Don’t Discard: How to Make the Most Out of Peels, Rinds, Seeds and More
When you peel a banana, what do you do? Toss the skin in the trash, right? But hold it right there. You can eat that skin if you know how to use it. Along with banana peels, there are lots of other food products that we think are no good that happen to have surprising uses. Here are a few of the best.
You can use the banana peel as a casing like in this steamed pork and rice dish, or you can eat the banana peels after washing, cooking, and chopping. The latter is how the banana peel is served in this recipe for banana peel chutney that goes well with coconut chickpea curry and rice.
Nobody pays attention to the leaves on a celery stalk, which is unfortunate because they have many uses. For instance, you can add them to homemade soups, stocks and casseroles; toss them into a salad; or use celery leaves as a substitute for cilantro if cilantro isn’t your thing.
Before tossing the coffee grounds in the trash, consider the other uses. If you have a slug problem in your garden, spreading coffee grounds throughout it will deter the little buggers. Coffee grounds also a nice addition to chocolate baked goods; the coffee enhances the chocolate flavour for a richer dessert.
It will be a messy process trying to separate the pumpkin seeds from the guts of the pumpkin, especially if the pumpkin is especially meaty inside — but it’s worth it. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious, nutritious snack that are high in protein and packed full of vitamins and minerals. They’re portable too, so you can toss a handful in a baggie and take them wherever you go.
The best, most nutritious part of the potato is the skin so you really shouldn’t throw them out. If you don’t like smashed potatoes — that is, mashed potatoes with the skin mixed in — save the skin for other uses like frying them up and crumbling them atop salads and steaks to add a welcome crunch.
Remember that scene in “Forrest Gump” when Bubba goes on and on about the myriad shrimp dishes there are. Who knew? The same goes for watermelon rind. There are so many dishes you can make with a watermelon rind that it’ll boggle your mind. I’m talkin’ chutneys, jams, wines, candy, bacon — yes, bacon — and so much more. Check out the full list here.
Like watermelon rinds there are lots of uses for lemon peels, which include various cleaning projects (like the microwave), polishing copper, and refreshing cutting boards, but my personal favourite is deodorising the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal can start to smell as a result of all the pungent foods you’ve stuffed down it. To give it a fresh scent, toss in a few pieces of lemon rind, grind it up, and take a whiff.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Stems
Broccoli stems can be tough and bitter and not all that appetizing, but they don’t have to go straight to the trash. Instead, use the stems to flavour a vegetable stock, use them in stir-fries, puree them in a vegetable smoothie, or shred them up and toss them into a salad.
Do you know of any other food byproducts that are useful in cooking or around the house? Let me know in the comments below.