The Solskin kitchenware set The Solskin kitchenware set The Solskin kitchenware set (Photo: Oded Antman)

A fruity twist on kitchenware

You can drink it, eat it ... and eat from it?

An orange is a useful fruit. You can peel it and eat it, add it to a variety of dishes (Jell-O mold with orange slices, anyone?), and extract a juice from it that has become a staple of breakfasts throughout the world. But being eaten isn’t the only pleasure it provides. You can also eat from it. Just ask Ori Sonnenschein.

As part of his final project at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, a couple of years ago the Israeli created an ingeniously simple and environmentally friendly line of kitchen utensils, from a cup, spoon and plate, to a salt shaker, bottle and bowl – all using the rinds of citrus fruits such as the orange (he also uses those of red grapefruit and pomelo).

Solskin cupsSolskin cups (Photo: Oded Antman)

"Basically it's just drying the peel in a way in which it doesn't get any mold, and sculpting it before it's finished drying," Sonnenschein told From the Grapevine. Then Sonnenschein applies a layer of shellac to make it waterproof and to add an extra layer of shine.

According to Sonnenschein, the drying process removes risk of rot, and the sets he created five years ago, when he was finishing up his undergraduate degree, have maintained their integrity.

An added benefit is that the kitchenware is biodegradable, so the rind is being used without creating added waste. There are no additives, no glue, no epoxies – it's all just organic matter.

The Solskin spoon and plateThe Solskin spoon and plate (Photo: Nir Sonnenschein)

"I’ve been interested and concerned about the environment since I could remember, and since I also like creating things, it seemed like a natural connection," he said of his inspiration for the project, which he calls Solskinpeels.

Sonnenschein experimented with several citrus fruits – tangerines, grapefruits – and branched out to pomegranate and watermelon before deciding the rind of the orange, red grapefruit and pomelo provided the right mix of size and texture.

It also made sense because it was very affordable; Israel has a large citrus industry, which means lots of leftover rinds.

"People don’t usually use the orange rind, for example. I spoke to juice companies in Israel who said they either throw it away or feed it to cows, and it’s not really even the best food to feed to cows anyway."

Solskin flashlight Solskin flashlight (Photo: Oded Antman)

Sonnenschein has experimented with other uses for the rinds – which, after the drying process, are left with a texture he describes as a mix between ceramic and leather.

After briefly selling his wares commercially, Sonnenschein says he is no longer distributing, but he will be taking and fulfilling small orders in the near future. 

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