There are several good reasons why you should repurpose your fruit peels and scraps. Tea is one of the ways you can make use of your peels or cores. A big pot of fruit peel tea with spices and fresh ginger is a regular sight in my kitchen.
Benefits of repurposing these parts of your fruits which would otherwise end up in the bin include:
Saving you money
When you buy a pack of fruits, a bunch of bananas, or even a pineapple, you pay for everything. If it is a pack of apples or citrus fruits, you pay for the whole pack including the peels. You pay for the peels in your bunch of bananas. You pay for the peels and crown of the pineapple you buy or any other inedible parts of the fruit you buy. If you can use the whole fruit, doesn’t it make sense to do it?
Do you buy soft drinks to consume at home? Do you drink alcoholic drinks for hydration or as a habit? If you substituted soft drinks and alcohol, a homemade tea using fruit peels would save you money. Alcohol is expensive. The tea will be very cheap in comparison. Since you were going to throw away the peels anyway, that would make it almost free.
How to make the fruit tea
I must confess, I do not stick to a recipe when making my fruit peel tea. I make tea from the different types of peels I have at a given time. I have mentioned that I make a big pot of tea. The reason for the big pot of tea is that over the weekend, I accumulate a lot of fruit peels. I use peels from mango including the seed. I also use peels from pineapple, banana, apple, persimmon, pomegranate, kiwi, citrus fruits, passion fruits, pear, etc for tea.
If you have read my other articles, you may read my article on batch meal preparation. I batch prepare my meals. These include my salads which on occasion will include finely diced apples or even persimmons. I also prep fruits for my morning smoothies. This includes peeling and dicing mangos, some diced peeled kiwis, or other fruits. Sometimes I prepare fruit salads for lunch over the course of the week. I like drinking lemon water first thing in the morning. For the lemon water, I batch-squeeze lemon juice over the weekend. This leaves me with a lot of lemon peel.
It is important to make sure you are using peels from thoroughly washed fruits. This will remove as many chemicals as possible from the peels. Unless organic, fruits may have pesticide residues on their skins. For citrus fruits, consider scrubbing them with a dishwashing sponge. Use a brush to scrub a pineapple to remove as much debris as possible. Tip: soak fruits in bicarbonate of soda water to wash off some of the pesticide residues. If you can afford to, go for organic fruits.
After cleaning the fruits thoroughly. I peel the fruits and save the fruit peel. If I am squeezing lemons or other citrus fruits, I save that too. I normally add pineapple rind and core, banana peel, passion fruit rind, pomegranate rind, lemon rind, orange rind and mango seed to a pot. Add some cinnamon bark, a couple of whole cloves, black peppercorns, whole star anise, and a chili or two. Add water to the pot, and bring to a boil to create a decoction. Once the mixture has boiled for 3 – 5 minutes, remove it from the heat. Add the soft fruit peels (apple, persimmon, kiwi, pear, plum, clementines, etc). These do not need to be boiled. I normally add freshly grated ginger at this point and leave the mixture to infuse.
The exact type of fruit peels and ratios depends on the fruits that I am using at a particular time. The taste will also vary and will depend on the dominant fruit. My favourite tea is one with pineapple peels as that comes through and also banana peels.
I reserve my brew for an evening cup of tea. I usually treat myself to a freshly made mug of hot tea, sweetened with honey and with a dash of lemon juice. After the rest of the tea cools down, it is sieved into glass jars and saved in the fridge to be consumed during the week. I did say I make a potful of tea. You can drink it cold if you fancy. I usually warm it up and drink it unsweetened in the evening. You can sweeten the tea if prefer it sweet.
Health and nutritional benefits
Hydration is important for our bodies. Fruit tea can be one way of staying hydrated. Alcohol and fizzy drinks have negative effects on our health. Why not substitute them with fruit tea? If you drink in the evening out of habit, well this is a good habit to pick. I used to drink wine in the evenings. This was out of habit more than anything else. For a number of years now, I have replaced my glass of wine with a mug of tea. This is good for my liver and also for my brain health.
Fruit tea has various nutritional benefits and may also have some therapeutic benefits.
Many fruit peels contain antioxidants and other compounds which may be beneficial for health. Lemon peel contains limonene which is an antioxidant. Pineapples contain bromelain which fights inflammation. The peels will also contain this enzyme and other nutrients. Banana peels are rich in potassium and dietary fiber. Since bananas contain tryptophan, the peels may also contain this chemical. Tryptophan breaks down and turns into serotonin. Serotonin improves your mood.
The peels and spices will have nutritional and health benefits. The exact quantity of nutrients or beneficial compounds can’t be quantified as some of the nutrients will be lost during boiling for instance. This tea is supposed to be enjoyed alongside a balanced diet.
By using your fruit peels to make tea, you extract nutrients from the peels. These nutrients would have gone to waste. Food waste is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. By hydrating using your homemade tea, you will probably have avoided using some plastic or glass containers from bought drinks. You may also save unrecyclable packaging such as juice cartons from going to landfill.
After extracting the nutrients from the fruit peels, I add the peels to my composter to create nutrients for my garden. If you have the possibility, consider investing in a composter. If you cannot compost, discard your waste in the next most environmentally friendly way. This can be your food bin, to go and create energy, or biogas.
This is one way of repurposing food that would otherwise have been wasted. If you are interested in finding out more about how to waste less food, check out repurposing scraps into new foods or creative ways to repurpose leftover food.