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Citrus Sunshine!

Aye aye, Cap’n, we’ll not be getting scurvy aboard our ship! (Or in my home!) Unlike sailors of yore, who went for long periods of time without fresh fruits and vegetables, we are able to get vitamin C through our daily diet. In the summer, our family enjoys plenty of fresh choices from our local store and farmers markets such as cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and spinach, to name a few. In the winter, we like to up our intake of in-season citrus too.

Oranges, tangerines and grapefruit are more than just a snack food for us! I love cooking with all kinds of citrus. My senses are engaged with the bright happy colors, the fresh and pungent smell, and the tart zing. Have you ever noticed that warming winter recipes, like stews and roasted vegetables, tend to be brown? While these are very tasty, it’s delightful to mix it up with a recipe incorporating colorful citrus.

Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and more are all high in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folate and vitamin A. These are all important to prevent a range of health concerns, from cardiovascular disease and cancer to skin damage. The flavonoids that are found in the rind and the membranes are antioxidants and reduce inflammation. They help prevent cancer by helping your body eliminate carcinogens and killing cancer cells. Whenever possible, eat the flesh, membrane and zest from the peel for up to five times more flavonoids than you get from a glass of juice.

We try to have a waste-not attitude in our home. We up-cycle, recycle and compost as much as we can. Citrus of any type is especially well utilized! Freeze any extra peels and zest to use in future recipes or for your own DIY plans.

11 Favorite DIY uses for citrus

  1. Natural Cleaner: Soak lemon peels in vinegar for a week or two and then mix 50/50 with water. The acid in lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, and it acts as a natural bleach.
  2. Magically Clean Microwave: Place a few lemon peels in a bowl of water and microwave for five minutes. Remove the bowl and easily wipe clean.
  3. Smelly Garbage Disposal No More: Toss used up lemons and limes down the disposal to clean and refresh.
  4. Coffee Pot Sparkler: Put a few lemon peels, two tablespoons of salt and two cups of ice inside a cool coffee pot. Swirl the mixture around to remove any residue.
  5. Air Freshener: Simmer citrus peels for a delightful scent. Add other herbs and spices like cinnamon, mint or cardamon to create a favorite fragrance.
  6. Bathe In Luxury: Add peels to bath water for a fragrant and exhilarating treat.
  7. Softening Face Wash: Mix one zested lemon peel with half a cup of sugar and slowly add in olive oil until a paste forms. Gently use on face to exfoliate skin.
  8. Enhance Tea: Steep peels with a tea bag for an aromatic and flavorful treat.
  9. Beverage Booster: Add citrus slices and peels to water for a refreshing beverage.
  10. Bug Deterrent: Rub peels of lemons or oranges on skin as a natural deterrent to bugs.
  11. Flavorful Oil: Make a special olive oil infused with lemon, lime or orange flavor. Add three tablespoons of the preferred citrus’s zest with a cup of oil. You can also add thinly sliced peels. Store the mixture in a glass jar for up to two weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and use for added flavor in fish and chicken recipes or for salad dressing.

Bring the sunshine to your table!

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A tasty bowl of vitamin C!

A sweet and tangy dish.

The flavor is as bright as the ingredients!