Did you know that the fruit and vegetable peels that you throw away every day are packed with with flavor, minerals, and vitamins? Ideally, you should cook food with peels on so you get the most of out of it. Many people use peels as they are to cook scrumptious dishes. Even if you don’t have an appetite for peels, we suggest against dumping them in the trash can. Why? Because there are lots of other ways of extracting their goodness, and unless properly segregated as wet waste, they end up trapped in landfills, where they do not biodegrade and add to the air pollution that plagues our cities.
To help, we’ve found 12 different uses for commonly found kitchen peels. Try them out!
Banana peel: The peel from your everyday fruit Banana is a strong fighter. Packed with acids, vitamins, and minerals this is one of the most versatile peels. Listed below are ways to use them:
- Brighten teeth: Considering our current lifestyle and the intake of tea and coffee, staining of teeth is a common phenomenon. Skip a visit to the dentist and/or using chemically infused cleaners for teeth brightening. Instead, just rub the fleshy part i.e. inside of the Banana peel onto your teeth with your finger. Let it stay for a few minutes and rinse off for brighter teeth.
- Polish silverware: The fruity acids in the peel help in removing tarnish from silver. All you need to do is throw in a few peels along with just a little water to form a paste. This not so appealing to look at paste, needs to be gently scrubbed onto your silver with a toothbrush or a cloth. Once done the silver needs a water wash and a clean damp cloth wipe (make sure to do so, to avoid any mould from forming). We also suggest doing a patch test on your silver, prior to using it.
- Polish leather and make it shine: Much like silver, a peel of Banana, rubbed onto leather gets them shining too. Once done with this, buff it with a clean dry clean cloth. Here too, it is highly recommended to do a patch test on your leather product, prior to using it.
- Soothe that sting: Got a rash, or any other skin irritation? Just rub the pithy side of the peel onto the surface for instant soothing relief.
Lemon, Lime, Orange peels: Known for their acidic, cleaning and bleaching properties, the peels from these citrus fruits works in multiple ways, i.e. beyond using their zest for cooking. Here’s how:
- Descale that kettle: Scaling of electric kettles is normal due to mineral build up and constant use. The best way to clean them is by throwing in a few lemon peels and letting the water boil. Let this stay in the kettle for a while and then rinse off as usual.
- Clean that coffee mug/pot: If you are a coffee drinker, then you’d also be familiar with the coffee stains. Now do away with their stains from cups and pots with this simple hack. Drop a few peels of lemon to a cup of water and let them sit in it for a few hours. Then, just throw away the water and wipe the mug. When working with a glass pot, put in some ice cubes, salt and a few peels. Give this a good swerve and throw off the mixture. Rinse and use your super clean pot.
- Clean those metal surfaces: Dip a peel in baking soda/ salt and use this to clean any metal surface like copper, brass of those stainless steel dishes.
- Lighten and brighten skin: The citric acid in lemon works as a bleaching agent even on your skin. Rub some peel onto your elbows, knees or hands etc. to brighten these areas.
- Keep sugar from clumping: Throw in a few orange peels into a canister of sugar. The peels are great at absorbing the moisture and thereby keep the sugar free flowing.
Potato peel: The most consumed food in almost every household has benefits packed in its peels too. That is incase you aren’t eating them. Here’s how this vitamin C rich food peel helps:
- Perfect for skin care: Rubbing the juice from peels of potatoes helps in tan reduction and also helps in soothing sun burns. Just squeeze a few peels for the juice or rub the peels itself so you get enough of the juice from them on your skin.
- Relief from puffy eyes: If you’re suffering from puffy and tired looking eyes, take some of the peels from a potato and place it over your eyes for relief.
Pomegranate Peels: Use Pomegranate as a chemical free dye for your white clothes.. This way you end up giving your garment new life and save them from ending up in landfills. Here’s how you can do this:
- Non chemical red dye: Pomegranate peels have a lovely colour (reddish pink) that is notorious for staining clothes. But, there is a simple way of uniformly dying your whites.
- Add peels to hot water and leave them overnight.
- The next day dip simmer it for a while, wet the fabric you wish to dye and it to the mixture and let it simmer (approx. an hour).
- Let it then sit in the coloured water overnight.
- The next day just remove the fabric and rinse it with cold water and it’s ready for use.
The next time you cooking with vegetables and fruits, do give recycling a thought before you throw them in your bin. If recycling isn’t for you, then try and put them in a compost bin at least or segregate them so they can be used for composting :).
If you know of any more hacks, please do share them with us.