Fruit peels. I am probably the first (or at least, I was) person to just chuck ‘em on the compost heap. Partly because I grew up in the country and that’s just what you do with old, decomposable vegetation. It’s good for the garden. Brings nutrients to the soil, gives the crop next year a boost.
If you really pressured me to come up with a second and third use for peels I could give you lemon rind for sprucing up furniture and using apples peels to make jelly.
But then I did research. Lots and lots of research. Turns out, you can use fruit peels pretty much anywhere in your home. To make this easy, I’ve divided it up by use: home, beauty (ugh, I hate calling things that), recipes.
Anything to keep your skin soft and clear or whatever else needs to happen.
- Skin Revitalising
If, for some reason heretofore unknown to me, you choose not to eat your peach with the skin on, you can sprinkle a bit of sugar onto the inside of the skin and then use that as a gentle scrub.
Also called skin toners that tighten your pores, you just need to rub the peel onto your face. Then wash the juice from your face with warm water.
- Reduce Eye Puff
Went out last night? Gotta work this morning? Stare at a computer screen all day? Use potato peels for the same benefits you get from cucumber. Lay them over your eyes and reduce those dark circles or the puffy bags.
- Feet Soothers:
Papaya skin can kelp ease the pain of dry or cracked feet. Papaya skins have high levels of vitamin A and papain which help refresh your feet.
- Citrus Peels
Dried citrus peels in bathwater. Soften your skin, brighten, enliven, plus yummy smells.
- Banana Scrub
Put sugar on the fleshy side of a banana peel, use it as a softening scrub all over your body.
When I say ‘home’ I’m referring to general cleanliness, cleaning furniture, nice smells, you name it, this is the comprehensive list.
- Seedling Pots:
Hollow out your fruit: watermelon, grapefruit, oranges, lemon, avocado… if you take those hollowed out peel-cups and plant a seed inside them, you can plant them in the spring as biodegradable planters (plus, get the jump start on healthy plants during early spring).
- Coffee Pots:
Lemon rind + salt + ice = clean coffee pots. This is a trick my grandmother uses and I totally forgot about it till I did some asking. Chuck all your ingredients into the pot, let it mellow for a few minutes, swirl it around. Clean coffee pot.
- Kettle Cleaner
Mineral deposits are a problem if you use well water (did I mention I was from the country?) in your kettles. My great-grandma boils lemon peels in her kettle for an hour. Drain and rinse.
All peels can be turned into potpourri. Pomegranate, orange, grapefruit, apple peels, etc, can be dried on the counter (or, more effectively the oven on low heat) and then display it in a dish wherever you need some yummy smells.
- Soften Brown Sugar:
Difficulty keeping your brown sugar soft? Throw a piece of peel (no pitch or pulp) into the bag. Voila!
- Brighten Metals
Any and all citrus fruits with polish up metals. The citric acid works wonders on copper or brass to shine it up. A bit of baking soda and then a quick scrub with your peels and everything should be bright and shiny.
- Homemade Dye
Pomegranate skins make a great red/pink dye. Take the peels, let them sit overnight in water, and then simmer them in the morning . Take the peels out, and put your (wet) fabric into the pot, let it simmer for an hour and then let it cool overnight.
Conversely! Ground avocado pits make a beautiful pink dye. Same process.
- Grease Fighting
Baking soda or salt sprinkled over your counter then rubbed citrus peel all over. Swift wipe with a cloth – all clean!
- Melon Bowls
Okay, I love the trick. Cut your melon in half. Then use a melon baller or an ice cream scoop, or a very round spoon. Empty the halves, completely. Refill them with your newly balled melons and there you are.
- Protect Your Houseplants
You can use the inside of a banana peel to keep you houseplants shiny, plus it works as a fertilizer and pesticide.
You can also use citrus leaf to rub your plant leaves and keep your cat from eating them (I am so going to try this.)
Need a nice smelling fire over the holidays? Burn dried peel for kindling. It’s a wonderful smell.
- Smelly Places
Use dried peel in sock drawers, near gym bags, near hockey or football equipment (I played football, that stuff gets foul).
Boil citrus peels in water to spread a wonderful scent throughout your home.
- Clean Your Shoes
Orange peels will take any tar off your shoes. Use the inside of the peel.
- Bug repellent
All you need is to rub the peel on your skin to keep the mosquitos away. Reapply once every few hours.
Put a bunch of peels into a blender with some water. Pour it onto an anthill. Problem solved.
This seems so weird, but you can make a bunch of really awesome things from the leftovers that you wouldn’t normally use.
- Apple Jelly:
So you’ve just made apple pie, peeled all those apples, and now you’re loaded with the spare strips and cores. So what do you do? You grab your extras, chop everything up real fine, get every last bit off the cores you can. Slice the peels up fairly fine. The other things you needs are lemon zest, water, sugar, and if you like spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). Reduce it all together and bam – apple jelly.
- Citrus Zest
Up there ^ I mention using lemon zest. Here’s how you make your own. Before you get to dissecting your lemon for it’s innery goodness, zest the lemon. Let the zest sit on parchment paper on your counter for a day, when it’s dry, store it in a jar. (You can also freeze zest if you don’t mind that freezer-y taste that sometimes happens)
- Potato Crisps
Probably one of my favourite things on this list. Use old potato skins to make your own chips. Mix them with just enough olive oil to coat them (less than you think) and a bit of lemon juice. Bake them at 400° for 10 minutes. Season them accordingly.
- Stop Diarrhea
Boil pomegranate skin with a stick of cinnamon. Drink the mixture after it’s cooled. If you make a lot, it can be kept in the fridge for about a week.
- Citrus Powder
Remove the pith from the citrus rind and let it dry for a few days. Chuck it all into a blender and blend till it’s a powder. If you mix it with cracked black pepper, you’ve got lemon pepper. If you mix it with sugar you’ve got citrus sugar.
- Citrus Oil
Strip the pith, then pound your peels in with a mortar and pestle, put a bit of olive oil (or honey, or vinegar) into the mix. Store the oil with or without the peel in clean jars. Use them wherever you like.
- Citrus Peel in Smoothie
Just chuck that peel into your morning smoothie. Extra nutrients for your morning smoothie.
Throw your peels, and spare veggie parts (even herb stems) into a pot, reduce for an hour or two. Strain. New veggie stock. (Tip: You can also throw cheese rinds – not the wax – into the stock to give it an added boost.)
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