I am pretty sure that every woman who always cooks for her family deals with food leftover. I hate throwing away food but what to do with all the fruits and vegetable leftovers.
The skins of fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients and are just as delicious as their meat. There are plenty of ways you can use those peels, which you’d normally throw away.
Some people are peelers, some people aren’t. Some people swear by the nutrients and fiber found in produce skins, others shy away from the taste or texture, or prefer removing the outer layer to reduce pesticide load. Regardless of your peeling preferences, citrus rinds, potato and other root/tuber peels, scooped-out avocados, and even cheese rinds all have more than one life.
Ways to Use Leftover Vegetable Peels
Don’t throw out all those scraps after peeling and cutting up your veggies for dinner. There are many uses for them. In 2011, 36 million tons of food waste was put in landfills in the United States. Some, maybe most of that, could have been used in our kitchens and our gardens. Here are some ideas for clever uses of those veggie scraps rather than throwing them into the garbage pail.
Making stock or broth was something every household did during the Great Depression when life was harder. Not only was it wasteful to throw it out, but women of those times knew that they’d be throwing out valuable nutrition that their families needed. Instead, they would save the scraps, onion, carrot, sweet potato, squash and potato peels and use them to make excellent chicken, beef, or vegetable stock as a basis for soups and stews.
Create Dried Vegetable Seasonings
In many countries, people buy a dried and powdered vegetable seasoning. Why not make your own? Save your peels until you have enough for a baking tray. Scatter the peels on the tray, then put the tray in an oven on about 220 degrees and dry them thoroughly. After they’ve all dried, put them in the coffee grinder or blender and powder them. Use tomato, eggplant, potato, pepper and carrot peels as well as stalks from parsley and dill.
Try to keep the peels a decent size when you’re peeling your potatoes. When you have enough for a baking tray, drizzle the peels with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper and bake until crisp. Voila! You have potato chips for a flavorful and healthy snack.
Flavor Oil and Vinegar
Wouldn’t some tomato-flavored olive oil taste great on that cod fillet? Save your peels and add them to olive oil and vinegar for extra flavor and nutrition. Onion and garlic trimmings make an especially nice vinegar salad dressing.
When you don’t want to use scraps for future meals, use them instead to feed your garden. Start a compost bin or pile, put in all your vegetable and fruit peels and let nature turn them into fine garden soil food. The more you feed your garden, the more it will feed you.
Ways to Use Leftover Fruit Peels
Instead of tossing out fruit peels, you can keep and use them for a variety of purposes. Considering all the ways you can put leftover fruit peels to work, why throw any of them away?
Peels for Cleaning
To make your coffee pot sparkling clean, add ice, lemon rinds and salt to your empty coffee pot, and swirl it around for a short time. Rinse well. To clear your tea pot of mineral build-up, add a handful of lemon peels and water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Let it cool and sit for an hour, then drain and rinse. Place orange peels in a jar and cover with white vinegar, letting it sit for a few weeks. Strain out the solids, add water, and you have your own homemade orange cleanser.
Orange and lemon zest pack a lot of flavor. Before you eat your citrus fruits, use a vegetable peeler or zester to remove the flavorful skin, making sure not to get any of the white pith. Use a sharp knife to cut up the lemon or orange zest. You can then let it dry, grind it in a blender (or spice grinder) and put it in small, airtight containers to use when needed.
Flavor Liquor, Oil and/or Vinegar
Add lemon or orange peel curls to liquor or wine, olive oil or vinegars to give them an extra boost of flavor. Orange oil is particularly pleasant. Save and dry apple peels and add to tea for flavoring. Lemon-infused vodka gives cocktails a nice kick.
