Waste Not, Want It!

Remember MacGyver, that clever TV spy? He’d be in a precarious situation—say, in a jail cell in a faraway place—and he’d gather what he had to escape and save the day. While we may not need to turn wire, a shard of glass, and lint into a detonating device, we can appreciate his resourcefulness. This magazine celebrates the three R’s—reduce, reuse, and recycle—and in this issue, we look at produce scraps in the kitchen. Who knew you could use these castoffs to help solve a myriad of problems? Read on to see how banana peels, parsley stems, apple cores, and citrus peels can make your life even better. MacGyver would be proud.


Parsley Stems

1. Enjoy a Foot Bath.

Add parsley stems to a small tub of hot water and allow them to steep. Soak your feet in the mixture and relax. The parsley will naturally deodorize your feet. Plus, it feels amazing.

2. Make Infused Oils.

Save the stems of heartier herbs, like parsley or rosemary. Allow the fragrant stems to steep in oil (olive oil works great) for several hours to a few days. When you make a salad or sauté eggs, you’ll have a fragrant infused oil that also tastes great.

3. Whip Up a Pesto.

Toss parsley, cilantro, or basil stems into a food processor with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to make an instant pesto or chimichurri sauce. It’s fantastic on top of pasta, a baked potato, or sautéed vegetables.

4. Sip on Parsley Tea.

Add parsley stems, fennel seeds, and honey to boiling water. Allow it to steep for a few minutes. This homemade tea is rich in iron and vitamins A, B, and C. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and, yes, it’s delicious.

5. Make your Own Stock.

When you make homemade vegetable stock using veggie trimmings, include herb stems to add a complex flavor that can’t be beat. Toss a variety of them right into the water or capture them all in cheesecloth before tossing into your stock

Citrus Peels

6. Degrease your Microwave.

Fill a bowl with water and lots of lemon peels. Nuke it on high for five minutes. The citrusy steam will eradicate spills and splatters. Just wipe it all down with a clean towel.

7. Clean your Garbage Disposal.

Toss citrus peels and rinds down the disposal with cubes of ice. Turn on the water and disposal. The citrus will kill germs and deodorize; the ice will sharpen the blades.

8. Make a Powerful Cleaner.

Soak orange peels and white vinegar in a jar for a week. Then mix the citrusy vinegar with water at a 1:1 ratio and spray away. It’ll become your favorite degreasing, all-purpose cleaner.

9. Freshen your Thermos.

Toss in some salt, lemon peels, and ice with a little water. Place the cap on, shake, and rinse. It’ll be fresh, clean, and like new.

10. Boost your Dishwasher.

Toss squeezed lemons right into the dishwasher. This simple action will serve double duty—it will get your dishes cleaner and freshen your dishwasher, too.

11. Disinfect your Cutting Board.

After you’ve squeezed a lemon, rub it all over a cutting board with a sprinkling of salt. It will lift stains, kill germs, and deodorize.

12. Keep Brown Sugar Fresh.

Drop a few lemon or orange peels into a bag of brown sugar. It’ll help retain the moisture so the sugar stays nice and soft.

Apple Cores

13. Make Apple Water.

We all know we need to drink more water, so why not naturally flavor a pitcher of H20? Just toss a few apple cores—seedsremoved—into filtered water to give it a crisp, fruity taste.

14. Mix Pink-Apple Tea.

Steep red apple peels, cinnamon, and honey in boiling water. The mixture will become a bright, pink tea that’s rich in potassium, calcium, and Vitamin C. You can also freeze the tea to make pink ice cubes.

15. Add Peels to Smoothies.

Apple peels have a tremendous amount of fiber and natural sugar,so they make an excellent addition to your smoothies. Store them in a freezer bag until you’re ready to toss them into the blender.

16. Restore Aluminum Cookware.

Whether it’s bakeware or pots and pans, just toss apple cores and peels into a few cups of water and bring everything to a boil. Pour over your cookware and watch the natural acid help to lift the stains.

17. Enjoy Apple-Peel Chips.

Just toss peels with a little melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon and bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350°F until crispy and crunchy.

18. Make Apple-Core Juice.

Remove the seeds and boil in water with a heaping spoonful of natural sweetener, such as honey or agave syrup, for 30 minutes. Remove the cores, strain, and allow the mixture to cool. Store in a lidded glass jar in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy it.

Banana Peels

19. Polish a Leather Shoe.

Believe it or not, the main ingredient in leather shoe polish is potassium— and a banana is rich in that. Just wipe the white side of a peel against your shoe and buff with a clean cloth.

20. Grow a Garden.

Bury banana peels in the garden. The potassium feeds plants and helps boost their immunity against diseases.

21. Shine Up a Plant.

Use the fleshy side to dust and buff leaves of your houseplants, thick waxy leaves work best for this tip

22. Soothe a Bite.

Rub the inside of the peel against an itchy bite. It contains something called polysaccharides, which help naturally reduce swelling and inflammation.

23. Buff a CD or DVD.

Scratches can cause movies or music to skip. Gently buff the disc with the inside of the peel to smooth out scratches. Wipe with a clean cloth.

24. Make Banana-Peel Tea.

Steep a banana peel in boiling water and sip away. Just be sure to wash the peel before steeping. Sip before you sleep; the peel is rich in magnesium which helps promote sound slumber.