It happens to all of us. Maybe you vowed that this was the year that you’d eat half a grapefruit for breakfast every day. Maybe you saw that gorgeous stack of oranges at the grocery store and had to have some.
So you end up with surplus citrus. And sometimes you might end up with an orange or lime that’s a little bit old. Not moldy or gross, mind you. But just a little. . . sad. When we have fruit that starts to look this way, everyone in the family shuns it.
But there’s still a way to salvage it. Here are seven ways to use up your old citrus:
Juice your citrus. Then toss chicken breasts in a freezer bag and the squeezed juice. Freeze for later thawing and grilling. Some flavor combinations that I love:
- Grapefruit juice, a few sprigs of rosemary, and a garlic clove
- Lime juice, sliced onion, chopped fresh cilantro
- Lemon juice, lemon zest, and thyme
But why limit the juice to marinades? You can make some great freezer meals from fresh-squeezed juice.
Try either the Orange Ginger Chicken or Lemon Pepper Chicken from New Leaf Wellness:
Fresh-squeezed orange juice tends to be sweeter than concentrate, so if you make this yummy recipe from Freezer Meals For Us, taste the orange sauce before adding the brown sugar and adjust to taste.
You can’t get more than a half-cup of juice from most citrus, making it tough to get a good fresh-squeezed glass of OJ from one orange. However, you can use a splash of squeezed juice to freshen up a drink. Freeze the juice in ice-cube trays. When frozen, you can drop a cube in plain water. The juice cubes can add zing to other drinks too. I once put a blood tangerine cube in a Diet Coke. . .ah heaven!
Beats Diet Coke and lime any day.
This works best with oranges, of course. Peel the oranges and lay the segments on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze and pop the frozen segments into a freezer bag for use. These make the freshest tasting Orange Julius!
You can also take citrus peels and steep them in vinegar. Strain the liquid after a few weeks and pour it into a clean spray bottle. There are lots of how-tos on the Internet, such as this one from the Shabby Creek Cottage. Just remember, you can use more than orange peels. Lemons, limes, and grapefruit peels also make a nice natural cleaner.
Sometimes the citrus is just too far gone to be edible. Don’t worry. You can still squeeze some life out of it before tossing.
Cut up your citrus and toss the pieces into a slow cooker or pot of simmering water. You can also add aromatic herbs and spices, like rosemary and cinnamon sticks. It’s especially great to get rid of those musty late-winter house odors.
Finally you can always use it as a disposal cleaner. Cut up the citrus and toss a few slices in the disposal along with a few ice cubes. Grind them up. This is a great way to clean the disposal and keep it fresh. I know that many people like to freeze slices in chunks like hockey pucks, but I’d rather keep my freezer free for other things.
What’s your favorite way to deal with old citrus?
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