One of the many uses for the pomegranate is to use its peels as a natural dye for fabric. Freeze the peels and fruit parts you don’t eat. When you are ready to dye, place the peels in your dye pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil for half an hour, and then simmer it for an hour. Strain out the solids. Get your fabric wet in hot water; when the cloth has cooled, wring it out and place it in the dye bath. Heat the dye bath to boil and boil gently for an hour, keeping the fabric submerged with a stick. When it has reached the desired color, take out the cloth and rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear.
Spice up your Fire
Orange peels make good kindling and can create a fragrant fire. Save citrus peels and add them to kindling and firewood to make your home smell deliciously fresh and festive.
Olga Irez is an Istanbul-based food blogger who had lived in five countries and traveled to a few more before moving to Turkey. Olga runs Delicious Istanbul food tours and cooking classes to share her passion for the food and markets of the city she loves. Olga writes in her article Seasoning Out of Nothing: Dry Vegetable Peels very interesting idea of making seasoning from dry vegetable peels
Seasoning of Dry Vegetable Peels
Made of virtually nothing – vegetable peels you normally dispose – this seasoning imparts not only bits of strong flavors but also useful nutrients to your meals.
- tomato peel
- red bell pepper peel
- carrot peel
- butter squash skin
- shavings of eggplant skin
- shaved off hard side of green been pods
- layer of onion what can be found right under the shell – too hard to cut through and often discarded
- outer shell of leeks
- parsley stalks
- dill stalks
- red pepper flakes (or any spices your frequently use)
- coarse salt
- Collect the vegetable peels as you cook, chop them finely and arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pop the tray in the switched off oven after every baking. Then the oven cools down completely remove the tray and put in a well-aired dry place. Repeat the iteration until the skins are brittle and dry. If you are not such a keen baker or don’t want to wait for so long just switch on the oven to 100C/212F and let the finely shopped vegetable peels dry (1.5-2 hours). Of course tomato peel is 10 times thinner that squash skin and you need to separate them to ensure that thinner skins don’t get over-dried as your thicker ones still continue drying. Once dried ground them in a food processor into flakes and mix in the spices of your choice and coarse salt.
- Needless to say it is best to use peels of organic locally ground vegetables. And that the vegetables have to be thoroughly washed before peeling.
- Use this seasoning of dry and ground vegetable peels is great in soups, stews, garnishes, pasta sauces, savory pastry and breads.
According to NutriPro Juice maker of BELLA NutriPro juice fans love the burst of energy they get when drinking their favorite, fresh juice. The fiber is separated out, allowing the nutrient-rich juice to be easily and quickly digested.
Traditional juicers with blades will leave behind a large pile of wet pulp. The BELLA NutriPro Juicer uses the latest cold press technology to extract more juice and nutrients out of fruits and vegetables, leaving behind a drier, smaller collection of pulp.
As you are cleaning up your juicer, you may be tempted to empty that pulp container into the trash can. Don’t do it! The juicer pulp is loaded with fiber and has many uses. Sneak your juicer pulp into everything from cookies to hamburgers for some added bulk and an extra fiber boost.
Here are some simple ways to give your pulp new life:
Bake It In
Pulp can mix right in to just about any baked-good recipe. Toss some carrot pulp into pound cake or berry pulp into the pancake batter. Add celery, onion or tomato pulp to your favorite muffin recipe for some extra moisture, flavor and texture.
Mix It Up
Bulk up your burgers with pulp from vegetables, such as carrots and tomatoes. Vegetable pulp also adds kick and texture to salsas and pasta sauces. Add a pulp layer to your next lasagna or enhance a smoothie with fruit pulp.
Simmer With Soup
Use vegetable pulp to make a delicious, flavorful soup broth. Simply add the pulp to chicken or beef broth to enhance the flavor. Or, to make soup broth from scratch, save up your pulp (you’ll want several days’ worth). Cover with water and bring to a boil. Use about two cups of water for one cup of pulp, or less water for a stronger broth. Add your favorite seasonings and let the broth simmer for an hour. Strain out the pulp when complete.
