It's easy to get into the habit of throwing out stems, stalks, peels and skins when preparing fruits and vegetables. Think twice before you toss them out; you may be throwing high-quality food down the drain!
Learn what fruits and vegetables have edible outer coverings and choose organic when you plan on eating the peel or skin. Take a look at the following tips for inspiration on how you can get more mileage out of fruits and vegetables.
1. Orange peels
The white, pithy flesh on the inside of orange peels is packed full of bioflavonoids which enhance your body's utilization of the vitamin C in the orange. The bioflavinoids hesperidin and diosmin found in the orange pith may also help to heal varicose veins and improve the appearance of your skin. Simply scrape off the inner white part of the peel with your teeth. You might find you enjoy eating it more than the orange segments!
2. Kiwi skin
Many people don't know that the skin of a kiwi fruit is edible. Thinly slice the kiwi fruit and leave the skin on. The taste and texture complement one another nicely when prepared this way. If you peel off the skin and throw it away, you are missing out on added fiber, vitamin C, and even omega 3 fatty acids!
3. Beet greens
Beet roots are well known as a nutritional powerhouse but many people neglect the greens. Don't trash the tops! They contain many vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron vitamins A, C and K, folic acid and more. Beet greens make a delicious side dish lightly sautéed with some garlic and olive oil. You can also juice the stems and leaves.
4. Broccoli stems + leaves
When eating raw or steamed broccoli, many people prefer the florets to the stems and leaves, but the they can also be tasty when prepared in a way that works with their taste and texture. Use julienned stems in a slaw with cabbage and carrots or add sliced stems and leaves to a stir fry.
5. Veggie scraps
Don't throw away the ends of carrots or celery, potato skins, onion and garlic skins, the stem of cauliflower or carrot tops! Throw them in a bag in the freezer and make a vegetable stock when the bag is full. Add to last night's chicken carcass for an almost free chicken stock. Bonus tip: Freeze the stock in ice cube trays as a healthier alternative to bouillon cubes. Add a broth cube when cooking quinoa, rice or veggies for extra flavor and nutrition.
6. Juice Pulp
If you make your own fresh fruit and vegetable juice, keep the pulp. It adds bulk and nutritional fiber into recipes like veggie burgers, soups and sauces. You can also blend it into a smoothie, bake it into muffins and breads, or even dehydrate it into crackers!