Cooking Hack: 8 Delicious Snacks from Peels and Rinds

Most people pitch the peels and rinds from their fruits and vegetables, but as a money-wise cook, I'm here to tell you that these supposed scraps are actually valuable sources of nutrients. Even better, they're packed with delicious flavors. Next time you chop produce for dinner, save the scraps so you can turn them into a tasty snack. The following eight ideas will help you start making delicious snacks from peels and rinds.

  1. Roast Potato Skins
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    Although many recipes call for peeling potatoes, the skins are one of the healthiest parts of this vegetable. Therefore, turning potatoes into an oven-roasted snack is a great use for these scraps. The trick is to roast the peels as soon as you remove them from the potatoes so they don't turn pink. Fortunately, preparing potatoes skins for the oven is quick and easy as all you have to do is toss them in olive oil and seasonings. After just 15 or 20 minutes of roasting, your potato snack will be ready.

  2. Spread Cucumber Peels on Your Sandwiches

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    A creamy spread made with cucumber scraps works well on any sort of bread, but it is especially suited to snack-sized finger sandwiches. It also makes a tasty topping for crackers. This recipe begins with plain cream cheese, which is flavored with chopped cucumber peels and greens. Smashing the veggie elements as you stir them into the soft cheese helps the flavors meld. Prosciutto or bacon add depth, but the spread is cheaper, healthier and suitable for vegetarians if you leave it out.

  3. Make a Sweet Treat with Apple Peels

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    Although apple peels can be tasty on their own without any additional preparation, drying them in a low-temperature oven can be even more delicious. With a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, this snack has a sweet flavor that's reminiscent of apple pie. Since the oven is kept at only 200 degrees for this recipe, it will take about 2.5 hours of cooking time before the peels are ready, but it's mostly hands-off time.

  4. Candy Citrus Rinds for an Old-fashioned Dessert

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    Nearly any sort of citrus rinds can be turned into a sugary snack; this includes oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes and more. The only other required ingredients are water and sugar, so this can be a very low-cost recipe. However, to avoid unpleasant chemical scents during cooking, it's advisable to use organic fruits. To make a full batch of candied peels, you'll need about 4 cups of citrus scraps, but you can save them in the freezer until you accumulate enough. For an extra element of indulgence, dip your candied peels into melted chocolate.

  5. Blend Banana Peels into Your Smoothie

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    Banana peels contain fiber, magnesium and vitamin B12. Because they can be tough, most people avoid eating them, but blending them into a smoothie makes more appealing. Even still, the two ends are too tough to use in this recipe, so chop them off and throw them away. The peels become sweeter as bananas ripen, so if you wait until the fruit is brown, you may not need to add sweetener to your smoothie. In addition to the peel, use an apple and some milk for this recipe. For additional flavor and protein, toss in some nuts and a scoop of nut butter.

  6. Brew Tea with Pineapple Scraps

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    Pineapple is a tropical treat, and pineapple drinks are like summer in a glass. Pineapple tea is delicious whether you serve it hot or cold. No tea leaves are required for this tropical drink; instead, cinnamon, ginger and pineapple scraps, such as the core and the rind, are steeped in water until it's flavorful. This refreshing drink makes a great pick-me-up at any time of day. If your drink is an after-work treat, a splash of alcohol turns this tropical beverage into an adult indulgence.

  7. Pickle Watermelon Rinds for a Tangy Treat

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    If you have time on your side, you can prepare a batch of watermelon rind pickles to enjoy in a few days. Mixing up the pickling liquid requires a rather lengthy list of ingredients, such apple cider vinegar, whole peppercorns and pickling spice, but the process is fairly easy. Once the liquid is prepared, submerge the rinds–including the green and white portions and a slim strip of the red flesh–in the mixture. Strain and boil the liquid a few times over the next few days, and soon, you'll have a pickled treat to enjoy with chicken salad, cheese or lunch meat.

  8. Season Crunchy Chickpeas with Lemon Zest

    If you've never roasted chickpeas in the oven, you're missing out. These little round legumes become a crunchy snack that's just right for popping in your mouth by the handful. Oil and salt are the common way to season roasted chickpeas, and you can give this snack a whole new flavor by adding lemon zest. The tiny flakes of lemon rind are sprinkled over the snack once the pan comes out of the oven.

Are you brave enough to cook with produce scraps? I feel accomplished whenever I turn “scraps” into delectable munchies. Let me know in the comments which of these suggestions for peels and rinds is your favorite. Sharing this article with your friends will help them become savvy savers in the kitchen, too.

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