Did you know the oils in citrus fruit peels are quite flammable?
Here’s a cool experiment to try by pinching a tangerine to a lighter. The oils will cause the flame to burst!
When The Flavor Guy was fours year old, his uncle showed him this neat experiment. From then on, this has been the spark that started his career as a flavor chemist. This beautiful flame really got him excited about flavor chemistry. From there, Nature’s Flavors ignited.
But what’s actually going on here?
Citrus fruit peels contain a chemical called limonene [leh-mo-neen]. In fact, oranges contain higher amounts of limonene than other citrus fruits! These fruits produce this oil in their peels as a natural defense against birds and insects. Because of this, its commonly used as a pesticide. Limonene has been linked to several health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Basically, the natural oils in the peels are flammable because of the high amounts of limonene. But don’t worry, they’re not harmful or dangerous.