What does dryer lint, a box of clementines, and a jug of white vinegar all have in common? – A healthy way to remind us how to enjoy the gifts of winter.
When the clementines start arriving at the grocery store around mid-November, our hibernation begins. We stop hanging our clothes out on the line, we spend less time outside, and we only dream of summer campfires and fresh air. But winter is a wonderful time to enjoy the freshness of the season. Clementines, available from mid-November to the end of January, are like sunshine on your counter. When they start to dry up, squeeze their juices into an ice cube tray and save them for a recipe that calls for freshly squeezed orange juice. (See What’s In Season for more on Clementines.)
Here’s where the vinegar comes in. Find the largest glass jar you have and fill it halfway with white vinegar. Place the jar beside a window if you can and close to the box of clementines. (The light from the window will shine through the bottle and brighten up your kitchen.)
As your family eats the clementines, throw the peels in the jar. Pack in as many as you can and when it can take no more, top up the jar with more vinegar and seal it tight. After 6 weeks, fill an empty spray bottle halfway with the clementine peel solution and the rest with water (1:1). You have just made a perfect cleaner and disinfectant for your home. The house will smell like orange and those hibernating winter germs will be short-lived. The remaining vinegar solution can stay in the jar with the peels until you need a top-up of cleaning solution.
As for the dryer lint and leftover wooden box, these make excellent fire starters for your fireplace. Instead of throwing the dryer lint in the garbage, keep it sealed in a container. When you have a snowy weekend and want to put on a fire, take the clementine box with the dryer lint lining the bottom and put a match to the lint. This makes an excellent tinderbox and a great way to use up excess packaging.