Reasons To Eat Orange Peels Rather Than Trash Them

Orange-eaters who dismiss the peels in favor of the good stuff within are missing out on some considerable bonus health benefits. Peels may not taste as good as slices, but there are reasons to get tough and gobble them up rather than throw them away.

Livestrong identifies these benefits of orange peels:

* They might prevent cancer. Studies have suggested that flavonoids in the peel help prevent lung cancer, while polymethoxyflavones and liminoid may stop cancer of the lungs and other organs.

* They could help you quit smoking. Orange peel extract has been used as an ingredient in a gum that can help remove nicotine from the body. Also, perhaps if smokers force themselves to eat an orange peel after every cigarette they won’t find smoking as appealing, due to the nasty taste.

A list of the benefits of orange peels [Livestrong]


Edit Your Comment

  1. kalaratri says:

    The only way I’m eating an orange peel is if I’m having marmalade.

    • Yacko says:

      You can chop a small amount into smallish bits, like the size of bacon bits, and add it to your oatmeal or oatmeal cookies. Assuming you use raisins, the taste is very good, both complimentary and contrasting at the same time. They could also be added to an apple cake, upside down cakes of various types, non-yeast desert breads and even brownies.

      If you can’t use the peel right away, orange peels dehydrate easily just sitting in dry indoor winter air. Dry until hard and keep in a sealed jar. Break off a piece, drop in a glass with a couple of ounces of water, rehydrate overnight and use in the ways I suggested.

      • kalaratri says:

        I hate the texture of raisins, dried fruits and candied peels and never cook or bake with them. BLECH!

    • zombie_batch says:

      I bet they taste good after being deep fat fried.

    • giax says:

      I use orange peels like lemon peels – making limoncello, or for the case of oranges, arancello.

  2. mauispiderweb says:

    Mmmm … blood oranges.

  3. jrs45 says:

    Dumb article. There are plenty of much tastier foods available that offer similar benefits. Why suffer?

    • rpm773 says:

      True, but usually you have to pay for those other foods. With orange peels, you can just pick them out of someone’s garbage can.

  4. Cat says:

    We can smoke orange peels, right, Phil?
    Are they better than banana peels?
    Cause, seriously, Donavan lied to me about that.
    I had to kill his career.
    You wouldn’t lie to me now, would you, Phil?

  5. Cat says:

    We can smoke orange peels, right, Phil?
    Are they better than banana peels?
    Cause, seriously, Donavan lied to me about that.
    I had to kill his career.
    You wouldn’t lie to me now, would you, Phil?

  6. Geosama says:

    Orange peels have been an asian snack for such a long time. They don’t taste like peels, just sour candy. Look for them in your local asian supermarket

  7. CubeRat says:

    I prefer to use my orange (or lemon, grapefruit) to clean out the garbage disposal and make it smell better.

    Not gonna eat them myself.

  8. caradrake says:

    I’ll use orange zest in recipes, and I’m not fanatic about removing the white stuff when I’m peeling an orange, but I’m not going to pop a piece of the peel into my mouth and chow down.

  9. allknowingtomato says:

    Do i still get the benefits if i candy the orange peel? might be enough of a motivator to chose that over other non-dark-chocolate candies when i do eat them.

    Also, if this study holds true for all citrus, I highly recommend people try eating an entirethin slice of lemon, peel and all (like the thin slice you might get on the rim of a drink). The bitterness of the pith balances out the sourness of the lemon flesh, and the zest adds a sweet additional dimension of lemony-ness. I have occasionally eaten a slice of lemon, peel and all, for pleasure and not health for more than a decade now. Good stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if eating a slice of orange worked in a similar way.

    • Bibliovore says:

      Or kumquats — the peel of kumquats is already edible and reasonably tasty as-is.

      But candied orange peels are easy, and worth it even if they don’t have quite the health benefits. Slice the peel of an orange or four into thin strips. To remove the bitterness, cover them in water and boil them for a few minutes, dump off the water and add fresh and boil for another five minutes, then dump off that water. Mix about 8oz sugar and 8oz water, put the peels in with that, cover, and simmer for an hour. Pour off the now-orange-flavored simple syrump to do whatever you wish with, spread the peels out to dry, and enjoy. Once dry, dip them in chocolate if you like — yum!

  10. rpm773 says:

    Studies have suggested that flavonoids in the peel help prevent lung cancer, while polymethoxyflavones and liminoid may stop cancer of the lungs

    Rock on!

  11. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    1) That picture is disgusting and I am glad I ate my morning orange before this was posted.

    2) Oranges are superior as a fruit because I do not need to wash them. Eating the peel would create more work for my exceptional on the go lifestyle.

    3) If I did eat them, I would pay far more attention to every spot on the outside and spend more time shopping for oranges.

    • allknowingtomato says:

      1) Meh.

      2) if you touch the outside of the peel when peeling the orange (you do) and then the flesh when eating the orange (you do), then you are already transferring the stuff (pesticide residue, dust, bug parts) from the peel layer to the flesh layer, and into your mouth. this also happens during the initial gouge one typically makes when peeling the orange. if you wash your hands in between peeling and eating, then just washing the orange beforehand (along with your hands) does not cost you any extra time

      3) seriously? talk about first-world problems. How about, when you notice that the orange you’re about to eat has some appetizing portions of the peel, you eat them?

      why are people angry someone observed that part of a food we throw away has health benefits? and why are people bitching about not liking a food they NEVER eat?! the vast majority of people, as children, had to be coerced into liking many healthy foods (most vegetables) through repeated exposure. try it. then try it 9 more times, in different configurations (P.F. changs makes “orange peel beef,” a home-cooked version would be wonderful), then decide whether it’s a stupid idea.

