The Versatile Orange: Starting a Campfire and Other Uses

The Versatile Orange: Starting a Campfire and Other Uses

Oranges as we know them today harken back to about 314 BC in Southeast Asia. In Western countries, oranges were considered primarily a dessert fruit prior to 1920. These fruits not only pack a healthy dose of vitamin C, but have other uses that don’t involve eating the tasty flesh or drinking the juice. Here are five intriguing non-dietary uses for oranges.

Starting campfires: Orange peels make good kindling, so after your family eats the oranges as a snack, keep the peels for your campfire. Squeeze the oil of orange peels onto a bundle of dryer lint, which also makes great kindling – or put some dried orange peels and small kindling under larger pieces of wood. The oil in the peels helps to fuel the flames, and if you have an indoor fireplace, this will keep your chimneys cleaner and leave the room smelling like roasted oranges!

Natural mosquito repellant: This is another good use of oranges when you are camping or sitting in your backyard. Oil from sweet orange peel has a 90-95 percent limonene content, which is lethal to fleas, fire ants, and flies. Place bits of orange peel or zest around the garden and campsite, or rub the orange peel on your skin to help prevent bites.

Natural cleanser: Paired with some white vinegar, orange peels add a nice touch and fragrance to a DYI natural cleanser. No need to buy expensive kitchen cleansers with potentially dangerous ingredients when this combo is inexpensive, highly effective, and a non-toxic method for cleaning household surfaces.

Trash freshener: Reduce the odor in your trash area by placing orange peel at the bottom of the can before inserting bags. This nifty trick will not only reduce odor, but helps discourage insect infestation. This is something you can try both at home and while camping.

DYI Vitamin C

  1. You can use a variety of citrus fruits – e.g. lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruits. Choose organic fruits because you don’t want to introduce contaminants into your DYI product.
  2. Wash the fruit and peel off the skins.
  3. Cut the peels into small thin squares, place on a clean washcloth, and put by the window in full sunlight.
  4. Allow the peels to dry and shrivel for a few days.
  5. Once they are dry, use a coffee grinder or similar device to turn your peels into a powder and store in an airtight container.

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