How many times have you eaten a banana and then immediately tossed the peel, either in the trash or into your compost pile? What about your orange peels or your avocado pits? Well, contrary to popular belief, these fruit leftovers can be used in a bunch of useful ways.
When I read about the many ways you can use orange peels, I started to wonder if the same idea could apply to other fruits. As you'll see below, the same concept does apply. Take a look at some popular fruits that are full of nutritional goodies and the many ways you can be sure to use the entire fruit.
One orange provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C. They also provide good fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins, amino acids, beta-carotene, potassium, folic acid, and much more. Oranges have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clot inhibiting properties. They are also full of antioxidants, making oranges one of the most recommended fruits for maintaining optimal health.
Don't throw those peels away once you've gotten your fill of citrusy goodness. Try some of these uses from The Kitchn:
Add to meat dishes to enhance the flavor. Put peels in braising liquid or into the cavity of a whole chicken before roasting.
Infuse your liquor, especially vodka, for excellent cocktails.
Add orange peels to aging olive oil to add an extra zest that's great on salads and pastas.
Set some orange peels around areas where ants are a problem. Works as a great ant repellent. Helpful while on a picnics or camping.
Deodorize garbage cans by dropping a couple of orange peels in the bottom of the can before inserting the trash bag.
You can also check out this Tip Hero write-up of a Frugal Village article for more ideas.
Apart from being loaded with vitamins and minerals, pineapples have a lot of other health benefits. They are full of manganese, which helps to strengthen bones. One cup a day of pineapple in any form provides 73% of the daily recommended amount of this stuff. Pineapple is also great for treating coughs or colds. While the extra vitamin C doesn't hurt, pineapples contain bromelain, which has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus.
EHow has a great idea for making sure that pineapple skin doesn't get wasted after eating the juicy inside. Here's a way to make fresh pineapple juice using the skin of a pineapple and a few other ingredients.
Take your pineapple and scrub with a brush under hot sink water for a few minutes. Boil 2 quarts of water on the stove, and then turn off burner. Cut away skin from your pineapple with a large knife. De-vein the pineapple but leave the cored fruit. Place all the extras from the pineapple (skin and juice that leaked, etc.) into the pot of water. Let contents, including a piece of ginger root, steam in the water for an hour. Enjoy the pineapple fruit any way you'd like!
After an hour, blend the contents of the water pot in a blender. Strain two or three times with a cloth sieve. Sweeten, if needed, with sugar and refrigerate until cold. Voila! You've got freshly made pineapple juice without actually using the fruit part!
Bananas, of course, are full of potassium, which is good for your heart, nerves, kidneys and bones. Bananas are also known to have a calming effect on the brain and help to create a stable mood. They are also full of vitamin B6, which helps your body make hemoglobin, a crucial ingredient of your blood. One banana a day can also provide you with 16% of the daily recommended fiber intake. The best part about bananas? They are extremely affordable at about 35-40 cents per pound (US average).
The insides of banana peels are full of antioxidants and potassium, and therefore, surprisingly, can have healing powers when it comes to many facial problems. Here are some ways that eHow suggests you use banana peels for skin care:
Rub inside of banana peel on psoriasis-affected areas of skin. Skin might be red at first, but you should notice a difference within a few days.
Rub inside of banana peel over your acne at night for improved skin.
Rub on poison ivy to stop itching and subdue inflammation. Reapply as necessary.
This fruit is a great helper when it comes to weight loss. While low in sodium and high in fat burning enzymes, grapefruit can also help increase metabolism. They are also rich in lycopene, which helps prevent the occurrence of tumors and cancer. Grapefruit is a great fruit to eat before eating other foods, as it can aid in the proper digestion of food.
There are lots of uses you can put grapefruit peels to. The peels contain pectin, which can help keep cholesterol in check. Here are some ideas from eHow for using the outer part of grapefruits:
Many creative things can be done with grapefruit peel. You can use the zest on salads or in cooking; it can even be dried and added to loose-leaf tea mixtures. It is also possible to infuse olive oil with the essence of grapefruit or to make marmalade with it. A grapefruit half, cleaned of the pulp and pith, also offers a stylish way to present a fruit salad; it can serve as the bowl. If you simply want to dispose of the peel in a beneficial way, add it to your compost pile.
