Food | Did You Know | Health

15 Food Scraps That Can Be Used For Clever Purposes

RunjumpsquatFitness (Facebook) | Liz Henry (Flickr)

The common reaction to food scraps or inedible parts of your food is to throw them straight into the garbage without thinking twice about how it could be repurposed.

To be fair, it's not easy to come up with ways to get creative with parts of your food that may go bad in less than a week.  

Here are some clever ways to avoid waste and make the most out of your food. Some of these "scraps" are AMAZING for your health!!

1. Banana Peels

Your mind is going to be blown after reading all these clever ways to use banana peels.

For years I've been throwing this outer skin layer in the garbage, until I saw a friend rubbing her leather with a banana peel.

I first tried this on my leather shoes and the results were quite surprising. It polishes leather as good as products that use harmful chemicals.

All you have to do is rub the inside layer of the banana on your leather, then buff with a cloth.

Another way to get the most out of your banana peels is to rub them on scrapes and bruises. Because bananas are rich in potassium, they can help speed up the healing process.

Banana peels also make a nutritious tea, which has been found to help people's sleeping problems. Bring a pot of water to boil and add one organic banana.

Boil the unpeeled banana for 10 minutes, and then use a strainer to pour the liquid in a mug. Take this tea an hour before you go to bed for best results.

The last banana hack is perfect for plants. Soak the peels in a closed-container filled with water to create a fertilizer.

2. Potato Peels

Potatoes are the most underrated vegetable.

If you're looking to get rid of your under eye circles, lighten your armpits, or naturally dye your hair, this starchy food is the way to go.

Because potatoes are slightly acidic, they are considered a natural dye.

Rub a slice of potato or potato juice under your arms and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then rinse with warm water. If you apply this at least once you day, you'll notice results fast.

You can do the same thing for the dark circles around your eyes. Just rub a thin slice of potato skin on the dark area at least twice a week.

Believe it or not, potatoes can also turn your gray hair back to its natural color. You'll want to boil potato skin and strain the liquid to create a paste that you can massage into your hair after you wash your hair.

You'll have to apply the mixture at least two times a week to reap its benefits.

3. Stale Bread

If you forgot to put your bread in the fridge, and now it's hard as a rock, don't fret.

Forget about making bread crumbs and use your stale bread creatively.

Many years ago, people used stale bread to erase lead pencil marks.

Now we have erasers to do that for us, but you can use the crust to clean smudges, marks, and crayon stains on your walls.

When bread becomes stale, it turns almost rubber-like or becomes similar to a sponge.

So if you want to avoid the mess of what an eraser does, get the bang for your buck and remove the marks on your walls with your solid bread before you throw it out.

4. Egg Shells

Eggs shells are gooey and the first thing you want to do is toss them out, but do your garden and plants a favor and resist that urge.

Grind your eggshells with your hands, a grinder, or a mortar and pestle and put those pieces on the soil of your plants.

The nutrients in the eggshells will absorb into the plant roots, which essentially serves as a fertilizer.

These shells can also be bird food and keeps pests, like slugs, away from your garden.

5. Orange Peels

The peel of an orange contains a substance known as limonene, which pests absolutely hate. If you've got an ant problem, you've got to try this hack.

Save your orange peels, put them in a blender with some water, and apply this mixture around places you have ant infestation.

I usually put this mixture in a small spray bottle to take around with me everywhere I go, especially when I'm camping.

Mosquitoes also hate the smell of orange peels, so spray some on your clothes before you leave the house, your porch or, if you're camping, around your tent.

6. Onion Skin

According to Reader's Digest, a 2011 study in Europe found that 500,000 tons of onion waste is thrown away each year.

That's a lot of skin and bulb being thrown out when they can put to good use!

Surprisingly, the flaky wrapping around the onion, and basically every other part that you throw out, is rich with nutrients that will do wonders for your health.

This part of the vegetable is believed to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and prevent your arteries from clogging up.

Instead of throwing them out, wash them carefully and add them to a broth. Don't forget to remove the skins before serving.

This part of the onion will also give your soup or stew a rich flavor.

7. Peanut Shells

If you're scratching your head wondering how these shells could be repurposed, I thought the same thing a few years ago.

The more you accumulate, the better these peanut shell hacks will work.

The first way you can put these shells to good use is to crush them and spread them on your icy sidewalks or steps. They'll work as great as salt to prevent you from falling to your doom.

If icy steps are not a problem for you, crush them and pack them in boxes to secure your fragile items.