      Broccoli is healthy, and many people don’t like it. but i don’t see those people get so worked up that the scientific community has acknowledged its benefits.

      sometimes y’all will do anything to blame the OP.

      • little stripes says:

        Wow, oh, wow. Princess’ tongue was clearly stuck firmly in her cheek, and you took it far, far too seriously. Asbergers?

        • Cat says:

          Mmmm, Ass Burgers.

        • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

          Thank you. I thought the “exceptional on the go lifestyle” line made this obvious.

          Still I can’t see myself eating orange peels. I do like to let them sit around or soak because they smell so good.
          I know there’s a recipe on what to add to make the smell even more awesome and last and I keep meaning to google it because I generally eat about 2 oranges a day.

          • little stripes says:

            Yeah, it was really obvious. I mean come on, no one is going to take citrus peels that seriously. Except the Ass Burgers guy that replied to you, apparently…

            They are good if you need like … god my cooking lingo is horrible, but in some recipes, you can add a lot of flavor by shaving lemon/orange/lime peels. And I didn’t know you could put the peels in the disposal! I am so doing that!!

            I found this:


            Oooooh infused vodkas!? OH HELLS YEAH.

            • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

              Those are some good ideas! Orange peels soaking in vodka looks way more grown up and fancy than the jolly ranchers I normally use!

              • little stripes says:

                I think your jelly rancher idea actually sounds delicious… Though I bet orange peels are healthier, hahaha.

      • sponica says:

        actually there’s a scientific reason behind why some people don’t like broccoli…it was on an episode of NOVA Now. there’s a substance in broccoli that some people have the genes to taste and others do not. if you have the genes, you can’t stand the taste of broccoli. if you don’t, broccoli doesn’t bother you for taste reasons

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      Are you kidding? That picture is _mouthwatering_.

  12. Jane_Gage says:

    Get your daily dose of fungicide.

  13. sveyden says:

    I bet you had an orange peel for breakfast!
    How can I tell?
    There is skin all over your face…(wah-wah)

  14. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:


  15. suburbancowboy says:

    FYI: and are 2 totally different things. The Livestrong foundation sold to Demand Media (who also own and they pay Lance to appear on the site. .Org is the actual cancer foundation.

  16. mavrick67 says:
  17. Shouhdes says:

    They MIGHT cure cancer, and COULD help me stop smoking?

    You COULD sign me up.

    But you wont.

  18. tungstencoil says:

    I love that the article in question quotes single studies as if single studies (especially dietary ones designed to show causation instead of correlation) as fact.

  19. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I have dried orange peels, added some whole cloves, and then put them in water in a little pot pourrie warmer. Makes the kitchen smell good.

    I’ll get my flavonoids from from the edible parts of fruits and vegetables. Lots of fresh foods contain flavonoids, and you don’t need to eat orange peels to get them.

  20. sumocat says:

    Key sentence from the original: “Most of these beneficial compounds come from the albedo — the white matter that hugs the orange.” — Ergo, don’t scrape the white stuff clean off your orange and no need to choke down the outer rind.

  21. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Just because someone posts a list on the web somewhere doesn’t mean it should be reported elsewhere….

    Jus’ sayin is all…

  22. A.Mercer says:

    I remember reading once that there is a food dye that is carcinogenic that is prohibited from being used in any food except for orange skins. It was allowed for that because no one figured people would be eating the orange skins. It is Citrus Red 2.

    The article does not mention anything about people eating the skins but it does discuss that the dye is a possible carcinogenic. Now, from a danger standpoint it is not the worst thing in the world. What I am thinking though, is what other things are allowed to be in orange skins that are only allowed in there because no one expects people to eat the skins?

    • little stripes says:

      That reasoning just seems flimsy since a lot of people do use the orange peels in cooking (when you shave off just the peel).

  23. El-Brucio says:

    I usually buy all my citrus in the form of squeezable plastic lemons.

    That’s almost as healthy, right?

  24. wheeitsme says:

    I use the peels to make orangecello and then candy/sugar them.

    Now that I know how good they are for me, I’ll have to make more!

  25. pixiegirl says:

    Do chocolate covered orange peels count? Cause if they do I better go get some cancer fighting candy!!!

  26. bobloblaw says:

    actually, i’d skip it unless it’s organic; you’re eating so many pesticides inthe skin that i’d venture the toxic carcinogens far outweigh the benefits.

  27. bukkler says:

    Blood oranges are delicious, but I’m not about to chow down on the peels. The bitter membrane and burning citrus oils just don’t sound too tasty. However, I will continue to turn them into mini-flamethrowers by squeezing the skins into an open flame.

  28. Hands says:

    If only it didn’t taste like pith.

  29. orion70 says:

    I think I’ve seen smoothie recipes in which the entire orange is tossed into the blender along with other fruit. Used to also have a bran muffin recipe at one point that required the same thing, the whole orange went into the blender with some other ingredients as part of the batter.

  30. jokono says:

    Ah, but none of these reasons nullify the primary reason for not eating orange peel: It tastes like orange peel.

  31. Auntie_Carolina says:

    During the summer I grated the peels of oranges and lemons and used them (along with the juice of them) to make a summer drink that I carried around in my thermos on hot days.

    Have to say that it was great, except my stomach got so acidic for a while that I couldn’t go near the stuff. Everything in moderation, but geez what May prevent cancer, May give you an ulcer.

  32. Anna Kossua says:

    Yes! I love orange peel. When I was little, my grandmother would always make candied orange peel, and it was just about the best thing ever. I made some not too long ago, nom. Scrape off the white part, slice into strips, boil for about a hundred years, coat in sugar or chocolate, and enjoy! It also makes the house smell incredible while it’s boiling. I can’t eat a lot of them; they’re quite acetic. Still, it’s so worth it.