Don’t Toss Those Peelings!

Wait! Don't toss fruit and vegetable peels to the compost bin just yet! Learn how to get the most from your produce!

Getting more bang for your food budget is an enticing idea, right? Well, guess what? Don’t throw away those peels! Many fruits and vegetables have edible peels that are not only packed with fiber and nutrients but also have numerous benefits in and around your home!

Don’t Toss These Peels!


Apple peelings can be put to good use instead of being thrown away. If you are peeling apples for a pie or have picky eaters who don’t like the chewy peels, blend the peels and store them in the freezer. They can be added to oatmeal while cooking, along with some cinnamon, or tossed into a smoothie to add apple flavor and fiber. Another option is to make your own apple vinegar!

If you don’t want to consume the apple peelings, they can be used to clean aluminum pots and pans. Simply simmer the peels in a few inches of water for half an hour. The acid in the peels will help break down grease stains and restore the shine of the pan. Afterward, discard the peels and wash the pot as usual.

Potato peelings: Don’t throw the skins away when you peel potatoes. Instead, rinse the peels and pat them dry with paper towels. Then place them on a greased cookie sheet and drizzle generously with cooking oil. Sprinkle with seasonings and bake at 350º F. until they are crispy, homemade “chips.”

Banana peels: Banana peels may encourage healing. Rub the inside of banana peels onto psoriasis-affected areas of skin or acne. There may be some redness at first, but in a few days you may see healing. Banana peels can also be used in this way to stop the itching and reduce inflammation caused by poison ivy. Some people claim banana peels shrink warts too!

Lemon peel: Rub lemon rind over faucets to eliminate mineral deposits and polish the chrome. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. 

Pineapple peels: These make a great, cheap car air freshener. Put some rind scraps from a pineapple in a plastic bag. Leave the bag on the dashboard or in the back window of your car. Solar energy will cause the pineapple peelings to shrink and dry out and your car will smell like a pina colada.  You can also use them as a foot scrub—no kidding!

Cucumber peels can serve as natural pest control agents. Their bitterness acts as a deterrent for ants, moths, mites, wasps, and silverfish. Place cucumber peels in the corners of your kitchen, on windowsills, or in cabinets wherever you are experiencing a bug problem. Remember to replace them frequently, as decomposing cucumbers may attract pests.

Cucumbers are also beneficial for the skin. Place some fresh peels over your eyes to reduce puffiness and redness or rub the wet underside of the peel all over your face for a quick face mask to tighten the skin.

Orange peels: Put an orange peel in your brown sugar container. The oils in the peel will soften hard lumpy sugar up in just a few hours.

The white side of an orange peel can be used to polish dull-looking wood furniture, while not-yet-dried orange peels can serve as a natural sponge for cleaning sinks or stovetops. They effectively cut through grease and leave behind a pleasant citrus fragrance.

Additionally, you can create an earth-friendly cleaner by placing orange peels in a jar, covering them with white vinegar, and sealing the lid. Allow it to sit in the refrigerator for a few weeks, shaking it occasionally. Afterward, transfer the mixture to a spray bottle for use on floors, windows, and other household surfaces.

Do you use peelings for anything we didn’t list here?

You an also save your vegetable “scraps” for vegetable broth.

Some have had luck regrowing kitchen waste into edible veggies and greens!

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Judy Kneiszel

Judy Kneiszel is a freelance writer from De Pere, Wisconsin. She contributes to regional and national magazines and newsletters, writing on a wide variety of topics including food, farming, health, renewable energy, and running a small business.

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Michael Wisener

I put orange peels in my tea. Not only do I use less sugar, but it makes tea taste better


This is a wonderful idea. I’m going to try this with my afternoon tea. Thank you for sharing it with us.


Apple peels are the worst peels to use because unless the apples were organic, the peels are loaded with pesticides and a wax coating which are not advisable to consume.

Mary S

Ose apple peels to make apple jelly.

maureen dyer

Love these ideas. Great for preventing waste, maintaining health and cutting costs

Beris Loveridge

Dry your used orange peels and they make great fire starters.

Beris Loveridge

I sun dry my orange peels and found they are great fire starters, they hiss and ignite for quite awhile and they smell nice too.


No mention here of organic produce. I truly would not want to save the peels of any other.

mary ann brannen

everyone I know has aluminum or stainless steel pots ,It works on baking pans

Patsy Bahrns

I had heard about lemon and oranges with vinegar but potato peels and cucumbers much. Some one had told me putting potatoes skins in your garden and bananas peels in garden will kill most bugs that kill your flowers and fertilizes your garden is this true?


I love seeing stuff like this, even if it is common knowledge to some, for others like myself it’s great to hear this “old knowledge” that might otherwise be lost in the advancement of today’s society. Thank you again, and keep it up!

cherie danao

thankyou so much for the natural implementations, I can’t wait for my own!!


i new about some of these, but still good to remember them in case you do for get. but the one about the orange peeling up your butt never herd of that one. who came up with that lol now that crazy, and yes what about pesticides in the peeling, can you just wash them real good then use them. these are some good tips to remember. thank you


Any suggestions on what, if anything,can be used to have your bath tub look new again…outside of buying a new one,of course?


Use organic and there won’t be pesticides in the peels!

Artena Douglas

Anyone that does not wash their fruit before eating should not be eating fruit who knows what and who has been handling it or where it has been!!!
Thank you for the tips and I don’t think I will be doing the orange up the butt either!

Donna Martin

Onion peels, garlic peels,celery leaves, potatoe peels , cut ends of veggies are all good to throw into your homemade soup stock. Until you’re ready to use just freeze them in a baggie or container..

Don’t know about Admiral Akbar’s suggestion to put orange peels in your butt, though I did get a good laugh from it. 🙂

Admiral Akbar

You can also insert orange peelings up your ass, and your farts will have a nice citrus smell.


😆😂🤣 Thanks for the laugh!

Debra Ream

Very useful info

Margaret J. Jaeger

Maureen Solomon, who was a Naturopath health consultant, used banana peels on spider or bug bites and burns, the inside of the peel is placed on the site, tied or taped down. Leave on for days. Also can be used for puritis that is caused by a fungus. I’ve tried for the bites or burns and even jock itch…it works.


mustard on burns works great


Also you can mix 1 cup salt a dash dish soap and fill spray bottle with vinegar to kill those ugly weeds along fences and patio stones does a real good job


It may sound a bit like a lark, but using a banana peel is actually a great way to put the shine back into your silverware and leather shoes. First, remove any of the leftover stringy material from the inside of the peel, then just start rubbing the inside of the peel on your shoes or silver. When you’re done, buff up the object with a paper towel or soft cloth. You might even want to use this technique to restore your leather furniture. Test it on a small section first before you take on the whole chair.

Tina Gallagher

Love these suggestions- I’ll certainly implement them in my kitchen, especially the last one about making my own orange air freshener.


Thanks for the tips. I love my aluminum cookware.


I would worry about the pesticides in the skins. And who uses aluminum pots anymore —Alzheimers scare?

Phyllis Greiner

What about pesticides in the peelings???

Anisah AbdulHaqq

What wonderful ways to use peelings. Now that households have less money to spend, we can use these tips to replace items that we would have to purchase, as well as help the environment. Thank you for these money saving suggestions.

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