Don’t waste valuable orange zest

I am not talking about rotisserie chicken today. Instead, I am talking about orange zest.

How many times a week do you eat an orange or send one to school with your child? Well, if you’re not zesting that orange first, you’re wasting valuable nutrients and flavor.

Orange zest contains antioxidants and is versatile in so many recipes. Here are a few ideas on how to use it:

I add it to extra virgin olive oil to make salad dressing; add it to salad (it’s particularly good on spinach and arugula); use it on salmon (lemon zest, too); put it on my oatmeal with some cinnamon and dried blueberries or cranberries and walnuts; sprinkle it on toast with strawberry or raspberry jam; use it to infuse water; add it to cookies or breads; stir it into couscous or quinoa; or even add it to a smothered pork chop with cranberry sauce (see recipe below).

You will get a little less than 1 tablespoon of zest per orange, depending on the size, and that contains 14 percent of your recommended vitamin C intake. So you are literally tossing nutrients if you don’t use that peel.

For best results, zest an orange before you slice it. If you’re not going to eat the orange for a few hours, then wrap the orange in plastic wrap to protect it or it will start drying out. On that note, the peel does protect it, so don’t go crazy and zest citrus that you don’t plan to consume today.

I have a three pound bag of oranges on my table right now and that’s a lot of potential zest, flavor, and Vitamin C.

You can also freeze zest, too. I put it in a plastic baggie and pop it in the freezer, but only if I have several oranges worth in the bag.

Ok, have I convinced you to start using that orange peel? I hope so.

Here’s a super easy recipe: Salt and pepper your pork chops. Then toss in flour, seared in hot oil on each side and then add 1 can whole cranberry sauce, 1 teaspoon orange zest, ½ cup orange juice, 1 chopped garlic clove and cover with a lid and simmer on the stove for 10-25 minutes, depending on how thick your pork chops are.

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