them directly in your smoothies and juices.
Blend your citrus pulp into snacks
Great, so you've saved the peels and frozen the juice, but what about the pulp? 5 things you can do with orange and other citrus pulps:
Add them to your Smoothie mix by blending them in for a thicker milk-shake like consistency. It will keep you fuller for longer!
Make pulp crackers! Here's a juice pulp cracker recipe that won't let those pulps go to waste and make a healthy and nutritious snack for any time of day, full of antioxidants.
When fruits age, they become super sweet which makes them even better for cooking. You can discard the damaged part of the fruit if necessary (remember though to not eat any fruits that were affected by mould if they are soft fruits, as the mould actually goes deeper into the fruit than the eye can see). Pulps can be used in pies, tarts and other desserts.
There you go! What to do with all parts of the leftover fruits you have from generous family and fruits. What ideas do you have to avoid fruit waste this year?