Pomegranates have gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, and with good reason. They are full of vitamins and folic acid. They have been shown to aid in the prevention of breast cancer, lung cancer, osteoarthritis, and more. They are also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. As a bonus, if you don't want to eat all of the seeds, here is a great recipe from NoteCook for a DIY pomegranate body scrub.
After you pick the yummy stuff out of the pomegranate, the rest is useless, right? Nope! Pomegranate peels are actually a great treatment for diarrhea. Associated Content has a recipe for a tea that should cure this problem. Cut up peels into small, nickel sized pieces and lay them in the sun to dry. Store in a tea box or glass jar until you need to use them.
To make the tea, take 4-5 dry pieces and place them into a cup. Add boiling water and wait until the drink cools a bit. One serving should be enough to cure the problem, but you might need to continue this remedy for a few days in severe cases.
Lemons (and Limes)
These citrus fruits are full of vitamin C and full of flavor. They contain flavonoid compounds, antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. The uses for these fruits are endless in the food and drink department. Check out this Tip Hero write-up if you're at a loss for what to do with lemons.
Get rid of mineral deposits and polish chrome faucets by rubbing lemon rind over the chrome. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
Throw leftover lemon peels down the garbage disposal to deodorize and keep it smelling fresh.
Use peels to clean counter tops and sink stains and your kitchen will have a lemony-fresh scent.
Remove tea stains on tablecloths by sprinkling the stain with salt and rubbing the lemon peel across the surface.
These fruits are full of the "good fat" that is not harmful to you and doesn't increase your cholesterol. Avocados can lower cholesterol in the blood and protect against cholesterol related heart diseases. They also contain many necessary minerals like potassium, calcium, vitamins C and K, folic acid, etc. Avocados have even been proven to contain a toxin that kills cancer cells.
Don't throw those avocado pits away if you have use for a nice houseplant. Try this tip from Thrifty Fun. All you have to do with the pit is wash it and stick three toothpicks around the pointy upper third of the pit. Place the pit in a jar of water so that most but not all of the pit is submerged. In five days, put the jar in a spot that receives a lot of sunlight. Once you see roots and leaves sprouting, you can transplant the pit to potting soil. Water once a week and watch your little plant flourish!
Ok, peanuts are technically from the legume family, but I couldn't help but add these nutritional gems to the list. Peanuts contain a high amount of protein. They are also a good source of coenzyme q10, which protects the heart during periods when you have a lack of oxygen, such as when at high altitudes. Unsalted peanuts are also good for your arteries and promote the growth of healthy bones. The list goes on.
Here's an idea from Life hackery: Use stored peanut shells as a charcoal substitute when grilling. They don't burn easily and can absorb decent amounts of heat.
EHow suggests that you make a homemade kitty litter using peanut shells. Soak the shells in water, then add biodegradable dish soap. Let them dry and sprinkle them with baking soda. This kitty litter will be much better for the environment than the chemically treated variety.
Watermelon is a great summery fruit that, like most melons, is rich in potassium. This nutrient helps to control blood pressure and possibly prevent strokes. They are full of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which researchers believe are capable of preventing heart disease, cancer and other chronic conditions. There are many ways you can enjoy watermelon, but here is a fun idea for a party (since the fourth of July is around the corner!) Try a Vodka Watermelon recipe from WikiHow!
A watermelon shell can be put to a lot of uses, but my favorite of them is making a bowl for a festive fruit salad. If you are hosting a party or heading to a potluck cookout, this simple idea is easy yet impressive! Head to Cooks.com for some recipe ideas.
There you have it! A multitude of ways you can use those parts of fruits that normally get thrown away. What ideas do you have for using extra parts of fruits? Whether you have an idea for a fruit listed above or a completely different fruit that has a shell, seeds or skin, be sure to share your tips with us!