Many advocacies now revolve around upcycling food to minimize waste and help the environment. Food scraps take up a huge amount of our trash. Fortunately, these can be salvaged for other surprising and amazing uses.
It may not be every day that you peel and cut up pineapples when they are readily available in a can. But whenever fresh pineapple fruit is available, it is always best to choose the real thing. Unlike processed pineapples, fresh and organic ones are oozing with flavor and are packed with natural vitamins. But after the tedious process of peeling a pineapple, what about the peel?
Basically, for most people, pineapple peels land up in the trash. Not for you though. Here are some ways you can upcycle pineapple peels and cores to put them to more beneficial uses.
Uses of Pineapple Peels
The tough and spiky rinds of pineapple are as valuable and nutrient-dense as its pulp. It has a high concentration of bromelain which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. When consumed, it releases bromelain that helps reduce bouts of cold and swollen sinuses, as well as swelling from an injury.
Make Pineapple Peel Tea
Pineapple peel is inedible, yet you can still reap its benefits by turning it into a refreshing tea. It is rich in antioxidants and high in Vitamin C to boost your immune system. Pineapple is also highly-valuable for its heart health-promoting properties.
Prepare your healthy dose of pineapple tea by simmering its peel in a pot of water. You may add a cinnamon stick or powder to it to add a little distinctive aroma. Let it simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, strain and enjoy. You can add a sweetener like stevia or honey if you want.
Pineapple peel tea is low in calories but laden with water and fiber to keep the feeling of satiety longer. If you want to avoid overeating, take a glass of juiced pineapple peel before a meal. It will keep your stomach feeling full and curb cravings.
Alternatively, you can turn it into a cold refreshing drink by letting it cool before adding ice cubes.
Prepare a Juice
Blending pineapple peel releases its active compounds to boost your intake of nutrients. It adds more fiber and phytonutrients for extra health protection. Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain is responsible for fighting inflammation, slowing blood clotting and interfering with tumor cells.
Give yourself a healthy treat by soaking pineapple peel in water and then boiling it for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture into a sieve or strainer to extract the juice. Sweeten to taste and refrigerate until needed. You can reach out for this mix anytime you need to quench your thirst or cool down.
Smooth out Wrinkles
Pineapple is a natural astringent that tightens the skin to smoothen fine lines. Its vitamin C content is also vital in improving skin health. Bromelain washes away dead skin to leave you with better glowing skin.
For many of your skin troubles, gently rub pineapple skin over your face. You may also make tea out of the peel if you feel direct skin contact is too harsh for you. Massage it all over your face before rinsing it with cold water.
Treat Sallow Skin
Sallow skin or discoloration occurs as people age. It is identified by paler, browner or yellower skin that is quite different from the overall complexion. Aside from the uneven skin tone, rough and scaly patches may also occur, dimming the skin’s natural glow.
Chemical exfoliants may be used to reverse sallow skin. Or, you can prepare your own holistic skincare regimen with a natural product. Prepare juice from the pineapple peel by soaking and blending it with a little water. Take honey, turmeric and some milk and make a paste with the pineapple juice. Apply it all over the affected area before washing it with lukewarm water.
Soften Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses in feet, hands, toes and fingers are common especially as you get older. They develop as the skin’s defense against friction and pressure lessens. Although they are generally painless, they can be uncomfortable and you might want to get rid of them immediately.
The remedy for corn is softening the skin using a pumice stone or nail file. Or, you can wash the area with lukewarm water and take some of those leftover pineapple skin. Apply it on the corn and wrap it with a bandage to soak the skin overnight. Remove the bandage and apply castor oil the next morning. Do this every night for about a week until you see results.
Relieve Clogged Nose
Flu and colds can take a toll on your daily life and can stretch to about a week of illness. To speed up recovery, you need to rest, hydrate with plenty of water, or reinforce it with soaked pineapple peel water. Pineapple gives you a dose of immune health-boosting Vitamin C to ward off sickness and shorten its duration. It also cures the inflammation of the sinuses and airways as well as reduces mucus production.
