Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Orange Peel Experiment

As I have mentioned, my kids will put down fruit like nobody’s business.  They may spend an hour and half on a ham sandwich, but will inhale fruit as fast as we let them.  It’s great for the compost pile, of course, but for the sake of science (and possibly save some money) we tried two experiments for re-purposing our orange peels.  

Orange Peel Cleaner

Process: For this, we just dropped all of our peels into a quart mason jar.  It was full in about two days, then we filled it right to the top with white vinegar.  The vinegar pulls the oils from peeling, boosting the inherent cleaning power of the vinegar.  After about 10 days, we poured the orange infused vinegar through a strainer and into an old spray bottle.
  • It works great for light duty cleaning. 
  • Smells great!
  • I know EXACTLY what is in it. 
  • Incredibly easy!

Orange Peel Seed Starter

Process: For this one, we used halved oranges leftover from hand juicing.  Little preparation was needed, but to poke a drainage hole with a pocket knife in the bottom of each half.  We filled them with potting mix, dropped three seeds in each and covered with more potting mix to achieve appropriate seed depth.  Our experimental seeds included Basil, Lemon Balm, and Stevia.  We kept them in a tray with a clear plastic lid to keep in heat and moisture.

  • Seeds sprouted.  They were not fast, it was about eight days before any sign of life.
  • Oranges molded.  At this point, we terminated the experiment.  If they could have survived outdoors, I would have transplanted (but if that were the case I would not be doing indoor seed experiments).  There was just too much fuzzy mystery mold for my wife to get a warm fuzzy.


I will definitely do the orange cleaning solution again and would recommend it to anyone who likes natural citrus scented cleaner.
For future seed-starts, I would forgo orange peels in lieu of other methods.  While this may work great for some, I consider our experiment to be a failure. 
I look forward to hearing about your experiences with these or other orange peel re-use ideas.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Best Kale Chips Ever!

I'm probably way out of loop here, but up until a few years ago, I had never even heard of Kale.  My first experience was when I was tricked into trying it in a smoothie.  Since it was actually good (was not expecting that), I tried the kale chips that soon followed.  They were great, just too darn labor intensive.  My mother-in-law came up with her own method that is much easier, and they rock!  The hardest part is keeping it away from the kiddos.

  • Trim stem, wash, and ice down one bunch of Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale)
  • Cut minimally, only to remove main vein and any bad spots you may have
  • After drying on towel, coat with coconut oil and a squirt of lemon juice
  • Place in oven to dehydrate on baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-15 min @350
  • Top with parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper
  • Devour

As far as storage goes, it has never been an issue because ours disappear within an hour or two on the counter. 

Let us know what you think if you try our recipe, and feel free to share any seasoning suggestions or your own recipes.  Happy baking!