Wow! What a fantastic start to Zero Waste Week yesterday. Twitter was jam packed with pledges, ideas and advice for going zero waste; with plenty of activity from the other fabulous Blog Ambassadors to inspire us all! If you haven’t gotten involved yet, there’s still time to join in!
My first day of juicing and pulping felt rather easy (despite my disorganisation!) and I didn’t waste one smidge of my food all day. But being as lazy as I am, I can’t stick at a juice diet for long; so I’m back on the solids today, in time to tackle pesky peelings! As much as I have attempted to avoid food waste in the past, peelings are always the one thing I guiltily throw away almost daily; despite the huge amount of fruit and veg I go through on my vegan diet.
The health benefits of Peelings
It wasn’t until I looked into the nutrition of peel that I realised my crime of throwing it away wasn’t just wasteful for the environment; but that I might actually be missing out on some of my fruit and veg goodness too!
Many nutritionists suggest that the peel of fruit and veg contains a large amount of the nutrition; with fruits like blueberries, grapes, guava, and kumquat holding the highest concentration of anti-oxidants in their skin. Some fruit peel, like oranges, actually hold higher levels of vitamin C than its juice.
Peel – especially in potato – is also a naturally rich source of rough dietary fibre, while fruit peel is a rich source of vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, minerals such as calcium, selenium, magnesium and zinc; way more so than its pulp. So, to skip the skin and head straight for the flesh and juice may reduce the nutritional potential of your 5 a day.
Plenty of uses for Pesky Peelings
Last night I made a very simple dish of roasted root veg and couscous, and had a handful of peelings leftover. This time I lazily drizzled them with oil and a sprinkle of salt and baked in the oven for vegetable crisps.
But, as I nibbled on them later whilst searching for inspiration, I found there are dozens of useful (and tasty) uses for peelings, skins and rinds:
- Make fragrant pot-pourri with dried peels and a drop of your favourite essential oil.
- Sprinkle baking powder on citrus rinds and use to polish metal.
- Save citrus rinds for chutneys, Christmas mincemeat and curries (especially lime!)
- Boil up skins and leave to cool. Then rinse your hair in the water to brighten it up!
- Add apple or carrot peel to salads for an added crunch.
- Infuse oils and salad dressings (or vodka!) with lemon peels.
- Make your own chemical free all-purpose cleaner with citrus peel .
- Add banana, apple and potato skins into a paper bag and wrap with a warm tea towel to ripen fruits.
- Pomegranate peels make great natural clothes dyes when soaked in water overnight (in a stainless steel bowl) and simmered in a pan to create a beautiful water to soak your clothes in.
- Dry out citrus peels for a couple of days before blitzing in a food processor to make citrus powder. Great for adding zing to recipes.
- Sprinkle sugar on the flesh side of banana peels and use as a soft, exfoliating loofa. Rub gently all over your body and then rinse in the shower.
- Potato peels can reduce puffiness around eyes; press the moist side of the fresh peels to the skin for 15 minutes.
- Rub papaya skins and pulp on the bottoms of your feet to help soften skin and soothe cracked heels.
Peelings on Pinterest
I have pulled together some of these ideas, and a couple more, on my Zero Waste Week 2014 Pinterest board so take a lot for more inspiration!
After finding so many suggestions for peelings, I realise just how lazy I have been throwing them away! So if there really is only one thing I take away from this year’s Zero waste Week, it will be to never throw away a peel again…