From polar vortexes to “snow” days (which in Austin means very cold with partly blue sky), what better excuse to stay warm inside, get crafty and tap into your inner pioneer? The bright colors of citrus overflowing the produce aisles are a great break from all the gray skies. So grab your favorites, classic clementines to the funky tangelos, and while you snack, make yourself some lovely “upcycled” candles! Here is how…

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First, round up those supplies. You’ll need citrus, of course, of any kind. The clementines were easiest to peel, but it can be done with the larger fruits too. You’re also going to want to grab some oil. I chose grape seed because of the clean scent, and I’m a little stingy with my fancy olive oil. You’ll also need a knife, especially if you’re trying it out with the larger, harder to peel, fruits. Finally, a match, candle, or lighter to strike up your new candle.

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Start off by cutting or peeling your fruit from the bottom! It took a try to two to figure it out, but it’s very important to peel or cut from the end opposite to where the stem would attach. The pith, which is the “wick” of your candle, is secured to the top, and you’ll want to keep as much as possible intact.

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I tried out both cutting and peeling, and I preferred the rustic look of hand-peeling the rind, but use a knife if you like the clean lines. You’ll want to remove anywhere from a third to a half of the rind.

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This next part can be a little tricky, but oh so delicious! Remove the fruit, while trying to leave as much of the center pith attached as you can. It’s okay if it takes you a try or two, snack on that citrus, and try it again!

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This is when you’ll add a tablespoon or two of your oil. Again, any kind of oil will do. Try out different kinds or even add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils to change up the scent.

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Make sure the pith “wick” is completely soaked through. It took a match or two for me to figure out this little tip.
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I tried adding a tad more oil, so only a teensy-bit of the pith was peeking out above the surface. I also switched to using a candle to light, because my little guy was being stubborn..

Let there be light!

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There you have it! The loveliest, and tastiest, most aromatic little candle! And the best part? It lasts for hours.

So if you’re looking for a way to escape the winter blues and blistering cold, make your own bright and sunny citrus candle. It’s the modern pioneering thing to do.

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