Another creative way to use peanut shells that will save you tons of money is to make kitty litter out of them.

To do this, soak the shells and add a little bit of dish soap and baking soda.

8. Lemon Peels

Lemon zest is commonly used to garnish dishes and marinade foods, but lemon peels can be used for more than just that.

The citric acid in lemons can remove grease, stains, and soap scum.

You can also freshen up just about anything in your home and on your body by rubbing lemon peels on it.

For example, you can deodorize those lingering odors on your hands after you've touched meat or garlic by rubbing lemon on them.

I usually place lemon peels in my garbage to absorb foul odors.

9. Watermelon Rind

If you stop eating a watermelon slice after you finish the red center part, you need to stop doing that.

While that part of the watermelon is the most delicious, it's not the most nutritious.

The white rind is hard to chew, but putting it in a blender and making it into a smoothie will help you reap all its amazing nutritional benefits.

The white rind contains vitamin C and B6, which is great for your skin, immune and nervous system.

That's not all watermelons do!

Science says that this fruit is an aphrodisiac and may have "Viagra-like effects on the body," according to U.S. News.

But here's the catch, you need to eat that "inedible part," which is the white rind.

10. Pumpkin Filling

Whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin, a natural pumpkin mask will cleanse your skin, open up your pores, and keep your skin moisturized and looking healthy.

So next time you have the urge to throw out the filling in your pumpkin, stop yourself.

The mesh inside is filled with vitamins A, C, E, retinoic acid, and zinc. Add some honey, milk, and cinnamon to your mask for best results.

If your skin is more on the dry side, add some brown sugar. If your skin is on the opposite end, add a bit of cranberry juice.

11. Corn Silk

If you're starting to get the idea that you should never throw any of your food scraps away, you're on the right track.

Even the strands of silk on your corn can be put to good use.

Every time I see people at grocery stores removing the husks and silk off their corn and tossing in the trash can, I almost lose it and want to tell them about all the amazing health benefits they're missing out on!

This part of your corn contains certain proteins, vitamins, and minerals that can be used for bladder infections, kidney stones, and inflammation.

To reap these benefits and flush out toxins in your body, brew corn silk to make a delicious tea.

12. Expired Cooking Oils

Most people would rather not consume a product that's way past its expiry date, and I don't blame them.

Once a food product expires, it could potentially be bad for your health, lose its flavor, or won't serve its dietary purpose anymore.

Expired cooking oils like olive and grapeseed oil will lose their flavor overtime, but instead of throwing them straight into the garbage, put these oils to good use.

You can apply a little bit of olive oil on your door hinges or zippers to soften them up.

Olive oil is also perfect to naturally remove makeup. I usually dip a cotton ball in some olive oil to wipe off my eye makeup.

Just make sure your don't put too much on the cotton ball or else the olive oil might get into your eyes and irritate them.

If the backs of your hands and your heels are extremely dry and cracked, rub olive, grapeseed, or coconut oil to soften them up.

13. Cantaloupe Seeds

Save every single one of those cantaloupe seeds! Believe me, you'll be so happy you did.

Once you remove the seeds from the fruit, wash them in a small colander, removing the mesh.

Then put the seeds in a bowl and mix them with sea salt. Once that's done, spread them out on tin foil and roast them in the oven for five to 10 minutes.

You can spit the outer shell out and just eat the seed, or you can eat the whole thing.

Just be warned, after you roast them, the shell is quite hard to chew.

These seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins that you'd be crazy to miss out on.

14. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds smell amazing, and the things you can do with them are quite amazing too.

I prefer to save these grounds for my garden. I don't have a ton, but what I do have, I mix in with the other organic matter in my plants to become a fertilizer.

You can also sprinkle the grounds on your soil, but don't put too much.

I find that coffee grounds tend to clump, and the more you put in your garden, the more it affects how the plant grows.

If your garden gets infested with slugs, coffee grounds can help to keep them at bay.

15. Pineapple Crown

After growing my own pineapple plant, I've been trying to get all my friends to do it too!

It's so simple to grow, and this fruit will bring life to your kitchen.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Twist the crown off a fresh pineapple you just bought, and leave it on your kitchen table for a few days.

2. Put the roots of the crown in a glass of water and leave it for a few days until the roots grow out at least an inch.

3. Now plant the roots in a flower pot, firming the fresh soil around it.

4. Use a spray bottle to water your pineapple every day. Make sure the soil is never wet; It should only be moist.

Which food scraps will you put to good use?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for almost a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.