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According to the UK’s foremost authority on food waste, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), fruit and vegetable peelings come under the banner of ‘truly unavoidable waste’.

This category accounts for 1.3 million tonnes of waste every year, or nearly 20% of all food waste. While it may sometimes be the case, throwing away fruit and veg peels isn’t always ‘truly unavoidable’. Many fruit and vegetable peels are perfectly edible with the right mindset and handling – including orange rind.

The Best of British Spreads

Orange rind may not seem like the most obvious candidate for an edible peel. Unlike apple peel, a paper-thin membrane that snaps easily under the teeth, orange rind is thick and tough. Below the fragrant zest is a layer of bitter pith. However, our forebears knew better than to waste a single morsel of precious, exotic orange. Orange rind became the primary ingredient in that most British of breakfast spreads: marmalade.

When subjected to heat and acidity, orange rind breaks down to release pectin, a key ingredient in jams and jellies. Pectin is what makes the marmalade set as it cools, transforming hot orange soup into a sturdy, spreadable treat.

Marmalade should be a reminder for us all to think twice about the things we throw away; sometimes a little imagination and perseverance is all it takes. To make use of your own orange rinds, try the venerable Shirley Goode’s recipe for ‘Miser’s Marmalade’.

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