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Citrus Peel Crafts, Who Knew?

February 5, 2015 5 Comments

These Italians have perfected the art of making containers from citrus peels.  They use bergamot, but I have seen this kind of box made out of an orange peel. The scent remains for a few years after the box is created, making it perfect for tea, or other aromatic products.  The specialty here is a tobacco pouch, which is light and fragrant.  I am crazy about this idea, and am the producer of hundreds of grapefruit peels each year.  I have so many that my compost gets full of citrus and hard to digest.  I hate to waste them, but really do not eat candy.  The candied peels are a treat to some, but require as much work as these containers.  I have looked for a way to use these byproducts of my juicy winter crop, and I think I have found one to try.  Martha Stewart does hers in the oven and keeps them right side out.  I like the whole process the Italians use, but do not want a tobacco pouch as a result.  I tried Martha’s oven method with some lemon peels, but they warped after I thought they were done.  Her method is tedious and it requires the use of the oven.  I live in Arizona where ample sunshine should be able to do this job. I will try a simple shape with a lid, and skip the sand step and building of presses.  If they go free form, like my first attempt, I will need to deal with the fit of top to bottom.  My lemon bowls are all wonky because I took them from the oven after 40 minutes.  If I were in survival mode and had to use them, they might hold something, but they are a failure at a design level.  I plan to try some grapefruit peels this week inside out to see if I can be a peel artist.  These Italian ladies are obvious professionals, shaping it around the form like a pice of clay.  I admire their skill, and aspire someday to make a swanky shape.  Like clay, I need to start with a good cylinder and move on from that.  I have at least 100 grapefruit still on the tree, so there will be plenty with which to experiment. Have you ever seen this done, Gentle Reader?

failed lemon box

failed lemon box

as tiny bowls

as tiny bowls

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