Eating fruits and vegetables is a healthy habit. But when you are eating them on a regular basis, you also end up with a heap of peels from all the produce.
In most cases, people dispose of the peels.
Well, this is one habit that you should change. Instead of adorning the trash, the peels can be put to joyful uses.
The skins and peels of fruit and vegetables are full of flavor and nutrition, and these waste products actually have a lot to offer. When using the peels for cooking or beauty purposes, always opt for peels from organic produce to avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
1. Nutritious Vegetable Peel Stock
Using vegetable peels and stalks, you can make a nutritious homemade stock. This is a great use of leftover peels, and a delicious and economical way to make stock from scratch. Along with fruits and vegetables, their peels contain a good amount of nutrients and potent antioxidants.
To make stock, you can use the stalks, skins and peels from onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, potatoes, leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, parsnips, green beans, squash, bell peppers and eggplant. Also, the roots of herbs like parsley and cilantro can be used.
- Clean the peels and save them in the refrigerator.
- Once you have 3 to 4 cups of peels, put them in a pan of water. Also, add some leftover tomatoes and other vegetables.
- Simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Allow it to cool, then strain the liquid.
- Store it in a glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Use this stock to make your own soup, risotto or stew.
You can also use leftover peels, especially from citrus fruits like orange and lemon in herbal teas for added taste and nutritional benefits. Before using, remove the pith from the peels and dry the peels in the sun or in a dehydrator.
2. Homemade Frugal Potpourri
If you have an artistic flair, you can use leftover fruit and vegetable peels to make beautiful and fragrant potpourri. You’ll also save the money you would have spent on store-bought potpourri.
For making homemade potpourri, you can use any kind of citrus peels, pomegranate skins, apple peels or other bright-colored fruit and vegetable trimmings.
- Collect the peels of your choice.
- Dry them in direct sunlight for several days.
- Mix the dried peels with some broken cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves for better fragrance. You can also add dried leaves and pretty petals.
- Store this mixture in an airtight container for 3 days to help infuse the aroma.
- Arrange the dried peels in a decorative container.
- Put a few drops of your favorite aromatic essential oil on the peels.
- Now, your homemade potpourri is ready for display.
3. Skin Scrub and Moisturizer
Leftover peels are beneficial for skin health. The antioxidants and other nutrients in the peels are excellent for skin whitening, exfoliating and cleansing. Some peels also make good moisturizers.
For instance, the peels from lemons, apples, papayas, pomegranates and bananas can be made into facial masks and body scrubs. These homemade scrubs provide natural glowing effects.
- Dry a few orange peels in the sun for 2 or 3 days. Grind them to a coase powder. Mix together 2 teaspoons each of this orange peel powder and plain yogurt along with 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply it on your face and neck, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then scrub it off and rinse your skin with lukewarm water. Do this 2 or 3 times a week to get younger-looking and glowing skin.
- Citrus fruits are superb astringents, and the peels can be simply rubbed on your face a few times a week to make your skin bright and smooth. This will help lessen wrinkles and dark spots and even tighten the skin.
- You can also rub the fleshy part of an avocado, papaya or banana peel on your face for a rich moisturizer.
4. Teeth Whitener
To enjoy pearly whites, never throw away banana or citrus fruit peels.
These peels contain citric acid that helps reduce the yellow stains accumulated on the teeth.
- Rub the soft inside of a fresh piece of banana peel or small lemon or orange peel on your teeth for a few minutes.
- Once done, brush your teeth with toothpaste to remove the residue.
- Do this once daily for a few days to remove the stains.
5. Compost for Gardening
If you love gardening, you can make good compost with leftover fruit and vegetable peels. Being rich in nutrients, the peels make the soil more fertile to support healthy cultivation of fruits, vegetables and even other plants in your yard.
As the peels are biodegradable, they will rot and mix into the soil to make great compost.
- Make a pit in your garden area.
- Start throwing all fruit and vegetable peels in it every day.
- Allow the peels to rot for a few months, stirring them occasionally.
- Use the compost to feed your flowers, your garden or even the trees in your yard.
6. Metal Cleaner
Peels of citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruits and limes can be used to add shine to copper and brass items.
It is the high citric acid in the peels that does wonders for restoring the luster to your copper, brass and other metal items.
- Wash the metal item in plain water.
- Sprinkle a little baking soda on it.
- Use leftover citrus peels to clean the item by scrubbing gently.
- Finally, rinse it off with water and allow it to dry completely.
7. Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning
If you are planning to make lemonade, think a little ahead of time and consider zesting your lemons before juicing them. Lemon zest adds a nice flavor and aroma to a lot many recipes.
You can also use the zest to prepare homemade lemon pepper seasoning for your chicken and fish recipes.
- Scrape out the zest from 6 medium to large sized lemons.
- Add 2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper to it.
- Spread this mixture on a baking tray and bake it at the lowest setting for 1 hour or until it the zest has completely dried.
- Blend the mixture in a food processor or coffee grinder until it is finely ground.
- Store this homemade lemon pepper seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will last for several months.
8. Orange Peel Candles
After squeezing out the juice from orange halves you can use the leftover peels to great use by making candles.
- Select the peels from halved oranges that have a long pith remaining at the bottom to work as a wick.
- Fill the cup-like orange peel with any olive oil or lamp oil.
- Allow the pith to absorb the oil, then refill again.
- You can now light your orange peel candle. Preferably, place it on a coaster before lighting to avoid heating the base on which you place it.
9. Tasty Crisps
When it comes to leftover potato or sweet potato peels, you can use them to make healthy and yummy crisps.
- Wash the potato peels thoroughly in running water.
- Mix the peels with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Make sure to evenly coat the peels.
- Spread the peels out in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) for 5 minutes.
- Stir once and bake for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Season them with salt and pepper and enjoy this tasty snack.
10. Delicious Jelly
Peels from apples, peaches and guavas can be used to make delicious and mouth-watering jelly. This homemade jelly can be spread on breads, biscuits or crackers.
- Wash the peels thoroughly in running water, then finely chop them.
- For every 1 cup of fruit peels, mix in ¼ cup of brown sugar.
- Add a little lemon zest and a pinch of pectin (a chemical that helps the substance jellify).
- Add water according to the consistency you prefer.
- Put all the ingredients in a pan and simmer on low heat.
- Stir occasionally and within 1 hour you will have homemade tasty jelly.
- Transfer the contents to a clean bottle or jar.