How to eat citrus skins, banana peels, kiwi skin and watermelon rind.

Are we mindlessly throwing out valuable nutrients from our food? Most of us don’t realize that some of the most nutritious parts of fruits and vegetables are the parts we are tossing into the trash. Food is expensive, and the dollar amount that we pay is tied to the nutrients we should be getting from our produce. Unlike other parts of the world, we have become wasteful with parts of food that we don’t know how to use. Carrot tops, radish greens, broccoli stems, citrus rinds, kiwi skins and more, can be turned into delicious and nutritious additions to our diet.

I took four common fruits and looked into the nutritional value of the parts we are throwing out. The peels from citrus fruits, banana skins, watermelon rind, and kiwi fruit skin. What I discovered was really interesting. We are missing out on valuable nutrition by not consuming these nutrient-dense, fiber-loaded, skins and peels.

The American diet is severely lacking in fiber. Most of our carbohydrates come from vegetables and starchy plants with a low glycemic index, meaning they lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar. We are throwing away parts of plants that actually contain the most fiber and would benefit our health. We are just eating the easy to eat, and in the case of fruit, high sugar content part of the plant, we are missing some valuable nutrients.

Here are some tips to help you get your money and nutrition worth from citrus fruits, bananas, kiwi, and watermelon. Simple little hacks to help you get all the nutrients and health benefits you are paying for. Be sure to buy organic fruit when you are planning to eat the peel or skin, to avoid the residue of pesticides and fertilizers.

dried up piles of citrus peels

Citrus Fruit Rind

Citrus zest not only adds a delicious flavor to foods, but it is also loaded with fiber and macronutrients. Two tablespoons of citrus zest can contain three grams of fiber and five times more vitamin C than the flesh. It also includes other essential vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium

Before eating or juicing your organic citrus fruit wash and dry it carefully. Then peel, grate, or zest the colorful part of the rind, avoiding the bitter white pith. You can add the fresh skin to tea, salad dressings, smoothies, marinades, baked goods, oatmeal, and chia pudding. The dried rind will keep longer and can be added to your everyday cooking.

Click here to get the Dried Citrus Peel Recipe.

baked banana medallions on a plate with cinnamon

Banana Peels

That banana peel is no joke. Most of us eat the banana and toss the peel. The skin happens to be nutrition gold. Bananas contain tryptophan, which boosts serotonin helping to regulate mood and nerve impulses. It is also an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and an alphabet of vitamins. The best way to enjoy banana peels is to make sure you are using the skins from ripe bananas. Riper peels are softer, thinner, and tastier. One of the easiest ways to use banana peels is to cook or boil them for at least 10 minutes to soften. You can then add to smoothies, stir-fries, or soups. Or, you can puree the banana peel and add to muffin or cake batter.

Click here for the Banana Peel Sleep Tea Recipe

Click here for the Baked Cinnamon Banana Bites Recipe

Whole kiwi slices with peel in a smoothie recipe

Kiwi Skin

The skin on kiwi fruit is edible and healthy. Kiwi skin contains much vitamin C as citrus peel and is also higher in fiber than the rest of the fruit. Eating a kiwi, peel and all, ups the fiber by 50 percent, helping to regulate blood sugar. All that fiber helps keeps us full, aiding in weight loss efforts, and naturally lowering LDL cholesterol. The only problem is that the hairy skin on kiwi fruit is unappealing to most people. Here are a few tips to get all the nutrients from your next kiwi fruit.

Adding a whole scrubbed kiwi to a smoothie will help mask the taste and texture of the skin. If you want skin that’s less intense to eat, look for golden or yellow kiwi. These varieties have smoother, thinner skin, and are more enjoyable to eat. Yellow kiwi actually contains twice as much vitamin C as their green counterparts.

Click here to get the Simple Kiwi Smoothie Recipe

watermelon rinds and pickling ingredients

Watermelon Rinds

Watermelon rinds and seeds are rich in nutrients and fiber, and most of us are tossing them out. Watermelon rinds contain the same nutrients found in the fruit, and even higher concentrations of certain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. The tough skin is low in calories and high in micronutrients. Containing vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and zinc, among others. Watermelon rind is a good source of chlorophyll, amino acids, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds.

Click here for the Oven Roasted Watermelon Seeds Recipe

Click here for the Pickled Watermelon Rind Recipe

I am a passionate advocate for food as medicine, life navigator and culinary coach. This is my space for sharing what excites, inspires and motivates me to live my best life. It began as a recipe blog for nourishing, simple, weekday meals and has become something much bigger… a guide to resilient wellness. I am excited to share my knowledge of how daily habits can cumulatively help you to live like you mean it and age like you want to.