The peels I just got in are chopped and very hard. I ground it up and put into my soap, could I have put it in warm water and drain and use it that way? My concern is, would it turn hard once the soap dries? I don't want to tear anyone's skin off.
From my experience with botanicals in soap, once the soap has cured, the botanicals will have pretty much the same coarse texture they did before you added them to the soap. Although the warm, damp mixture will soften them and may cause a little bleeding while the soap cures. I think if you soaked them in warm water it would increase your drying time and make the bar look strange as the soap absorbs the water from the botanical. One of my first bars I added some kind of damp green botanical (can't recall it's been a while) and it really ended up looking gross and took forever to cure.
Some people love rough soap!! Some really do not. I guess it depends on what you are making it for. Soaps for the hands like a gardener's bar are soaps that I like to have a rough scrubbing texture.
I used ground orange peel in my last soap and it turned the soap orange. It was not horrible but I don't know if I would do it again. I am one that like a little roughness in my soap. I loved the peppermint that I put poppy seeds in. It made the soap speckled and is gave it some exfoliating power...it is a good soap to wake up to in the morning.