Vitamin C In Orange Peel

Discover a surprising nutritious powerhouse lurking in your pantry: orange peels. 

You might be surprised to hear that these frequently disregarded citrus scraps are a rich source of vitamin C, providing a tasty and natural boost to your health. 

If you are concerned about your vitamin C intake and its impact on your health, or if you are looking for a simple and cost-effective way to increase your vitamin C intake, then this article is for you. 

This article will explore how to boost vitamin C levels easily and affordably.


Importance of vitamin C

Our general health depends heavily on vitamin C. As our bodies are unable to synthesise it on it's own, we must get it through our diets, making it an essential nutrient. 

Our ability to fight off diseases and infections is largely dependent on vitamin C. Additionally, it promotes the synthesis of collagen, a protein that maintains the health of our skin, bones, and blood vessels. 

A further benefit of vitamin C is that it improves the absorption of iron from plant-based diets, which is crucial for avoiding iron deficiency illnesses, such as anaemia.1

Sources of vitamin C

The natural environment is full of available vitamin C-containing foods.

Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are among the most popular sources. These fruits are praised for their refreshing flavour and high vitamin C content. Strawberries, kiwi, guava, and tomatoes are other fruits that are rich sources of this crucial component. 

Beyond fruits, excellent sources of vitamin C include vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.2

Focus on vitamin C in orange peels

When considering orange peels as a source of vitamin C, it is essential that we recognize that they contain substantial amounts of this crucial nutrient, making them a surprisingly rich reservoir of this vital vitamin.3

While the juicy, vibrant interior of oranges often takes the spotlight, the peel is frequently disregarded. Yet, it holds a significant concentration of vitamin C, providing an accessible and natural means to enhance your intake of this essential nutrient. 

This lesser-known source presents a simple way to bolster your dietary vitamin C and support overall health and well-being. 

What is vitamin C?

Definition, characteristics, and role

Vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble essential vitamin that is needed for many physiological functions in the human body. 

It is distinguished by the following essential characteristics:

  1. Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that it dissolves in water and is not retained by the body for a long period of time. Therefore, regular nutritional intake is crucial as the excess is eliminated through urine.4
  2. The strong antioxidant property of vitamin C is one of its most recognised features. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that can destroy cells and accelerate ageing and disease. Vitamin C helps shield body cells from the damage brought on by these unstable molecules.5
  3. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen formation, a process that keeps blood vessels, bones, skin, and cartilage healthy. The connective tissue, collagen, is a structural protein that is essential for preserving the structural integrity of these tissues. Additionally, vitamin C promotes dermal fibroblast proliferation, which is crucial for wound healing.6
  4. Immune System Support: The immune system performs better when vitamin C is consumed. It enhances the efficiency of white blood cells and may strengthen the body's defence against infections and diseases, such as the common cold.1
  5. Iron Absorption: Non-heme iron, the kind of iron included in plant-based meals, is better absorbed when vitamin C is present. This is crucial in order to avoid iron deficiency anaemia.

Recommended daily intake

The daily vitamin C recommendation varies according to age, gender, and life stage. 

Table displaying the Vitamin C recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) in mg.7

0-6 months4040  
7-12 months5050  
1-3 years1515  
4-8 years2525  
9-13 years4545  
14-18 years756580115
19+ years907585120

It is important to note that smokers require 35mg more vitamin C daily than non-smokers. This is due in part to increased oxidative stress, where studies repeatedly demonstrate that smokers have lower plasma and leukocyte vitamin C levels than non-smokers.7 

Nutritional content of orange Peels

Overview of orange Peels

Orange peels are characterised by their thin exterior and mildly bitter taste, distinct from the sweet flesh of the fruit. They represent a valuable addition to your culinary toolkit due to their rich content of essential elements, including dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. 

Gaining insight into the nutritional richness of orange peels can encourage better consumption of this vibrant fruit while minimising food waste. 

Vitamin C content in orange peels

The amount of vitamin C in orange peels varies based on a number of factors, including the variety and ripeness of the orange.

Nevertheless, the Food Data Central of the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that per 100g of raw orange peel, there is 136 mg of vitamin C.8 

Considering that orange peel represents approximately 30-40 grams per 100 grams of the fresh fruit weight, this means that in an average-sized orange, the content of vitamin C from the peel alone can be estimated to be around 41 to 55 milligrams.9 

Comparison with other food sources

Orange peels are a good source of vitamin C, but it is important to understand how they compare to other popular sources of this nutrient. Here is a quick comparison:

  • Citrus fruits (flesh): While orange peels contain vitamin C, the flesh of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits has more of this nutrient. A medium-sized orange (around 100 g of flesh) provides about 59 milligrams of vitamin C on average.10
  • Bell peppers: Red, yellow, and green bell peppers are high in vitamin C. A medium-sized red bell pepper (100g), for example, contains 142 milligraes of vitamin C.11
  • Broccoli: A 100g serving of raw broccoli may contain 91.3 milligrams of vitamin C.12
  • Supplements: Vitamin C supplements come in a variety of formats and provide a concentrated dose of this mineral. 

How to incorporate orange peels into your diet

Safe preparation 

Orange peels can be an appealing and nutritious addition to your diet, but it is critical to make sure to safely prepare and ingest them to maximise their advantages. 

