Fruit and vegetable peelings constitute a large part not only of household waste but also of industrial waste. The production of fruit products such as jams, jellies, juices and other sweets produces a huge amount of waste that is not carefully disposed of, resulting in an increased burden on the environment.
Several ways to use fruit and vegetable peels are being explored to be more sustainable and to maximize their benefits.
Fruit and vegetable peels contain many antioxidants and active biochemical compounds. They are also excellent sources of fiber.
Uses for fruit and vegetable peels
While industries are looking for new ways to make use of peel waste, there are innovative and simple ways to use fruit and vegetable peels at home to reduce waste and be more sustainable.
1/ Vegetable broth
Common, everyday ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, and potatoes can be used to make a delicious and rich vegetable broth.
You can collect your food wrappers and refrigerate them in a Ziploc bag for a few days. Once you have collected enough, boil the peels in 2-3 liters of water and simmer until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper, drain and store in the refrigerator.
This broth can be used in soups, broths, sauces and even to make rice.
Ginger, garlic and onion peels have great antioxidant capacity and are able to rid the body of free radicals that can cause damage and disease.
2/ Antioxidant Rich Food Supplement
The fruit peel can be cleaned, washed and dried in the oven on low heat. It can then be crushed and stored for use in drinks, smoothies and baked goods for an increase in antioxidants.
Apple, pear, peach, carrot, beet, tomato and papaya peels contain many beneficial polyphenols that can be easily lost. Drying them at low temperatures will ensure that the necessary nutrients are retained and the product will last longer without spoiling.
3/ Skewers or side dishes
Many South Asian recipes use vegetable peels from squash, gourds and even watermelons to make delicious side dishes and kebabs.
Calabash peels are high in vitamin B, some vitamin C and high in polyphenols.
Using the rinds in kabobs and side dishes is an economical and easy way to reduce waste and ensure the consumption of essential nutrients.
4/ Homemade Vegetable Chips
Root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips and beets are rich in phenols. They are high in starch and can easily be made into crunchy, healthy versions of commercially available chips.
Harnessing the rich nutrients, starch content and fiber content of vegetable peels by turning them into flakes is an effective way to add energy-rich foods to children’s diets.
Wash the peels well, sprinkle with vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper and cook until brown and crispy.
5/ Soak in water.
Soaking drinking water with fruit and vegetable peels will allow water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid to dissolve in the water.
This is a simple and effective way to combat nutrient deficiencies, as well as to stay well hydrated.
6/ Homemade jam
Apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, peaches and guavas contain a gelatinous substance called pectin. It is a soluble fiber that is essential in the jam-making process.
Recently, mango residue, including the peel, has been found to be rich in pectin, which is beneficial in the fight against colon cancer according to some studies.
Wash the fruit peels well and cook them with a glass of water, sugar and lemon juice. As soon as the mixture starts to thicken, turn off the heat and let it cool. This homemade jam is healthy, preservative-free and child-friendly.
Using citrus peels in aromatherapy is a great way to scent your home.
Boiling citrus peels in water over low heat will release the oils from the peel. The fragrance is known to reduce anxiety and stress.
8/ Facial masks
Some fruits have anti-aging effects by scavenging free radicals from the body and restoring collagen and skin elasticity.
Apples, bananas, melons, strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe, pears, papaya and pineapple contain skin-beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-cancer agents.
Simply rub it on your skin or mix it with water to make a nourishing mask.
9/ Household cleaners
Chemicals in household cleaners, including fragrances, surfactants, stabilizers and other acids, have been shown to be harmful not only to humans but also to the environment, but household cleaners that use citrus fruits are not.
Put citrus peels extracted from lemons, oranges and grapefruits in a glass bottle with water and seal. Natural sugars and bacteria ferment the peels to produce acids called environmental enzymes that are useful for cleaning roofs.
This solution is not only safe for humans but also for the environment.
Environmental enzymes derived from pineapple and orange have antimicrobial effects, while those from unripe papaya show significant antibacterial activity against Enterococcus faecalis.
10/ Plant fertilizers
Using fruit and vegetable peels as compost for your garden or houseplants is not only a great way to reduce waste, but also improves soil health and quality by returning essential nutrients to the soil.
Studies have shown that soil fertilized with compost waste is higher in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Precautions to consider
– When using fruit and vegetable peels for various purposes, keep these precautions in mind:
– Some fruits and vegetables can be allergens and their peels are likely to have the same effect.
– When using fruit or vegetable peels as a face mask, perform a skin test by applying the face mask to an area of skin (preferably on the inside of the elbows) 12 to 24 hours before treatment. If rashes or skin problems do not occur, the product is safe to apply.
– Fruit and vegetable peels may contain residues of fertilizers and pesticides used during the growing process. Before using them, wash them well and soak them in cold water to remove any residue.