Oranges and orange juices are praised as excellent sources for essential vitamin consumption. But, other than zesting for an occasional recipe, orange peels are usually removed and discarded. Some medical experts, however, say you shouldn’t waste the rind! Because, just like the inner fruit segments of an orange, its peel is packed with disease-fighting nutrients.
Health Facts Worth Chewing On
Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cites that an orange peel offers a higher daily value of fiber, vitamin C and some health-boosting plant compounds compared to the inner fruit. These findings are worth noting because diets rich in such nutrients benefit both heart and digestive health, prevent the growth of cancer cells and combat obesity.
This is important as, according to the Centers for Disease Control, some disabilities, such as spinal cord injuries, can affect how well the bowel works. Plus, people with disabilities are less likely to be of healthy weight and more likely to be obese than people without disabilities. And heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability.
Additionally, clinical trials identified that a compound called hesperidin, found in orange rind, boasted protection and therapeutical effects against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases and other conditions, due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, lipid-lowering and insulin-sensitizing properties.
Another compound in orange peels, called polyphenols, also is believed to help prevent and manage an array of chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and, again, Alzheimer’s disease.
Try this Healthy Holiday Hostess Gift
To brighten up the typical party color palette of red and green dishes this season, consider infusing bits of orange. Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peels can be a fresh and unexpected holiday hostess gift. Present in a clear glass jar adorned with seasonal ribbon. This simple and delicious homemade treat is from the heart (and good for the heart too)!
It’s actually peak season for sweet oranges, like Sunkist Navel oranges. Aside from gifting, these Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peels are perfect for adding to cocktails or dessert trays. Plus, they support your immune system by offering 90% of your daily vitamin C.
Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peels
Recipe by Brandi Milloy and Sunkist
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour | Servings: 4
- 4 Sunkist Navel oranges
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup dark chocolate, melted
- Rinse and dry oranges. Slice both ends off each orange.
- Using a paring knife, carefully score each orange in quarters then remove peel from each section, trying not to get too much pith.
- Slice peels into 1/4-inch strips. Add to pot and cover with water and sugar; stir. Bring to boil.
- Turn heat to medium-low until the water reaches a soft simmer. Simmer 45 minutes. Add vanilla before turning off heat and stirring.
- Remove peels from syrup and cool on a wire rack. Roll in sugar to coat.
- Dry at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Dip candied orange peels one at a time in dark chocolate.
- Place on parchment paper to set up and harden. Store in an airtight container.
Pssst… maybe these treats should be left on a tray for Santa too!
More Ways to Savor the Flavor
Orange peels can be an interesting addition to a well-balanced diet inclusive of many varieties of fruits and vegetables. When consuming an orange peel (or any citrus skin), opt for organic oranges to reduce exposure to pesticide residues. And, of course, wash the peel before consuming.
Use a grater or zesting tool to zest the outer skin, trying to avoid the more bitter white pith. Orange zest works great in baked goods, salads dressings and sprinkled on top of steamed veggies, rice/quinoa or oatmeal.
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