When I think of winter, I think of citrus! I like using the peels to make citrus vinegar. I love citrus vinegar because it can be used for multiple purposes. I use citrus vinegar as a general all purpose cleaner: it is a great cleaner for counter tops, sinks, floors, bathtubs, and more! I often recommend it for skin and hair care. I like adding citrus vinegar to foods: it makes a delicious, fruity vinaigrette. Best of all, citrus vinegar can be made year round, and not just during the cooler months. Here is my version of this awesome wonder.
Vinegar (enough to fill the jar)
Citrus peels (any amount)
A glass jar (any size)
In a glass jar, add the citrus peels. Pour in the vinegar, and make sure you add enough vinegar so that it covers the peelsas much as possible. Since the peels usually float to the top of the jar, I usually just fill the whole jar with vinegar, and push the peels down with a spoon so that they are covered with the vinegar. Cap and gently shake. Let the peels infuse for a few days to a couple weeks. Shake every once in a while. Strain. If the scent isn’t strong enough, you can add more peels and infuse again.
You can use any type of citrus peels including oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, or more. I recently made a wonderful smelling vinegar using pomelo; it smells amazing! You can use just one kind of peel or use the peels from many different kinds of citrus fruits. The combinations are endless! If you are going to use citrus vinegar for food, skin or hair care, it is highly recommended that you use organic citrus peels. But if you are making citrus vinegar for cleaning, then non-organic citrus peels are fine to use, but I still recommend getting organic when you can! If you don’t care for citrus, then you can make infused vinegar with other types of herbs. I enjoy making rosemary, lavender, or other herbal vinegars.
You can use many different kinds of vinegar. If your citrus vinegar is going to be used for household cleaning, I suggest using white vinegar. For food and cosmetics, I like using apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, brown rice vinegar, or coconut vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is wonderful for food too.
In my instructions, I did not list a specific amount of citrus peels or vinegar to use. The reason is that there is no right or wrong amount! You can use as much or as little citrus peels as you want, and make as much or as little citrus vinegar as you desire. Just make sure the peels are covered in the vinegar, and that you fill the whole jar with vinegar. Of course the more peels you use, the stronger the scent will be.
To use citrus vinegar as a cleaner, use it full strength for tough jobs, or dilute it with distilled water to make a gentle all purpose cleaner. I use it on many different types of surfaces, but as vinegar is acidic and citrus is a solvent, spot test it on surfaces using a diluted concentration. I often use a 25% concentration when I dilute it. When I make it, I just eye ball it: I fill a spray bottle ¼ of the way with citrus vinegar and fill the rest with distilled water. But many people use less or more citrus vinegar than that. Try different concentrations and see what works best for you!
For skin and hair care, it is best to dilute it well before use. (Well diluted) vinegar toners are mildly exfoliating and are gentle enough to use daily. Citrus vinegar makes an awesome skin toner or hair rinse. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of citrus vinegar to an ounce of distilled water. Once you dilute vinegar, its shelf life decreases so make small batches and use it up within a couple weeks.
For foods, my favorite recipe using citrus vinegar is salad dressing. You can add it directly to your salad, or make a delicious vinaigrette with it. Whisk the citrus vinegar with a good oil (like olive oil or grapeseed oil), herbs, salt, pepper, and a little juice if desired. Yummy!
Enjoy making and using citrus vinegar!
Here is my recipe for vinegar toner. I suggest reading the whole thread, as the FAQ in this thread is extensive.
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
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