As we strive to be more sustainable in our daily lives, one area where we can make a significant impact is reducing food waste. While often we may think of only consuming the main part of a fruit or vegetable, there are many parts that can be consumed and utilized that we may normally throw away. Here are some food parts that you should never throw out:
1. Banana Peels: Most of us eat bananas without giving the peel a second thought. Here’s why that’s a mistake: Banana peels contain trypophan, which boosts serotonin, “the happiness hormone”. To use the peel, go ripe. Riper peels are softer, thinner, and tastier. It is recommended that you boil them for at least ten minutes to soften. Then add to smoothies, stir-fries, or soups. Or pureee and add to muffin or cake batter. For a treat, slice and bake a banana with the skin on.
2. Citrus Peels: The thick outer layer of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes are often wasted. However, these peels are actually rich in antioxidants and contain essential oils, making them a great addition to marinades, dressings and even desserts.
3. Kiwi Skin: If you never thought you could eat a kiwi as you would a peach, think again. That skin, is in fact, really good for you. Kiwi has more fiber than the rest of the fruit. Preserve vitamin C by not peeling kiwi before you store it, since vitamin C decreases once the fruit is exposed to oxygen. If you don’t like the skin’s texture, add a whole kiwi to a smoothie. Be sure to wash all rinds and skins before eating.
4. Watermelon Rind: Just like the flesh of watermelon, the rind is also edible and can be used in different recipes. Just remove the outer green layer, and use the white part in salads, smoothies or cook it like a vegetable.
5. Beet Greens: The leafy tops of beets are rich in important nutrients like vitamin K, iron, and magnesium. They can be sautéed, added to soups or steamed as a side dish.
6. Pineapple Core: When you carve out the core of a pineapple, don’t throw it in the garbage. Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that can reduce nasal and sinus inflammation, mitigate arthritis and muscle pain, and potentially fight cancer. Chop and add the core to fruit salads, slaws, chutneys, salsas, or stir-fries; blend into smoothies; or toss it into water, tea, sangria, or even marinades to enhance flavor.
Overall, there are many parts of fruit that are often thrown away, but can be utilized and eaten in creative and delicious ways. By being mindful of what we throw away, we can reduce food waste and contribute to a more sustainable way of living.