What to Do with Pineapple Peels? 3 Ways to Reap Their Benefits
Pineapple is an exotic fruit that is not only delicious but also quite beneficial for digestion, gut health, and immunity. Better yet, all its parts can be used in one way or another, making it zero waste. Yes, even pineapple peels are good, and you can use them in more creative ways and, no, we’re not talking about composting!
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Clever Ways to Use Pineapple Peels Before Composting Them
With its succulent and fragrant pulp, a reasonable price, and just 50 calories per 100 grams, pineapple is a sweet, low-calorie food that we love and can afford to eat regularly. Plus, you can soak its leaf crown in water and grow a pineapple at home from fruit! All that remains is the peels… After consulting the few paragraphs below, you will never throw away the pineapple peels and its core again!
According to scientists, bioactive compounds in pineapple have anti-inflammatory properties and can accelerate the body’s healing and improve the functioning of our nervous system. In addition to the dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals, it is also full of benefits for our intestines and our immune system, among other things. Researchers think it’s thanks to bromelain, the main antioxidant enzyme found in pineapple. The good news? It is concentrated not only in the fruit’s flesh but in its leaves and peels as well!
Hence, pineapple peels, although organic, degradable, and therefore 100% compostable, can be reused much better before going into the composter. But how exactly?
Infuse Your Water with Them
Drinks known in Mexico as agua fresca are fresh fruit juices diluted with water and sweetened with sugar that are often consumed in summer to cool off. To concoct your own fresh water, infuse it with pineapple peels that you have left to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes with cinnamon, ginger and a few lemon slices. Filter the liquid, add water, leave it in the fridge for an hour or more and serve cold with ice cubes.
Similarly, you can prepare a herbal tea and drink it hot in fall and winter, to warm you up and boost your metabolism. Add turmeric to it to make it even healthier and enhance its aroma. If necessary, sweeten your pineapple peel infusion with a little maple syrup. Yum!
Prepare an Anti-Acne Tonic
Considering that topical application of bromelain to the skin relieves acne and removes dead cells, and hence it improved your complexion, you can infuse water with pineapple peels (without adding spices) and use the liquid as a gentle tonic rich in vitamin C.
Making Tepache from Pineapple Peels
Do you know what tepache is? “Tepache de piña” is a traditional pineapple-based drink from South America. To prepare it, we ferment the remains of the pineapple peel and the hard center with a little sugar and spices. It’s naturally probiotic, super tasty and just a little alcoholic due to the short fermentation time (the alcohol content of tepache is around 1%).
How to Make Homemade Tepache?
The easiest way to make your own pineapple peel tepache is to use a fermentation kit. These are simply jars with airlock lids that allow pressure to escape while preventing bacteria and yeast from entering the ferment. For a yield of approximately 8 cups/1900 ml, you will need:
- 1 cup/220 g brown sugar
- the peels and cores of 2 pineapples
- 6 cups/1420 ml of water
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- 2 whole cloves (optional)
Wash the pineapple very well and peel it with a sharp knife, preserving its flesh for another use. Put the pineapple cores and peels in the sterilized jars in advance and add the spices, if you are using them. Dissolve the sugar in 6 cups/1420 ml of lukewarm water, pour the sugar water over the leftover pineapple and close your jars with the airlock lids. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours.
Afterward, open the jars and pass the mixture through cheesecloth. Close them with standard lids and let the mixture ferment at room temperature for another 6 to 12 hours to become gassy. Airlock lids will prevent air bubbles from escaping and the tepache will become bubbly.
After this additional carbonation period, store the tepache in the refrigerator until you are ready to consume it. It keeps well in a cool place for about 2 weeks. Drink it straight, over ice, mixed with sparkling water or beer as part of a chilled cocktail.