Melatonin is naturally produced in the body but tends to decline as we age. Increasing melatonin levels keeps the body in a state of quiet wakefulness and relaxation which induces sleep. There are many fruits that can boost melatonin and pineapple is one of the top-ranking fruits.
Taking pineapple peel juice two hours before bedtime can help calm your nerves. It helps your muscles relax so your body can eventually fall into a deep and restful sleep.
Tepache is a Mexican homemade brew from pineapple peels. It is not just a refreshing beverage but is also a remedy for many health issues. Tepache is used as a diuretic to cure water-retention problems.
Nowadays, different variations of this fermented cocktail are made. But whatever the ingredients, a tepache is not complete without the signature pineapple peel. It is simple to prepare tepache but you will need to wait for a few days for the fermentation.
To make tepache, dissolve ½ cup piloncillo (raw cane sugar) or just brown sugar in 4 ½ cups water and stir until dissolved. Add pineapple peels and its core in a pot of water with a stick of cinnamon and stir well. Cover the pot with a dish towel at room temperature and allow it to ferment for 24 to 36 hours.
The tepache is fermenting if you notice a frothy foam on the surface. Otherwise, you can continue brewing it for one more day. Strain the drink and discard all the solids, then put it in the refrigerator. Serve with ice or dilute with more water if desired.
According to studies, pineapple peel juice is an excellent drink for enhancing sexual performance. Bromelain boosts testosterone in men, enhancing their sex drive.
Add a touch of pineapple to your vinegar dressing for a fresh twist on salads and sautés using pineapple vinegar. Pineapple vinegar is similar to apple cider vinegar with the same health benefits. It can improve digestion, reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system by letting it absorb maximum nutrients.
Here is the pineapple vinegar recipe.
- ½ pineapple chunks with skin on
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 whole cloves
- In a clear glass jar, dissolve brown sugar in water.
- Add the pineapple and cloves.
- Cover the jar with a cloth and fasten it with a rubber band.
- Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.
- Stir regularly for 3 to 4 weeks or longer until it acquires an acidic vinegar-like taste.
- Strain the liquid in a glass jar and discard the solids. Store it in a cool place for it to last for up to a year.
Uses of Pineapple Cores
Like the peel, pineapple core is also almost always taken for granted. Since it is quite tough, it often ends up in the dumps after cutting off the pulp. Little did we know, the stout core is also chock full of nutrients and deserves to be repurposed.
Give your drinks a tropical twist by adding a dollop of pineapple syrup to taste. Pineapple is a great addition to cocktails, and many liquors like mojitos and gins. It can turn bland water into an instant delicious soda. Pineapple syrup is also used for the famous piña colada or for flavoring anything you can think of, including ice cream.
Make pineapple syrup by adding 1 cup of pineapple core, 3 oz lemon rind and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer until the mixture thickens. Strain into a bowl, pressing it well to extract all the liquid.
Transfer the pineapple syrup to a bottle and store it in a fridge where it can keep for about a month.
Pineapple has a versatile flavor that can go well with a variety of dishes and drinks. Save that pineapple core so you can pop them into the blender as you prepare any smoothie. It gives the drink a sweet-acidic taste and a handful of nutrients that your body will thank you for.
Pineapple Ice Cubes
Give your water or cocktail a twist by adding pineapple core ice cubes into it without watering it down. Instead of throwing pineapple core, cut it into small chunks and chuck it into the refrigerator in a freezer bag. You can use these as ice cube replacements or garnish for any beverage.
It is easy to label pineapple peels and cores as food waste due to their hard and tough characteristics. While they seem useless, it is interesting to know there are endless ways you can use them. It could be either for food or for treating health conditions, pineapple really has a lot in store.
So, the next time you grab a piece, you know what to do after peeling and coring it. With some effort, you can turn these into powerful remedies.