Super Easy Homemade Vitamin C Powder--Plus Many Ways to Use It
This Homemade Vitamin C powder is unbelievably easy to make, is whole food sourced, organic, all natural, and zero waste. In fact, it's basically free! What's not to love?
We have been using vitamin C for years now to help us feel our best, but I have been using more natural vitamin C options recently. As you'll read more below, I think that getting whole food sources for our nutrition can be the best option.
However, whole food vitamin Cs, like many other supplements, can be pricey.
So--what if I told you that you could make your own Organic DIY Whole Food Vitamin C Powder for free.
It's true and here's how to do it.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, making it a great help for your immune system. Antioxidants sweep up free radicals, helping you to feel and look your best.
Making sure you get enough good nutrition is crucial for feeling and looking your best. And Vitamin C is important for so many things that your body does.
It's key for:
- adrenal health (source)
- thyroid function
- energy production
- scavenging free radicals
- and so much more
Why This Powder Is Superior to Other Vitamin C's
There are a variety of forms of vitamin C on the market. Most people tend to take ascorbic acid (also known as l-ascorbic acid ), or sodium ascorbate for their source of vitamin C.
However, these are both synthetic forms and many in the natural arena are concerned about ascorbic acid often being GMO. I discussed the differences between these two in this post with a recipe for a truly nourishing adrenal cocktail.
Many people are turning towards whole food based supplements for various reasons.
One is that our bodies are made to digest whole food and not synthetics so it makes sense that our bodies can use whole food vitamin C better than they can use synthetics. Studies appear to be mixed on this topic, but it does seem that more accurate analysis needs to be done. (source)
Second, the other benefits of the food can work synergistically to give you more benefits and more bioavaialability. Think about it--God didn't just put vitamin C on a tree and say to eat it--He gave us the whole fruit.
Of course there are situations in which one might want to use synthetic vitamin c, (when one can't eat or if one needs an incredibly high dose, or needs intravenous vitamin C) but for all of the reasons above, this natural vitamin C powder is a great choice.
How Much Vitamin C Is In Orange Peels?
We all know that that citrus fruits are known for being a great source of natural Vitamin C. However, did you know that the peels of the orange are where the majority of nutrients are concentrated?
Oranges provide about 71 mg per 100 grams of fruit, whereas 100 grams of orange peel provides about 136 mg of vitamin C. That's nearly double the amount!
So, by eating the peels – pith and all – you take in far more bio-available Vitamin C than you do from just eating the fruit--and you get a lot less sugar too!
Here are the super easy directions for making this vitamin C powder.
Spice Grinder (I personally love this grinder--it works great and is washable, which is a must in my opinion. No thanks to cumin in my vitamin C powder, you know?)
Dehydrator or Oven (Optional. We have and use this dehydrator all the time for soaking and drying nuts and seeds, and for these Green Bean Chips)
Orange Peeler (useful but not necessary)
Organic oranges--that's all!
Select organic oranges that are free of bruises and blemishes.
Wash the fruit VERY thoroughly.
Peel the fruit, retaining as much of the pith as possible on the peel.
Cut the peels into thin strips.
Dry the peels using whatever option you like.
When the peels are completely dry, place in a spice grinder or blender and pulverize into a fine powder.
Store in an air-tight container (a mason jar works great for this) in a cool, dark place for up to three months or in the freezer for up to six months.
Do you really have to use organic oranges for this recipe?
Organic fruit is a MUST for this recipe, since insecticide and pesticide residues are typically applied multiple applications throughout the growing season, and in one study, 95% of samples had pesticides on them. I have read that these chemicals can penetrate into the peel of citrus fruits (and so they cannot be washed off), and while that does make sense, I don't know if that's true or not.
Which method of drying orange peels is best?
I think dehydrating is the best way to dry the peels, since you don't need to turn your own on, and air drying can be very complicated (needing to prevent pests from having access, etc.) and difficult in more humid climates.
Can you use any kind of citrus peel?
Any type of citrus peels will work for this recipe--lemon, lime, and grapefruit or pumelo are all great options.
It's hard to know how much the vitamin C content varies between fruits. Most of the data online states that there is more than 100 mg of vitamin C in every 100 grams of the peel. But it will of course depend on the growing and drying conditions.
How fine should you grind the orange peels?
If you are going to be using the peels for house cleaning, recipes, teas, etc., then don't grind them as finely. It's also best to not generate too much heat when grinding the peels so as to retain as many of the enzymes as possible, especially if you air dried or dehydrated the peels
If you are using the powder for beauty, you will probably want to grind the peels more finely.
How much should you use?
Well, good question. It's a food, however, so it's not like you really could overdose on it in the same way that you could overdose on a medication or supplements, and vitamin C is excreted out easily
It's hard to know what equivalent of a natural vitamin is the same as a synthetic one. It depends on your digestive system and more. I have seen studies stating that the bioavailability is the same, whereas others say that it is not. Sorry, that information isn't easy to sort out.
How much vitamin C is in this powder?
That's really hard to know since most calculations online are about peel without pith, but there's a lot of vitamin C in the pith as well (in addition to other flavanoids).
