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!
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.