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Cooking influencer demonstrates 'genius' way to extend life of citrus: 'Do not throw them out'

"What a great idea."

"What a great idea."

Photo Credit: Instagram

Citrus fruits are beautiful and diverse. They can be used in a wide variety of recipes, they make a great table centerpiece, and some can just be peeled and eaten as a standalone snack. 

But whatever you use citrus for, sometimes you might end up with more than you know what to do with. And when that's the case, they may go bad and go to waste. 

Fortunately, cooking and coffee influencer Charlotte Smythe (@charlottesmythee) has a hack to help you hold onto your leftover lemons and limes. 

The scoop

"If you have lots of lemons and limes on hand, or if you have some that are going bad," Charlotte says, "do not throw them out." 

She begins by cutting up the fruit, placing the slices on a baking sheet and transferring the sheet into the freezer. Once frozen, she says to transfer the lemons and limes into a Ziploc bag or container, whatever is on hand. 

Then, you can use these frozen citrus slices instead of ice in your water or other drinks. 

When you're done with your beverage, you can put the used lemon and lime slices down your garbage disposal and run it. That will keep it clean and smelling really nice, according to Charlotte. Another option, of course, is to compost

How it's helping 

Using frozen lemons and limes in your drink will not only chill it but also infuse it with delicious citrus flavor and add a fun aesthetic flair. And it can all be accomplished while taking up minimal space in your freezer. 

Additionally, this is a great way to keep your excess fruit from going to waste. 

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According to Feeding America, in the United States, people toss 80 million tons of food each year, or 38% of all the food in the country. That's equal to 149 billion meals.

When we waste food, we also waste all of the energy it takes to grow and produce it, according to World Wildlife Fund. And when that food rots in a landfill, it produces methane, a heat-trapping gas that is even more potent than carbon dioxide. 

In the U.S., wasted food creates the equivalent of 32.6 million cars worth of planet-warming gases. If we stopped wasting food, about 6-8% of human-caused heat-trapping pollution could be eliminated, according to WWF. 

Luckily, there are a plethora of organizations out there that can help us curb food waste. For example, Too Good to Go is an app that delivers surplus goods from restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores to its customers at a super low price. And Misfits Market is an online grocery store that sells foods deemed too "ugly" to be sold mainstream.

What everyone's saying

Back in Charlotte's comments section, Instagram users were ecstatic about this simple way to save citrus fruits from going to waste. 

"What a great idea," one commented. "Doing it this weekend." 

"Best idea ever!" another person wrote. 

"Genius!!" said someone else.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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