DIY Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

I love citrus. At the moment every time I walk into the lunchroom I get these beautiful wafts of oranges and mandarins. Then comes afternoon tea and I get to devour a nice fresh lemon… don’t judge me… I am pregnant and I am allowed to eat weird stuff! But it did pain me to see all the peels getting chucked in the trash especially considering that so many cleaners boast about their citrusy scent or about how powerful they are due to the use of real lemons! As with most things I have decided that it would be much easier (and healthier) to go straight to the source, which is always nature.

Looks almost good enough to eat!

Unless you have your own citrus tree (lucky you) you might not get through enough peel to make a lot of this. Firstly, as long as you put it in the fridge your peel will last up to ten days. Secondly, a good trick is to put a container in the kitchen at your office and ask people to put their peel there instead of the bin. Anyone that follows my Facebook page may remember that at first I got called a ‘freak’ for this email request BUT by the end of the week I had had plenty of interest in the recipe and I had enough peels to make a good few batches of cleaner. Once it is ready I am going to take it into work (along with the recipe) to show people how well it works. Sharing the eco love people!

What You Need

  • Citrus peels – any kind! If you want an extra strong cleaner use only orange peels
  • Bicarb soda
  • White vinegar
  • Essential Oil (optional)
  • Something to scrub with – scourer, dish brush, nail brush
  • Old jars
  • Old spray bottle (use one of the containers that used to hold your nasty cleaner!)

Method

1.  Gather your peels and place in a bowl.

2. Cover with water and then sprinkle bicarb soda quite liberally over them.
3.  Dip the peel and give a quick scrub. Place the scrubbed peel into a colander. (This is to remove all the nasty chemicals from the peels and make it a truly natural cleaner).
4.  Once all the peels have had a quick scrub rinse them thoroughly.
5.  Place all the peels into a jar.
6.  Fill the jar up to the level of your peels with vinegar.
7.  Store in a dark, cool place for between 2 weeks and a month. Shake it once a week if you remember – make sure the lid is on tight!
8.  Shake the mixture vigorously then pour the mixture into a container, straining the old peels.
9.  Mix 1 part vinegar mix with 1 part water and pour into your spray bottle! If you would like add ten drops of an essential oil with antibacterial qualities (i.e. teatree, lavender or lemon).

It is a fantastic cleaner and will work on most surfaces (not glass) and strong stains. Be careful if you use only orange peels as the oil in orange peel is very strong and can be quite abrasive. It is always best to do a spot test.

At first I had hoped that this could be used as a detergent but I want to actually test that recipe before I just send it out there as I am not sure quite how well it will work. This one I have used before and it is tried and test! As soon as I try the detergent mix though I will make sure I report back to you all.

Happy Cleaning!

P.s. This is also a great plastic free cleaning recipe if you are partaking in Plastic Free July. See here to register

Thai Citrus Pumpkin Curry

Vegan – Vegetarian – Gluten Free

Preparation – 20minutes; Cook time – 10minutes
Serves 6

This curry was fresh, delicious and made completely from scratch within half an hour. As I mentioned in my Green Curry Paste recipe, I hate using premade curry pastes or sauces. They rarely taste the same and are often hiding preservatives and/or animal products. So I am super excited that this quick curry sauce is so easy to make! As well as being made from all fresh ingredients this curry has some vegetable super heroes in it. All the orange fruits and veg are full of beta-carotene, minerals (like magnesium and iron) as well as vitamins A, B and C. All in all it is a fragrant curry that was easy to make and I am really chuffed to add it to my repertoire. Give it a go…

Ingredients

Curry Sauce

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red chillies (can use green or 2 teaspoons sambal oelek)
  • 1 can coconut cream (reduced fat is fine)
  • 2½  tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 2½ tablespoons Tamari (or soy if you use it)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Juice of a medium orange (keep the peel to use the zest later on)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/3 red onion, roughly chopped

Curry

  • ½ small Kent pumpkin OR 1 small butternut pumpkin
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 capsicum, sliced (pick your fave colour – I used green)
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • ½ can chickpeas (make sure you rinse!)
  • 2 tablespoon orange zest
  • Brown rice or Quinoa
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH: Basil, coriander, roasted pepitas or nasturtium flowers

Method

Simple Curry Sauce

  • So simple. Place all curry ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Voila!
  • Set aside.
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine.

Curry

  • Put your base on (rice or quinoa)
  • Peel and cube the pumpkin, sweet potato. Save the pumpkin seeds for roasting later if you like! (they take about 30 minutes to roast so you will have to save these for another meal)
  • Slice the carrot and capsicum. Rinse the cherry tomatoes (slice some in half if you like)
  • Put your wok on high heat and add sauce, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot
  • As soon as the sauce starts to boil reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables have softened (took about 10 minutes)
  • Add the capsicum, cherry tomatoes, chick peas and orange zest and stir
  • Simmer for 2 more minutes
  • Taste test and balance the flavours with soy, chilli, sugar or lime. I like my curries quite fragrant so I added an extra squeeze of lime.
  • Serve! I garnished mine with fresh basil leaves from the garden and some pappadums (my husbands’ fave). You could also serve with roasted pepitas, chopped coriander or even a simple vegan sour cream or raita. Try new things each time.

Notes

  • It was an absolutely delicious curry but next time I must admit I will use less root vegetables so it is a bit lighter. I would substitute the sweet potato for broccoli and would probably leave out the cherry tomatoes too. But hey, it’s all down to your preferences.
  • I can see the curry sauce becoming a stalwart in my house. I will in future make it in bulk and then freeze half (for up to 3 months).
  • Grated cauliflower as faux rice works a treat and it quadruples your fibre content!