How to peel an orange – the quickest, neatest, and easiest way

“At lunchtime I bought a huge orange –
The size of it made us all laugh”

Wendy Cope, The Orange

Wendy Cope’s poem, The Orange (you can read the whole thing here), is about how happiness can be found in the small things of life – a touch, a solution, a sunset, a favourite song…. a moment when one feels glad to be alive. 

Up until now, whenever I’ve needed to peel an orange I’ve always just attacked it, in a random sort of way. But recently I discovered that there is a knack. This way is quick, it’s easy, and it’s neat – the least messy approach. Very satisfying… a second’s bliss….

This is what to do.

If the orange feels a bit hard, try pressing and rolling it a little first – this helps to loosen it up and release the skin. Using a sharp knife, cleanly slice off the bottom of the orange, and then the top, and set it on its, now conveniently flattened bottom.

how to peel an orange
1. Slice across the top and the bottom of the orange.

Make one vertical score, through the peel, from top to bottom. Then you will be able to take off the peel…probably in one piece.

how to peel an orange
2. Make one single vertical cut from the top of the orange to the bottom…the peel will simply lift away.

If you wish to cut off the pith, and/or slice the orange, use a serrated knife to do this, remembering to take out the pips as you do so.

how to peel an orange
If you want to cut off the pith, or slice the orange it’s easier to do this with a serrated knife.

You may also be interested in:

What to listen to while you peel

Final quote

“I dropped a piece of orange peel once, and quick as a flash, Rocky was on it, gobbling it down, and glancing at Ruby in a smug, ‘Ha, too late, sucker!’ kind of way. Once he’d realised it wasn’t something tasty like, I don’t know, ham or a bit of skirting board, his enthusiasm waned somewhat. His chewing slowed and his normal fresh face curdled to a grimace. His lips curled back from his chops, his tongue began working overtime as the citrus bitterness produced inordinate amounts of saliva. As he chewed and dribbled, his eyes watered a little, and he looked miserable, but defiant. Ruby just watched impassively, perhaps with pity and amusement, and as he finally swallowed the last piece, he shuddered a little with relief, then strutted around in triumph.”

Bill Bailey, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness


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