I love candles. I try to be eco-friendly, watch my budget, and don’t like the artificial scents of available candles. Molds, materials, dyes are all expensive and messy, and take practice. But, you have all of the makings for a green, easy candle right in your very own kitchen. You don’t need wax or soy, wicks or expensive dyes and perfumes to deodorize and impresses your friends and neighbors.
First, you should gather your ingredients:
1 piece of citrus fruit: clementine, tangerine, orange, grapefruit or pomelo.
citrus peeler or paring knife
Olive oil (or grape seed, vegetable, canola)
1 jar lid, tea light cup (I used a large scallop shell)
First, take the fruit and roll it on the counter. Rolling citrus will release some of the oils in the skin and make it easier to peel. Once you have rolled the fruit back and forth a few times, set the fruit stem side down onto the counter. You should be looking at the little dimple. I then make an X cut through the dimple, just cutting the peel. Then with the fruit on the side, make one continual cut, as if you were slicing the fruit in half, cutting only the peel.
You have a finished product that looks much like this. Be careful not to remove the stringy center pith. Then, what I did was simply work the fruit segments away from the peel, being careful not to tear the peel or lift the center pith from where it is attached to the stem. If you are skilled with a knife, you can cut the segments away: rolling the fruit before peeling does make the job much easier.
You will have an empty shell, with a pith “wick” attached to the bottom. Trim that wick to ½ inch or so from the top edge of your shell. Then, put a few drops of oil into the shell and rub it around: being sure to coat the wick and inside the peel cup. Then fill with oil, and place onto your lid. The lid should hold the peel cup stable and upright, not conduct heat, and not be near flammable objects.
You can then light the wick – and you have a petroleum free, deodorizing candle.
Now, I did this with a clementine. It burned for a full 6 hours without issue. I expect an orange would burn for 8, while the grapefruit or pomelo would last perhaps 12 – 15 hours.
Why use citrus? What else are you planning to do with the peel? Citrus oils, contained in peels add a fresh scent to the air, while the pith (the white stuff) is an amazing odor absorber. The recipe calls for olive oil I substituted grape seed. You could use vegetable or canola oil as well, but I would be careful about using walnut oil because of the scent.
When your candle is done burning, you can compost the peel OR if you have a garbage disposal – you can use the peel in that to freshen and with 3 or 5 ice cubes it will freshen and clear off the blades.