One tablespoon of zest weighs about 6 grams. So 100 grams of peel will have about 120 mg of vitamin C. That means about 16 tablespoons of zest equals about 120 mg of vitamin C, but since this is dehydrated, that's about 4 tablespoons.
Then it's ground, so the measurement changes again so that will be less than 4 tablespoons--possibly as little as 2 tablespoons.
How to Use
- Add an extra boost of nutrition to smoothies like this keto strawberry smoothie, this cranberry smoothie bowl, or shakes.
- Boost the nutritional value stirring into the batter of recipes like these paleo breakfast cookies, muffins like these oat bran muffins or applesauce bran muffins, or pancakes or waffles like these buckwheat blender waffles.
- Dissolve in water and drink (it won't dissolve but this still works). I personally like adding a dash of a low carb natural sweetener like stevia extract powder, but honey would be great as well.
- Stir into cereals, like oatmeal or this buckwheat granola, or add puddings like this blueberry chi pudding or this berry chia pudding.
- Wherever you normally use vitamin C--this adrenal cocktail or singing canary dry mix is one great option.
- Steeped in hot water lovely orange tea, or added to tea while brewing to add a nice orange flavor.
For Beauty / Skin Care Products
Add these options to your skincare routine and you'll have healthy skin that radiates without breaking the bank.
For a homemade vitamin C serum - combine this powder with some olive oil or sweet almond oil, and some vitamin E oil to make your own vitamin c serum
To make a mask, combine a small amount of vitamin c powder with oats, honey, and water in a small bowl as needed to make a paste and use as a mask. Apply to clean face , let sit for 10 minutes, and then wash off.
For Your Home
This Vitamin C powder is great for making natural house cleaning products. Simply sprinkle into your garbage or garbage disposal as a deodorizer, or use to make a refrigerator or room natural air freshener.
It can also serve as a natural bug and pest deterrent.
Homemade Vitamin C Powder
- spice grinder
- Dehydrator or oven
- orange peeler
- 2 large navel oranges (or any variety with a thick rind)
- Select organic oranges that are free of bruises and blemishes.
- Wash the fruit VERY thoroughly to remove dirt, debris, germs, agricultural sprays, and other possible contaminants.
- Peel the fruit, retaining as much of the pith as possible on the peel.
- Slice peels into thin, equal strips.
- Dry the peels using whatever option you like (see various directions below for options). I prefer the dehydrator.
- The peels are fully dried and ready to grind when they snap and break when bent.
- When the peels are completely dry, place in a spice grinder or blender and pulverize them into a fine powder.
- Store in an air-tight container (a mason jar works great for this) in a cool, dark place for up to three months or in the freezer for up to six months.
- Place peels in a dehydrator at 115ºF for 4-6 hours. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the peel and size of the pieces, humidity level, and of course will change with a different temperature.
- Place peels baking sheet and set in a warm oven set on the lowest temperature available. At approximately 150F, the peels will dry in 1 – 1 1/2 hours, again depending on the thickness and size of the slices. When dry, remove from the oven and let cool.
- Place the peels on one layer on a plate or tray. Dehydrator trays work great for this.
- Let the peels dry for 3-4 days.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
Don't Want to DIY?
If you don't have time, or don't feel like making this Homemade powder right now, here are some whole food vitamin C options that I like.
Perfect Supplements has a superb Acerola Cherry Powder that's loaded with vitamin C. Code WHOLENEWMOM10 gets 10% off.
Love your pages for info and toxic free recipies!! Keep up the good work.
Hi Bonnie--wow thanks so much for the kind words! I am trying to get more info out there--it's been a hard year but your words have really inspired me to keep on going.....Hugs!!
Hello, I’m excited to try! How do you how many mg are in, say, a spoonful?
Hi there - great! It depends on what size spoon and how much you grind it. I put the milligram of vitamin C per gram of peel but then dried it will be more concentrated. About 3-4 times as concentrated. However, I think most measurements online aren't including the pith so I don't know! I guess we'll just have to use it and enjoy it but I did add some more information to the FAQs that can help a bit. Enjoy!
Love this idea!
How do you know how much Vit C is left after heat is applied? Vit C degradation is very susceptible to heat.
You are so welcome! I think if you keep it really low (115 is considered to be raw) then it should be OK. Does that help? I think it's great too ;).
This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing this info.How do you determine the dosage? Is it not as potent as the storebought powder form since it is whole food?
Good question and I agree. There is a lot of varying information on this. I just updated the post with some info in the FAQ section. I did mention in the post that since it's a whole food one would that that the components would work synergistically together. Let me know what you think :).
Thank you for trying to clarify the dosage. Sounds like we'll have to experiment on ourselves to find the correct dose. I'm also thinking some citrus might be more potent than others so potency might vary with each batch?
You are so welcome. Yes, that's the situation and I don't know how one would experiment.....Obviously food sources are great for our bodies and the vitamin C content will depend on the growing conditions and even the drying conditions. If someone forgets and dries at too high of a temperature, then it likely won't be as potent. But I would think if one has decent digestion, and sources well, this should be a great option.
Hope that helps!