We’ve been told not to waste our food since we were children.
But are we wasting more food than we realise by chucking away the best bits out of habit?
Many fruits and vegetables have leaves, skin, rinds and peels that have just as many health benefits – sometimes MORE – than the fruit and veg themselves.
We spoke to Laurence Beeken, Food Information Executive at Weight Loss Resouces, about the common health-boosting foods people chuck away – and how to include them in our diets.
Onion / Garlic Skin
It’s the first thing we bin when we’re chopping up our veg, but onion and garlic skin is rich in quercetin, a plant flavonoid that contains many health-boosting antioxidants. Quercetin can also help to reduce the release of histamine so may be a useful ingredient for hayfever sufferers. Add it to veggie stocks and soups – but remove just before serving.
It’s not exactly easy on your palette, but melon rind is rich in citrulline, an amino acid which can help boost blood circulation and dilate blood vessels. Blend it with the flesh of a melon for a tasty and nutritious smoothie.
The florets might be the first bit we go for, but broccoli leaves contain carotenoids – a powerful plant pigment that the body can turn into Vitamin A and that also helps to prevent cancer. Just cook them as you would cook broccoli normally.
Did you know that the leaves contain five times more calcium and magnesium than the stalks? They also contain vitamin C and phenolics – powerful anti-oxidants that can help fight cancer, heart disease AND ageing. Result. Simply use them as you would celery normally, so add it uncooked to soups, salads and sauces.
We all know the health benefits of green leafy vegetables, and chard especially is one of the healthiest veggies going But the stems are actually just as good for us as the leaves because they're also packed with antioxidants. Cook stems in the same way you would asparagus – so steam or boil depending on which way you prefer.
Packed full of vitamin C, oranges can help boost the immune system naturally – but the peel itself is a powerhouse of fibre and vitamins. Add the peel to a delicious smoothie – whizzed up, of course!
We have to admit, we’re guilty of just chopping up the florets and chucking the stalk in the bin. But the stems have a lovely sweet flavour and are actually higher in fibre than the florets. They take a couple more minutes to cook so just chuck them into a pan of salted bowling water before cooking the rest.
The hairy part of the kiwi fruit contains three times more anti-oxidants than the pulp and is thought to have anti-cancer and anti-allergenic properties too. Add the skin along with the pulp in a juicer for a morning boost.
What other foods do you eat that other people throw away? Tell us on Twitter now or let us know in the comments below.