If you’re an avid peeler of your fruit and vegetables, for reasons varying from a household of fussy eaters to a desire to avoid potential pesticide residue, then you’ll be pleased to know that there is a second life to that mountain of organic matter beyond the compost bin.
Did you know that an avocado peel doubles as a face mask? Potato peels soothe tired puffy eyes? Or that orange and grapefruit peels make a great skin toner?
Aside from these self-beautification uses, here are some other great ways to use your leftover peels.
It makes sense to avoid the chemically derived, potentially toxic household cleaners you buy at the supermarket when cleaning items such as kitchen utensils or appliances.
To remove stubborn mineral deposits from your kettle, simply fill it with a handful of lemon peels, add water, bring to the boil then let the citrus-infused water sit for an hour, rinse and reveal the sparkle!
Lemon peel really is a kitchen cleaning marvel. It also works incredibly well on hard to clean items such as stovetops, ovens and sinks. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the area to be cleaned, then rub over with a juiced lemon peel. The soda acts as a gentle abrasive, while the natural citric acids help to remove the stain. Careful though, on porous surfaces such as marble which may discolour.
You’d never throw away good food right? So hold on to your peels to create some serious delicious pantry goodies.
To add a citrus blast to your food whenever the mood takes you (which is generally when the lemon tree is bare) make your own citrus extract powder. Zest your citrus carefully to avoid the pith, which can be bitter, store in a clean and dry area for up to four days and when completely dried, blitz in the food processor to make a pow-wow powder. Store indefinitely in a clean jar
In the same way, zest can be dried and stored in a jar and used in place of fresh zest when required.
Yummy homemade citrus powder can be added to cracked pepper to create your own lemon pepper seasoning. Similarly for the sweet tooth, it can be added to sugar to create a delicious citrus sugar.
How often do you chop up fresh herbs only to throw away the roots and stems? Well these underused parts of the herb are healthy and full of flavour. Try adding to soups and stocks for an awesome boost of deliciousness and added texture. Coriander (Cilantro) root is sublime in a slow-cooked Thai curry and once you taste the difference, you’ll never waste a part of it again.
Incidentally, your vegie stock can be made up almost entirely of things intended for the bin. Boil up potato and carrot peels, indeed the peels from any root vegetables, add some onion skins and leek ends, not forgetting the roots and stems of your herbs and voila! A perfect stock base for numerous recipes.
In our consumer-driven, waste producing society, it’s the little changes we make in our own homes that have a major impact on waste reduction. Our hip pocket, our health, and the planet are the ultimate winners.