Finding mandarin peel in every nook and cranny of your home and car? So are we. Send out a search party, gather it all up and get cracking on these amazing uses for mandarin peel!
*Mandarin peel can be useful though to be repurposed, it needs to be dried or it’ll be a mouldy mess. Here’s how:
How to dry mandarin peel:
Rinse the skin and pat dry.
Lay the peels out on a drying/cooling rack in a sunny spot in your house.
It takes about 3-4 days of direct sunlight to get them crisp and dry. If you don’t have a good sunny spot, you can dry them in your oven on the lowest setting for a few hours.
If you have a dehydrator, then feel free to use that instead. But sun-drying is the most economical way to do it, and patience will bring results.
Keep peel in an airtight jar in the coolest part of your pantry. It can keep for several years if thoroughly dry (though it will change colour and get darker), and people say that the fragrance can keep over time.
There are several things you can do with your dried mandarin peel:
Toss dried mandarin peel into a food processor or spice grinder to reduce to a powder. Add this to meat marinades or salad dressings. Mustard vinaigrette is brightened with ground mandarin peel, and a marinade of soy, honey and ground mandarin is delicious on chicken wings.
2. Spice rub
As above, you can use dried ground mandarin peel in dry spice rubs on meat and vegetables. A great spice rub is rosemary, mandarin peel, paprika, salt and pepper. It is delicious on roast pork; pork chops, and brightens up chunks of roast pumpkin.
3. Adding flavour to cooking fruit
When cooking the fruit for a crumble, poaching fruit pieces such as pear, rhubarb or quince, or when baking apples, add a piece of dried mandarin peel to add bright citrus flavour.
4. Soup and rice
Add fragrance to a pumpkin soup with a couple of pieces of mandarin peel as it cooks, or toss a piece of peel in with rice as it steams.
5. Stews and slow cooked dishes
Stews, casseroles and braises can benefit from the flavour of dried mandarin peel. Many Chinese dishes such as beef braised in soy traditionally use mandarin peel, along with star anise and cinnamon. Lamb shanks could be braised in tomato, rosemary, thyme and mandarin peel for a dish full of bright and warming flavours.
While not a culinary use for mandarin peel, I read about this on Pinterest and gave it a go. We just installed an old Coonara wood burner in our freezing mountain home. Dried mandarin peel works really well as kindling; it sort of explodes into flame. I’d use it as secondary kindling, first lighting paper and then allowing twigs and mandarin peel to catch. I expect it’s the concentrated oils in the skin of the peel that allows it to burn so well. It adds a nice burst of fragrance to your fire. Instead of using the stuff that I dry for cooking, I just leave a line of peels drying on top of the wood burner and in a day they’re ready to be burned.