Cater to the Kids
You can sneak more fiber into your child’s diet simply my mixing in a little pulp. Stir in some veggie pulp to their next dish of macaroni and cheese, or add fruit pulp to a fruit salad for extra texture. You can even sneak it into sandwiches or quesadillas.
If you’re feeling adventurous, use a dehydrator or oven to make pulp crackers. For every two cups, mix in about a half a cup of water (add water until the mix is malleable, but still holds together). Toss in your favorite seasonings, seeds or even a little lemon juice. Spread out about a quarter inch thick on your baking sheet or dehydrator tray. Bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes in the oven. On a dehydrator, dry at 115 degrees for 6 hours. For crispy crackers, leave the dehydrator on overnight. Store in an airtight container.
If you’re short on time, simply seal your pulp in a container or freezer bag and store it in the freezer until you want to use it. This is a great way to build your pulp supply to make broth or a large batch of crackers. Defrost in the fridge overnight to use.
Some other clever ways you can use to recycle food waste:
Why waste money on buying potpourri from the market when you can make it at home? Use all the possible fruit peels and rinds which remain after you have consumed the fruit and dry them either in the sun or a food dryer. Then crush it and add the flavor of your choice. Your homemade potpourri is ready.
Polish brass and copper
Lemon and lime contain citric acid and the peel contains more of it. You can use the leftover peels to rub copper or brass items. They will bring a great shine and clean these things very well.
Peanut Shells for grilling
Barbeque grilling needs a lot of coal and fuel to keep it burning for long. Instead use peanut shells. Soak them in water in advance and dry them a bit before use and put them over your coal in the grill. They burn for a long time and keep the fire going.
Draw a relaxing bath
Orange and grapefruit peels add a fresh scent. But if you’re looking for a soak that does even more, try tossing in some cucumber peels instead. They won’t add as much fragrance to your bath, but their cooling properties will sooth dry, itchy or irritated skin in a snap. Add some Epsom salt for an even deeper cleanse.
For a more rejuvenating soak, try some lemon peel. Bathing with lemon peel has been shown to reduce the appearance of age spots and skin discoloration, and the smell will perk you up if you’re feeling a bit cranky.
Fill your tub with warm water and add the peels. Allow them to steep in the bathwater for a few minutes before you hop in.
Shine Your Shoes
Just rub the inside of a banana peel all over your favorite pair, and buff off with a soft cloth. You’ll be shocked to see how well it works.
Finely chop the rinds of your favorite citrus fruit, and add a half a cup of sugar and enough olive oil to make a paste. Gently rub onto your skin in circular motions and rinse with warm water. The rind and sugar will naturally exfoliate, while fruit oils leave skin soft and replenished.
Fruits are the most common ingredients in natural scrubs, but many veggies carry their own set of beauty benefits. Carrot juice staves off blemishes and leaves skin naturally soft and glowing, making it a perfect skin-repairing secret.
Put the leftover carrot peels from your last family meal into a blender with a few tablespoons of water. Blend well, and add some honey and sugar to make your scrub. Buff, rinse and be beautiful.
Williams, Laura; Save the Scraps! 4 Leftovers You Shouldn’t Throw Away; ChefMom; accessed November 25, 2103
Breyer, Melissa; 20 Uses for Leftover Fruit and Vegetable Peels; Mother Nature Network; accessed November 25, 2013
Wise Blog Team; Five Ways to Make Use of Your Food Waste; Wise Company; accessed November 25, 2013
Olga; Seasoning Out of Nothing; Delicious Istanbul; accessed November 25, 2013
Duggan, Tara; 5 Ways to Use Up Your Vegetable Scraps; Food52; accessed November 25, 2013
Christensen, Emma; 5 Good Uses for Your Citrus Peels; The Kitchn; accessed November 26, 2013
Watkins, Rebecca; 14 Uses for Orange Peels and an Orange Oil Recipe; Natural Mother’s Network; accessed November 26, 2013