Peeling an orange, or any other form of citrus fruit, is relatively easy, but there are a few tricks which can make the process simpler. Once you master the basic art of orange peeling, you can also learn how to peel an orange without handling it, which can help reduce the spread of food-borne illness if you are preparing orange slices for someone else.
- Select a good orange. Flavorful, juicy oranges feel heavy for their size. There should be no especially soft spots on the orange, or signs of discoloration on the rind. Oranges with thick skins tend to be easier to peel. Color isn't always an indicator of ripeness; many delicious winter oranges are green, not orange!
- To peel an orange by hand, use a knife to make a small slit in the rind, near the stem of the orange. Wedge your finger into the slit, and gently pull away to separate the peel from the flesh of the orange. You may find it easier to peel an orange if you make several starter slits to help pull the rind away from the flesh of the orange.
- To peel an orange with a knife, start by inserting the knife into one end of the orange, and angling it so that it slides between the rind and the flesh of the orange. Gently rotate the orange while pulling the knife against it to pull the rind off in a spiral. Curved knives like oyster knives are perfect for this method. If you have an especially stubborn orange, use the knife to slash strips into the rind, and peel the strips off one at a time.
- If you feel like some fancy orange tricks, you can try cutting shapes into your orange peel, like the outline of a person or animal, and then gently lift the shapes out with your knife. Once the shapes are dry, you can toss them on a diffuser or a woodstove to release their orange oil, adding a nice scent to the room. For extra points, jam a few whole cloves into your orange shapes before they dry out, and use them as potpourri.
Using one of the techniques above, you should be able to peel an orange with ease, which will reduce bruising of the orange as well as mess in your kitchen. After an orange is peeled, you can use a paring knife to gently remove the strings of membrane that may lie across the orange slices before you section the orange.
s.e. smith is a connoisseur of literature, adventures, and fine food who loves sharing knowledge with others and putting her otherwise marginally useful liberal arts degree to good use.