If you’ve been following my travel hack series, you may remember in a previous post: Gone in 30 Seconds with a Bug Out Bag, I recommended including olive oil as an essential part of your 72 hour bag. Olive oil has a litany of benefits: it’s healthier, it’s safer (lower flashpoint from regular oil), it can moisturize, condition and even lubricate. Recently, I stumbled upon another ingenious use for olive oil that I thought would make an incredibly practical travel/emergency hack. From a survival frame of mind, the oil can also be combined with an orange peel to craft together your own on-the-spot homemade oil candle; That’s right, an orange peel candle. Although it’s possible to use the peel of other fruits, like an avocado, an orange is particularly more suited, as the stem, which you’ll see below, can be conveniently used as a wick.
Of course, some of you may wonder, why go through the trouble of making an orange peel candle when you can just bring an oil candle or even a solar powered charging device? Well, in the event of a survival emergency, where neither solar energy nor candles are readily available, improvising a candle from orange may be all you have. Survival welcomes the prepared – always have a back up plan.
The DIY orange olive oil candle is surprisingly easy to do. You need only 4 components that are readily available in most outdoor kits and it has a fairly long burn time.
How To Make an Orange Peel Oil Candle
3. Olive oil
1. Cut into the orange peel, along the middle and around the entire circumference. Go only so far as the pith, or up until where the flesh of the fruit begins.
3. Once you get near the bottom, and most of the peel has been separated from the pith, slowly, and carefully pull the peel away from the orange, ensuring the stem is still attached to the peel. Very important to keep the stem attached, as this will be used as your wick. You’ll find this step, as well as step 2 easier using a “dry” orange rather than a ripe orange, which makes the separation a bit more difficult. However, don’t be too concerned if bits of orange still remain. You can always carefully clean the peel afterwards. The most important part of this step, is to ensure the peel and the stem remains intact without punctures or tears.
4. Once you have the two halves of the peel separated with the stem still attached, fill each half with Olive oil until only a portion of the stem remains exposed above the oil. Do not submerge the stem (You can pour some oil on the stem itself, but don’t drench it, as it can make it extremely difficult to light)
5. Wait about 3-5 minutes for the capillary action to drag the olive oil up the stem
6. Take the lighter and hold the flame to the exposed portion of the stem. This step is probably the most difficult and sometimes frustrating. In particularly juicier oranges, or if you saturated the stem with olive oil, the wick may still be wet and resist lighting. At this point, it’s just a matter of patience and “drying” it with the flame. Cool off your lighter periodically to avoid “lighter burns.” It may take a few tries, but it will light.
7. Voila you have a DIY orange peel candle!
Trick or Treat
As a bonus, and just in time for Halloween, you can also carve a cool design into the top half and create yourself a cool jack-o-lantern oil candle. Word of warning though, the candle will burn through the top, so design with an opening to allow the heat and the flames to escape.
Lastly, always monitor the candle, and do not leave it unattended. You can keep adding more oil to extend burn time, but once the oil reservoir has been exhausted the peel will burn.
Have fun, and happy Halloween!
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