4 Realistic Ways to Upcycle Your Zero Waste Dried Orange Garland (That Aren’t Food)

4 Realistic Ways to Upcycle Your Zero Waste Dried Orange Garland (That Aren’t Food)

Orange garlands are one of my favorite zero waste Christmas decorations. They’re beautiful, they smell amazing, and they’re compostable, assuming you use plant-based twine and thread. But isn’t it a shame to only use them as a decoration and then throw them out? Guess what, there are actually a number of ways to upcycle your dried orange garland! Waste not, want not, y’all!

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Delicious Kumquat Chutney Recipe (Waste Not, Want Not Challenge)

Delicious Kumquat Chutney Recipe (Waste Not, Want Not Challenge)

What a pain in the citrus!

When we left last off, I was drowning in a heap of delightful miniature fruits. Backyard grown (no pesticides or fertilizers), packed with vitamins, and destined to fall and rot, I committed to not letting any of the 37 cups of kumquats go to waste.

So today we explore the wonder of chutney! Click through for a delicious kumquat chutney recipe, which will extend the shelf-life of excess fruits for more than a month.

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The Waste Not, Want Not Challenge, and Why It Matters (Kumquat Edition)

The Waste Not, Want Not Challenge, and Why It Matters (Kumquat Edition)

Kumquats are basically citrus' wild party girl: the peels are sweet, the fruit is sour.

When I stumbled on a small tree covered in unused kumquats, I decided to do another Waste Not, Want Not Challenge. "What does it matter, it's just one tree?" I was asked.

With 925 million people hungry worldwide, it matters. Here's how much food that one tree generated, and here's why taking the Waste Not, Want Not Challenge will change your relationship with food.

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Sour Orange Jelly (Waste Not Want Not Challenge)

Sour Orange Jelly (Waste Not Want Not Challenge)

A super easy Seville orange jelly recipe that will brighten your morning, and is the perfect counter recipe to the Sour Orange Limoncello post, leaving you with only the seeds and a thin husk of pith as food waste! 

And some final thoughts on my first Waste Not, Want Not personal challenge.

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DIY Home Scents for the Holidays: Citrus Potpourri

Floridians know that Christmas means citrus, and while life took this girl out of her home state, oranges are still synonymous with holiday flare at Moore Manor! 

I was planning my follow up to the DIY Home Scents for the Holidays: Part 1 post and got sidetracked by a beautiful trip to Costa Rica, which actually was quite serendipitous. I arrived off the airplane in Florida to be welcomed by a HUGE basket of sour oranges, thanks to my parents' neighbor Valerie. 

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Look at this amazing bounty of backyard citrus! 

The sour orange (also known as the Seville orange) is a hybrid known for it's bitter taste (I find it similar to a Meyer lemon) and beautiful aroma. 

I was so excited, and I immediately decided to not let any go to waste, though several were already at the point they wouldn't be winning any beauty contests. What better use for them than some dried potpourri? (As a reminder, chemical air fresheners are basically air pollution, and they contain toxic hormone disrupting agents.)

It smells amazing, and it's beautiful. Every time I walk into my bedroom and catch a whiff or catch sight of it, I can't help but smile. It's so feminine and pretty... even if it's a little grandma chic. Whatever, get off me. I love grandma chic. 

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DIY Holiday Citrus Potpourri

Here's what you need:

  • Oranges (any sort will do)

  • Star anise

  • Cinnamon sticks

  • Cloves

  • Spray roses (if desired) and rose leaves (optional)

  • Orange essential oil

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*This gallery contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you. This helps me offset the enormous amount of time that goes into Compost & Cava.

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Wash oranges, scrubbing peels. Slice oranges as thin as you realistically can. Don't fret if they get a little irregular. 

  3. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Layer orange slices and other fresh ingredients (I threw in some rosemary). You can also arrange items directly on oven grill rack to reduce cooking time.

  4. Place baking sheet on middle rack of oven, and check occasionally. Flowers, leaves, and herbs will dehydrate much more quickly, orange slices should take about 2 hours. Remove oranges before browning occurs. (Don't worry if they're still a little tacky. I burned the crap out of one batch trying to get them all the way dry.)

  5. Allow oranges and flowers to cool. Combine with spices in bowl, spritz with essential oils if stronger scent is desired or as scent begins to fade. Enjoy until potpourri loses color or texture, then compost!

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And there you have it! Easy, fun, and pretty. Best of all, it won't release toxins into your home! 

I packaged up several in glass jars for fellow hippie friends, and played around with creating an orange lavender version, and loved it.

I've left mine out in bowls around the house, and I refresh them with the occasional spritz of essential oils. They brighten my mood each day! Living greener often means slow living, and so far I love it. It's a richer, and more fulfilling experience.

Short on time?

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I got you!

Don't underestimate the beauty and incredible scent of clove studded citrus. (This is lifestyle blogger code for "shoving whole cloves into an orange".) 

It's colorful, nostalgic, and the scent lasts for days and days! 

Grab several oranges and a handful of whole cloves. Push cloves (pointy end first) into the peel of the orange. Aaaaaand you're done. 

So simple, right?! And you can get fancy with patterns if you want, but it's definitely not necessary. 

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Remember to take a moment to breathe and relax this holiday season, and remember that these little details are where the joy is found in life.

Even if you're on a tight budget, these little sensory experiences are a great way to treat yourself while taking a break from wrapping presents and food prep! 

Shoot me a note and let me know what potpourri combinations y'all come up with!

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