5 things you can do with your leftover Mandarin oranges now that CNY visiting is (largely) done

That raindrop cake sounds good.

By Zhangxin Zheng | January 31, 2017

As we leave the Chinese New Year long weekend behind, many households (which celebrated Chinese New Year) are likely to find themselves saddled with baskets full of oranges, either purchased or received from visitors.

In case you’ve eaten as many oranges as you can stomach and still have more left, here are five things you can do with them instead of throwing them away:

1. Make a salad (via)

If you’re the visual sort:


2 Cups Salad Greens
2 Mandarin oranges – peeled, pips removed and broken into segments
1/2 Avocado
2 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds
Onions – spring or red, finely chopped (optional)
Dressing – your dressing of choice (optional)
Orange – squeeze over half an orange for an additional citrus hit


1. Place the greens as a bed in a large salad bowl.
2. Top with mandarin segments and avocado.
3. Sprinkle over the almonds.
4. Toss to combine and serve.

2. Use the skin to make dried orange peel (陳皮) (via)

Image by and courtesy of kattebelletje
Photo from flickr user kattebelletje


1kg Mandarin oranges


1. Clean oranges thoroughly and pat dry. Use a knife to run around from top almost to the bottom and then peel open.

2. Place the peels under the direct sun for about 3 days or more, until dried thoroughly, and become shatteringly crisp. Turn to another side once in a while during the sun-drying process. If you’re living in an area without much direct sun, you can place the peels in a low oven to dehydrate them.

3. Store them in an air-tight jar or container. Place in a cool place. After one or two years, the peel will turn dark. You can use it to make any dish you like. The longer the mandarin peel is kept, the more fragrant it will develop.

*A note on using peels: Try to use organic fruits if you’re concerned about the build-up of pesticide or fungicide residue on them. Alternatively, soak the peels in salted water. Brushing a bit of baking soda on the peels before cleaning them will work as well.

3. Make some orange jam (via)

Picture from Jo the tart queen
Picture from Jo the tart queen


7 Medium mandarin oranges (each weighing about 100-120g)
Juice from 2 whole lemons
750g Caster sugar (Sugar needs to be about 60 -65% in concentration to form a gel)
300g Water
Optional: 200g dried apricots, sliced (for luck)


1. Scrub the skins of the oranges well. Peel off the skin and using a paring knife, remove the pith(white parts) from the zest. Discard the pith and slice the zest into thin strips.

2. Fill a small pot with tap water just enough to cover the orange zest. Bring the water to a boil, and pour it away, draining the orange zest with a colander. Repeat this process three times. This is to remove the bitterness that the zest contains.

3. Chop up the flesh of the mandarin oranges into 1 inch pieces and remove the seeds.

4. Add the prepared zest, flesh of the mandarin oranges, lemon juice, sugar, water, dried apricots to a pot and bring to a rapid boil under medium heat, stirring occasionally.

5. Turn it down to a medium-low heat and continue to cook the jam until it thickens and gels. I cooked it to about 104°C. The gelling point for jams is about 103 – 105°C.

6. Pour your hot jam into hot sterilised glass or mason jars and seal while still hot. Store the jams in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate once opened.

*To sterilise the glass jar, wash the jar and lid with hot water and soap. Rinse well and place the jar in a preheated oven at 160°C for 15- 20 minutes or until dry.

*You can test if your marmalade is set by spooning a dollop of it onto a cold plate that has been chilled in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Leave it for a minute or so before using your finger to run through the dollop of marmalade. It should wrinkle and not flood back onto itself.

4. Make an orange raindrop cake (via)

If you’re the visual sort:


Baking soda
Agar powder
Mandarin oranges


How to peel the rind of any citrus fruits:

1. Boil water in a pot.
2. Add the mandarin oranges.
3. Turn off the stove, and put a lid on the pot for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the fruit and put it into cold water.
5. When the mandarin oranges are cool enough to touch, peel them from the top towards the bottom.

How to peel the white pith of a mandarin orange:

1. Boil water in a pot. (1L this time)
2. Add 1 teaspoon (7g) of baking soda for 1L of water.
3. Put the peeled mandarin oranges into the pot.
4. When the skin dissolves, remove the fruit and put it into cold water. If you boil it too much, the segments will come apart, so be careful.
5. Submerge the mandarin oranges in cold water for 10 minutes.
6. Rinse with water.

How to make the jelly:

1. Add 5g of agar (This homemade cake recipe uses agar, a jelly ingredient that comes from seaweed) into a pot.
2. Add 30g of sugar, and mix well.
3. Slowly add 250ml of water while mixing.
4. After it is all dissolved, apply heat.
5. When it comes to a rapid boil, turn off the heat.
6. Place a peeled mandarin orange into a mold
7. Pour the mixture into the mold with mandarin orange in it.
8. Let cool in the refrigerator. it will get hard after about 30 minutes, but it is more delicious if it is completely chilled.

5. Try your hand at this mandarin orange pretzel dessert (via)

If you’re the visual sort:


How to make the crust:
2 Cups crushed pretzels
3 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted

How to make the filling:
8 Ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Cup granulated sugar
8 Ounces whipped topping, thawed

How to make the topping:
1 Box (3 ounce) orange gelatin
1 Cup boiling water
1 Cup cold water
1 Can Mandarin Oranges/ 283g of peeled mandarin oranges (refer to the #4 recipe’s tips)


1. Preheat oven to 350°C. Coat a medium- large baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the pretzels, sugar, and butter. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

3. Bake for 15 mins, or until mixture is lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a handheld mixer. Fold in the whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Spread evenly over the cooled pretzel layer, making sure it goes completely to the edges. Refrigerate until set, about 30-40 mins.

5. In another medium bowl, whisk together the orange gelatin powder with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until completely dissolved. Then whisk in 1 cup of cold water. Gently mix in the mandarin orange slices.

6. Pour mixture over the cooled cream cheese layer.

7. Refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 3 hours. Slice and serve!

Top photo collage from various sources, as credited above

Related articles:

A totally unscientific take on your career prospects according to your favourite CNY snack

8 unconventional ways to make your ang pow money work for you this CNY

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About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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