Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Orange Vinegar

My orange vinegar is done! I have been impatiently waiting for the 2 weeks to be up so I could strain it and use it and here it is.

First things first, I filled 2 quart jars 1/2 full of orange peels and 1/2 full of vinegar. After I strained it and used some, I still have a full quart to use later. That means we extracted some serious orange oil goodness from those discarded peels. The vinegar is now very thick and oily looking, not thin and vinegar like anymore.

So, here's what I did:

I got out a bowl, strainer, spray bottle and my quarts of infusion.

Strain the liquid into a big bowl and discard the peels. I tried to dehydrate the peels just to see if it was possible to use them in one more project, but they really have no more scent left. Chuck them on the compost pile and feel good that you used them an extra time this way.

It's orange gold! Now you just put this into a jar or whatever you want to store it in and it can wait for you to need it.

Why would you want to go to all this trouble? What is vinegar even good for? What benefits do orange oil have? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. Let me tell you!

  • Vinegar is a safer, cleaner, greener alternative to bleach. While the studies on how many and what kind of germs vinegar can kill have been few and far between, what is known is that for general, all purpose cleaning vinegar is great. Add some hydrogen peroxide or table salt to it and vinegar becomes a power house cleaner. It won't burn your nose, eyes and mouth like bleach will either.
  • Orange oil is great for cleaning woods and other surfaces. It leaves a nice sheen without adding any chemical or product buildup and washes away with soap and water. It smells great, has no side effects and has the added benefit of being a nearly free resource if you are eating the fruits in your home.
So, there you go. Mix the two together and you have an effective, sweet smelling all purpose cleaner that you can wipe on any surface of your home, including the bathroom areas since vinegar is a great mold killer.

How to use:

Fill your bottle about 1/4 -1/3 full of orange vinegar.

Fill the rest of the way with water.

And that's it.

Now spray and wipe everything: counters, appliances, tile and grout, furniture, light switches, door handles, moulding and trim, and pretty much anything else you can think of that needs a general clean and disinfect.

It will smell great and work great too.

I also wanted to mention that I conducted a little experiment. I tried freezing the orange peels as we ate them and then using them when I had enough saved up. It worked great! I can't see (or smell) any difference between the fresh orange peels and the ones that were frozen before use. So, even if you don't eat oranges all that often, you can save the peels to use in your cleaner when you want to make some. I also think saving your lemon, lime and grapefruit peels could make some different smell combinations or just different smell to the vinegar that might be nice. Use what you have!


Lois said...

Thanks! I just made some orange zest for the first time, dried it in my dehydrator, then found out that I did it wrong. Apparently if you include any part of the white pithy part, it will impart a bitter taste in recipes. I didn't want to toss it, so now I know what to do with it, I'll make orange vinegar with it!

Charley said...

Yes! Re use it in this, it'll be perfect! I candied some orange peel a couple years ago and the parts that I just got peel were great....the parts that had a tiny bit of the pith were not so great. Live and learn!

Amish Aimee said...

How long do you leave the peels in the vinegar?

Charley said...

10 - 14 days! When it smells more like orange and less like vinegar it's done :)

Anonymous said...

How long does this concoction be stored? Will it go bad after so long?

Charley said...

If you strain out all of the particles of orange, it should be good for a while. The only thing that could really go bad is little bits of orange peel or pulp. I've been using mine up so fast that I would think you'll go through it before you have to worry. I'd put an estimate of 3-4 months on it as far as going bad though.

Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl said...

I make something similar and add cinnamon sticks and a vanilla bean...I love it for cleaning.

Charley Cooke said...

Great idea!

Caitlin said...

Hey there! I tried making orange vinegar, but my results weren't so great. After about a week my vinegar was dark brown and smelled awful. Do you have any insight as to what went wrong or what I should change in the future?

Love your blog!

Charley Cooke said...

I've never had that happen before and I make it at least once a month. I would just be really sure that I was only using the peel, that there wasn't a lot of pith or any orange flesh left on the peels. I'm sorry it didn't work out this time, but try it again!

Rae said...

I make mine strong and it has a brownish hue to it. It smells like orange vinegar (which, if it is strong can burn the nose a bit). Mine contains the peel and pith both with no problems. What exactly does smells "awful" mean? I would describe the smell of mine as pickled oranges.