Food Parts You Should Never Throw Out

If you’re throw­ing away these left­over parts of fresh pro­duce, you could be miss­ing out on key nu­tri­ents

Reader's Digest - - Contents - ISADORA BAUM

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,” says Lau­ren Popeck, RD. Chop and add the core to fruit sal­ads, slaws, chut­neys, sal­sas, or stir-fries; blend it into smooth­ies; or toss it into wa­ter, tea, san­gria, or even mari­nades to en­hance fla­vor.

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 skin has more fiber than the rest of the fruit,” says

Kelly R. Jones, MS, RD. “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. (Wash all rinds and skins be­fore eat­ing, of course, us­ing cold wa­ter and a veg­etable brush.)

Onion Skin

When skin­ning an onion, hold on to those scraps, which con­tain a high level of quercetin, a phy­tonu­tri­ent that fights in­flam­ma­tion, re­duces blood pres­sure, pre­vents ar­te­rial plaque, and keeps the heart healthy. Red onion skins con­tain more quercetin than white ones. “Add them along with the rest of the onion to soup, stock, or sauce, then dis­card be­fore eat­ing,” says Popeck. Most of us eat ba­nanas with­out giv­ing the peel a sec­ond thought. Here’s why that’s a mis­take: “Ba­nana peels con­tain tryp­to­phan, which boosts sero­tonin, ‘the hap­pi­ness hor­mone,’” says Popeck. To use the peel, go ripe. “Riper peels are softer, thin­ner, and tastier,” she ex­plains. She rec­om­mends boil­ing them for at least ten min­utes to soften. Then add to smooth­ies, stir-fries, or soups. Or puree and add to muf­fin or cake bat­ter. For a treat, slice and bake a ba­nana with the skin on.

Cit­rus Zest

Don’t just squeeze lemon over fish and toss the rind. Ac­cord­ing to Popeck, there are some great nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits hid­ing in there, in­clud­ing “more than a gram of fiber in two ta­ble­spoons of zest, nearly three times as much vi­ta­min C in the peel than in the flesh, and other es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, such as fo­late, vi­ta­min A, cal­cium, and potas­sium.” Grate the col­ored part of the peel and sprin­kle on green beans; blend into smooth­ies, vinai­grettes, or mari­nades; or stir into yo­gurt, cot­tage cheese, or oat­meal. Or­ange, lime, and grape­fruit zests also add fla­vor and nu­tri­tion with few calo­ries.

Water­melon Rind and Seeds

The de­li­cious red in­sides of water­melon make for a re­fresh­ing snack, but there are pow­er­ful nu­tri­ents in the rind and seeds as well, says Popeck: The white part of the rind “con­tains the amino acid cit­rulline, which is con­verted into argi­nine, which helps to in­crease blood flow, im­prove heart health, boost im­mu­nity, and re­duce mus­cle fa­tigue.”

Add water­melon rind to smooth­ies; chop and add to fruit sal­ads, sal­sas, chut­neys, or slaws; mix into soups with pota­toes and car­rots; or pickle it. As for the seeds, which con­tain mag­ne­sium, iron, fo­late, and other key vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, toss them in olive oil and salt and roast at 350°F for 10 to 15 min­utes. Then sprin­kle on sal­ads or add to trail mix.

Cel­ery Leaves

Cel­ery leaves are rich in mag­ne­sium, cal­cium, and vi­ta­min C. “You can use them in sal­ads, as part of veg­etable stock, or as a gar­nish,” says Il­yse Schapiro, MS, RD.

PHO­TO­GRAPH BY MATTHEW CO­HEN

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