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!

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.

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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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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.

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.


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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