Here are some tips and tricks for eating orange peels safely:

  1. Wash the fruit: Before using orange peels, properly wash them under running water to eliminate any dirt, pesticides, or pollutants. For a cleaner peel, use organic oranges or ones expressly labelled as pesticide-free.
  2. Use organic oranges: When feasible, choose organic oranges as they are less likely to have pesticide residues on the peel. According to research, organically grown goods may have higher levels of vitamin C.13
  3. Remove the bitterness: Orange peels, particularly the white pithy section, can be bitter. Blanching, a process that involves boiling the peels in water for a few minutes, will help to decrease the bitterness. Then, before using, drain and rinse them.

Culinary uses and consumption

  • Grate or zest: Orange zest, the finely grated outermost layer of the peel, is a popular technique to add orange flavour to recipes. To extract the zest, use a fine grater or a zester, which may then be added to foods like salads, baked products, or marinades
  • Dried Orange Peel: Another method is to dry the peels of oranges by slicing them into thin strips and putting them to air dry. They can then be used in teas or crushed into a powder for seasoning once dried.14
  • Cooking and baking: Add grated or finely diced orange peel to stir-fry sauces, baked goods, or desserts to flavour them with a zesty aroma and flavour.

Recipes and ideas

Explore the versatility of orange peels with a collection of recipes and inventive suggestions to make the most of it in your culinary adventures:

  • Citrus infused water: To make a delicious and mildly flavoured beverage, add thin strips of orange peel to your water. For an even better infusion, blend orange peels with other citrus fruits or herbs such as mint.15
  • Candied orange peel: To make candied orange peel, boil strips of orange peel in a syrup of sugar until soft and delicious. These caramelised peels can be utilised as a garnish for desserts, buried in chocolate, or eaten on their own as a sweet treat.16
  • Orange peel jam: Make a unique and zesty jam by boiling orange peels with water and sugar until softened and transformed into a tasty spread for toast or pastry.17

This list serves as a starting point for the many culinary possibilities with orange peels. Other creative ideas to explore include crafting orange-flavoured tea, infusing oil with the essence of orange, and baking a delectable whole orange cake.18

Potential concerns and precautions

Allergies and sensitivities

While most people are safe to eat orange peels, it is vital to be aware of any allergies and sensitivities. Some people are allergic to citrus fruits, especially oranges, which can cause itching, hives, gastrointestinal distress, or more serious responses.19

If you suspect or have a known citrus allergy, avoid eating orange peels and consult with your doctor.

Pesticide residues

Pesticide residues may be present in standard orange peels. Choose organic oranges to reduce your exposure, considering they are less likely to have residues of pesticides on the peel. Thoroughly washing the peels might also help prevent pesticide residues.20

Moderation in consumption

While orange peels have nutritional benefits, their flavour can be intense and may not be ideal for many culinary styles.

Excessive eating of orange peel may also cause intestinal pain or inflammation.21

To avoid overconsumption, consume orange peels in moderation and add them to your diet cautiously.


  • Orange peels, often underestimated, are a valuable source of nutrients, specifically vitamin C, the powerhouse behind immune support and youthful skin
  • Safely prepare and consume orange peels by washing them, using organic oranges when possible, and reducing bitterness through blanching. 
  • Embrace the culinary possibilities of orange peels by experimenting with recipes that contain orange zest and candied peel to bring out their distinct flavours and scents.
  • While orange peels have nutritional benefits, remember to maintain a balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables to support general health while you incorporate orange peels into your meals.


  1. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin c and immune function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11): 1211.
  2. Devaki SJ, Raveendran RL. Vitamin c: sources, functions, sensing and analysis. In: Vitamin C. IntechOpen; 2017. [Accessed 27th September 2023].
  3. Hassan FA, Elkassas N, Salim I, El-Medany S, Aboelenin SM, Shukry M, et al. Impacts of dietary supplementations of orange peel and tomato pomace extracts as natural sources for ascorbic acid on growth performance, carcass characteristics, plasma biochemicals and antioxidant status of growing rabbits. Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI. 2021;11(6): 1688.
  4. Lykstad J, Sharma S. Biochemistry, water soluble vitamins. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  5. Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of vitamin c in skin health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8): 866.
  6. Bechara N, Flood VM, Gunton JE. A systematic review on the role of vitamin c in tissue healing. Antioxidants. 2022;11(8): 1605.
  7. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin c, vitamin e, selenium, and carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press; 2000. [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  8. Fooddata central.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  9. Manjarres-Pinzon K, Cortes-Rodriguez M, Rodríguez-Sandoval E. Effect of drying conditions on the physical properties of impregnated orange peel. Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering. 2013;30: 667–676.
  10. Fooddata central.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  11.  Fooddata central. [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  12. Fooddata central.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  13. Eyinade GA, Mushunje A, Yusuf SFG. The willingness to consume organic food: A review. Food and Agricultural Immunology. 2021;32(1): 78–104.
  14. EW. Dried orange peels. This Healthy Table. 2020.  [Accessed 28th September 2023]. 
  15. Gilmore M. Orange infused water. Detoxinista.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  16. Candied orange peel. BBC Good Food.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  17. Ultimate Seville orange marmalade. BBC Good Food.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  18. Orange recipes. BBC Good Food.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  19. Allergy to fruit. Anaphylaxis UK.  [Accessed 28th September 2023].
  20. Bajwa U, Sandhu KS. Effect of handling and processing on pesticide residues in food- a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2014;51(2): 201–220.
  21. Symptoms & causes of indigestion - niddk. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  [Accessed 28th September 2023]
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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