The orange peel candle: A how-to guide

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I was shopping online for a candle the other day and quickly realized this: candles have gotten very expensive! Soy candles, aromatherapy candles, eco-friendly candles in fancy jars. If only there was a way to create some nice romantic lighting without breaking the bank.

But wait – there is! Introducing the orange peel candle: the solution to expensive candle-buying syndrome. And it’s a guaranteed prize for getting your daily dose of vitamin C from its citrusy contents.

Naturally providing the candle holder from the peel and the wick from the pith, all you need is a little oil and voila – you’ll have yourself a candle in no time!

Try the fun and easy process for yourself by following along:

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1.  First, slice your orange in half. That’s the half with the knobby part on the outside – the one I’m holding in my right hand, in the picture. The pith coming from that knob is stronger and will make for a better wick.

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2. Remove the fruit, being careful to leave the thick string of pith that extends up from the center intact. I used a spoon to make a nice clean shave inside the orange peel towards the end of this step.

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3. Fill the orange peel with oil of your choice. Here in my kitchen in Greece, where I’m currently living for work, I had only sunflower oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Deciding to save the latter for eating, I went with the sunflower oil. Do not drown the string of pith that extends upward – remember, this is your wick!

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4. Light it up! (Optional soundtrack: “Light It Up” by Major Lazer, followed by “(Burn Baby Burn) Disco Inferno” by The Trammps) It took a while for the pith to catch fire; I felt as if I was toasting a marshmallow, watching in eager anticipation. Just be patient, and it will light. Good things come to those who wait!

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5. Optional: Create candle covers by cutting shapes into the as-of-yet unused orange peel halves. I chose a crescent moon and a star.

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6. Especially optional: Place your candle in a bowl that’s filled with water. Marvel as it floats around, and place a freshly picked flower in the water. You can customize your add-ins; choose your favorite leaf or flower to add an herbal or floral note to the orange scent from the peel. And then – because why not – take a selfie.

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A word of caution: I left my orange peel candle out for a couple nights, and when I checked back, I saw that hundreds of fruit flies had come to feast. Most had died in their gluttony, floating in the oil inside the orange peel, but many were lingering above it. So I’d suggest refrigerating your orange peel candles after their first use, if you plan to reuse them later.

What do you do when life hands you oranges? Why, make orange peel candles, of course! If you have grapefruits or lemons, you can also make candles from their peels using this how-to guide.

Featured photo from PinStripeySocks craft blog. All other photos taken by me.

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