What to Do with Your Fruit and Veggie Peels

The skinny on fruits and veggies? Don't discard the peels; instead chow down to up the nutrient factor

Use nutrient-rich apple peels in sandwiches

Don’t discard your fruit or veggie peels! Here’s how to use them to your benefit

Eating five or more daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do to support good health. To get the most nutrients from your produce, don’t forget to eat the peel.

The greatest concentration of nutrients, phytochemicals and fibre in popular fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots and potatoes lies in or directly below the peel. To eat the peel, all that’s required is a thorough scrub of the skin using fresh water. Although many people opt to peel them, eggplant and cucumber skins are edible too.

Tips for Using Your Peels

  • Citrus peels are especially rich in nutrients and add great flavour to dishes. If you’ve got leftover lemon or orange skins, use a grater to harvest the zest, and then store it in an airtight container in the freezer for later use in cooking or baking.
  • Use leftover fresh potato peels to make delicious homemade crisps. Evenly coat the peels with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil. Then, spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F/205°C for 10 minutes until golden brown. Spice them up with a pinch of salt and chili pepper.
  • Add peels to a sandwich. Try using apple peels or unpeeled cucumbers as a complement to cheese in a sandwich, or add carrot peels to meatloaf for an extra nutrition boost.

Of course, not all peels are edible. Melons, squash and most root vegetables should be peeled.

Tip: To retain vitamin C levels, peel fruits and vegetables right before eating or preparing them for cooking. Fruits that are cut and then stored in the fridge can lose up to 25% of their vitamin C and carotenoids after six days. Storing them in airtight containers reduces these losses.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.