Is getting more for your food budget an appealing idea to you? Then get a-peeling! But don’t toss those peels. The peels of many fruits and vegetables are edible, with the bonus of being rich in fiber and nutrients. And some peels that aren’t good to eat have many great benefits around the home!
Don’t Toss These Peels!
Apple peelings: If you are peeling apples for pie or small children who reject the chewy peels, don’t throw those red or green skins away. Process the peels in a blender and store them in the freezer. They can be added when cooking oatmeal along with some cinnamon. You can also toss them into a smoothie to add apple flavor and fiber. Or make your own apple cider vinegar!
If you don’t want to eat your apple peelings, use them to clean your aluminum pots and pans. Simmer apple peels in a few inches of water for half an hour. The acid in the peels will break down the built-up grease stains and help restore the pan’s shine. Afterwards, 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: These are natural pest control agents. The bitterness of cucumber peels will ward off ants, moths, mites, wasps and silverfish. Lay cucumber peels in corners of the kitchen, on windowsills or in cabinets … wherever you are having a bug problem. Refresh them frequently, though — decomposing cucumbers will actually attract pests.
Cucumbers are 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 facemask 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 polish dull-looking wood furniture and not-yet-dried orange peels make a natural sponge you can use to clean your sink or stovetop. It cuts grease and leaves a lovely citrus smell.
Finally, put some orange peels in jar, cover with white vinegar and close the lid. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few weeks shaking it occasionally. Then, pour into a spray bottle and use it as an earth-friendly cleaner for floors, windows and household surfaces.
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.