Life & Nourishment
Wait! Before You Throw Out That Peel…
It wasn’t that long ago that we talked about reversing the habit of scooping seeds into the bin or compost.
The same can be said about that protective peel that you laboriously remove to get to the juicy centre of your orange, mandarin, or banana.
Today I’m talking to you about peel and the parts of fruit and veg that you might otherwise compost or throw out.
In fact, I bet that if you took a look at what goes in your compost you might be surprised at how much value you’re actually losing!
To me, returning to an Earth-based lifestyle and ethos is about slowing down and connecting and grounding with the Earth. The practice of doing this makes you realise how easily we skip steps on autopilot that would be ritual practice to anyone who is ‘listening to the Earth’ so to speak.
Some might call an Earth-based lifestyle Permaculture.
For many, who are direct bloodlines of the original cultures indigenous to the Earth, this connection might be instinctive, taught, or perhaps earned through experience.
For all of us, listening to the Earth and thinking about life as cycles can offer us great value. Part of that value exists in recognising that although our fast-paced, capitalism-driven ways might encourage us to skip steps in order to ‘get the thing done,’ we miss out on a lot. We may actually learn that by recognising the value embedded in all that we are skipping, slowing down actually ends up saving us time and money, and creating value beyond that which our ‘need-it-now’ box to box, packaged culture can bring us.
In fact, one could easily argue that our culture has conditioned us to reject the most nutritious part of our fruits and vegetables. Recipes and implements tell us this: why did we invent the peeler? Apparently, it was to remove the most valuable part.
In this case, skipping a step is actually the best thing you can do. Good news to the lazy cook… that skin on mash? Added Fiber and Nutrients. Skin-on pumpkin soup? Rich in Beta-carotene.
Pears, peaches and plums skins all contain antioxidants. You really have to wonder why those naked tinned fruits hit our shelves at all.
It should also be noted that some peels including avocado peel, onion peel and garlic peel aren’t ideal to chew on; however, they can be used in other ways and have their own benefits.
Onion and garlic peels are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, and flavonoids. They can be boiled up and used as stocks to add to soups and savoury dishes. Or you could drink them as tea or infused water that is good for immunity and inflammation.
Onion skin can also be boiled up to then use as a fertiliser and a natural pest repellent in your garden.
You could even try adding it to your bath because the transdermal absorption is sure to help those sore muscles. Avocado skin you may also like to add to your bath because the Vitamin E and C is great for your skin.
Avocado peel has also been found to be packed with antioxidants so it makes for an even easier adaption to any avocado smoothie you might be making. In fact, why not throw the avocado in whole? Because it turns out the pit is also edible and has benefits of its own.
Although there has been some confusion out there around this, the consensus appears to be that the avocado seed is definitely worth consuming, so throwing the avocado in your blender whole sounds like a good idea… just make sure you have a high enough powered blender! (If not you may want to pit it and split or soak the seed before blending.)
If you’re including the seed, you may want to balance out the bitter flavour with other flavours. I find adding an extra few dates is great for balancing out strong or bitter flavours.
Studies suggest the avocado seed may be antifungal and antibacterial. It also has heaps of antioxidants, fibre, and plenty of vitamins including potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. There are studies that suggest the avocado could be an important part in keeping cancer at bay and the seed appears to be no exception to that.
Another way to get the benefits of avocado is an avocado peel tea, which one journal suggested is the best way to get the anti-inflammatory benefits of the fruit which come from the phenolic and flavonoid compounds.
There are so many peels worth saving for tea. I started the unintentional habit of saving my mandarin peels and drying them on the dashboard. I quickly realised I was making mandarin peel tea without even meaning to! This can be done with any citrus fruit.
While citrus fruit tea might seem obvious, a little less obvious is the banana peel tea. This one was brought to my attention by a friend the other day who asked if I had heard about it. Apparently, that’s where most of the potassium is, and also magnesium. Another way to get the benefit of the peel is to throw the banana in the blender whole too.
Another fruit you might have been discarding parts of when making a smoothie is the mango. I’m not going to suggest you try blending or eating the mango seed at home, but it turns out that even that has numerous benefits for the body including the hair, skin, heart and diabetes and can be made into powder, oil or butter.
The skin, however, is another example of that one extra step too far that we’ve been taking. The skin of a mango is full of cartenoids, polyphenols and omegas as well as a compound similar to resveratrol.
Another fruit I like to eat whole myself, that would be easy to throw whole in the blender if you don’t enjoy eating the strangely fuzzy and sour peel as much as I do is kiwifruit. Another one where the benefits like flavanoids, antioxidants and high levels of vitamin C are even greater on the outside than the inside of the fruit.
Apple is another example of a fruit we might habitually peel. Whether you’re baking or snacking with apples, either way, the skin is worth keeping. There are vitamins like C, A, K and Quercetin. Saving the core is also a great idea if you don’t like the texture when chewing on those parts, and this is a great way to ensure you save those seeds. The rest of the core can be dried to make apple tea.
There are so many ways we typically throw out the most nutritional parts of the plant that the list feels endless!
So we’ve decided to include some suggestions. Feel free to email any we might have missed to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep building the list!
Our suggestions: Try it whole in a blended juice or smoothie
- Mango (almost whole, remove seed)
- Kiwi fruit
- Carrots (including tops)
- Peach (almost whole, remove seed)
- Strawberries (yes you can eat the tops, and the tanins in the leaves aid digestion)
- Pineapple (core and rind contain higher levels of bromelaine)
* A note on fruit smoothies: Ayurveda suggests that fruit should not be mixed with any other food, an exception is dates and milk. We are unsure whether milk includes nut and legume-based milk. This is worth mentioning, as Ayurveda could be the health path of ones choice. We support everyone making their own informed health decisions based on what information is available.
Our Suggestions: Veggie Scraps to Save for Stocks and Broths
- Base of tough veggies (ie. Kale)
Our Suggestions: Leave the Skin on for Soups and Dishes
- Carrot Tops
- Apple (ie cake)
- Banana (ie bread)
Our Suggestions: Peel Scrap Teas
Our Suggestions: Beauty and Bathing Peels
- Mandarin peel can be rubbed on your face or you could blend and mix with a natural base moisturiser or oil
- Avocado skin in the bath
- Onion skin in the bath
Our suggestions: Feeling Adventurous? Chew on This
- Kiwi fruit peel
- Citrus peel
- Watermelon rind
Our Suggestions: For The Garden
- Onion water as a natural fertiliser and pest repellent
- Onion and Garlic for the compost: if there’s surplus Onion and Garlic skins to your needs for fertiliser, bathing, stock and tea, throwing them into the compost adds nutrients… however if you’ve got worms in your compost, they might not love it (but will apparently eat it eventually when it starts to decompose, like citrus peel)
All nutritional information is broadly researched and based on a wide range of sources available through the internet at the time of writing, taking into account multiple conjectures and my experience and perspective. If you have any additional nutritional information or sources to share with us email email@example.com
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