Let’s talk a little about kitchen scraps that have underappreciated qualities. Yes, these are seeds and bits that tend to go from the cutting board right to the compost bin. But, if you are willing to take on a kitchen project, this green miscellanea has a lot to offer before its destiny of decomposition.

  • Citrus seeds and pith. If you are a jam and jelly maker, store bought pectin can be substituted with a sachet of orange, lime or lemon seeds. Pith can be saved for this purpose as well, especially grapefruit pith. These bits are concentrated little nuggets of pectin. You can stockpile them in your fridge until you have plenty. Then bundle a few tablespoons at a time in a little sashet of muslin, to be added to your jam during the simmering stage.
  • Avocado pits. There are some detractors, but avocado seeds have been used historically as nutrient sources. Some nutritionists claim they are the most nutritious part of the avocado and contain 70% of the antioxidants. They can be ground up in smoothies or grated onto salads.
  • Jackfruit seeds. Local jackfruit can get up to 80 lbs per fruit and while they are quite the extreme experience cutting into (you have to use a well oiled knife to prevent the sticky latex from ruining your day) these delicious fruits are chock full of normally-discarded seeds. The seeds are rich in B vitamins and protein. Once boiled, you have to peel off the skins, similar to fava beans. After this step they can be cooked into a humus or roasted to great effect.
  • Papaya seeds. Naturally anti-parasitic and peppercorn like, you can save your papaya seeds for culinary and medicinal purposes. Soak them, massage off their mucilaginous coatings, dry them well and store in a pepper grinder. They are also full of live enzymes and free to boot.
  • Banana peels. If you have trouble sleeping, boiling some organic banana peels to make tea gives you a magnesium and potassium boost that aids sleep!

So take advantage of these few humble gems, with their under-recognized qualities. In between chopping and composting, you can have a kitchen adventure that is both healing and fun.

Emily Majewski
Emily Majewski is Co-Founder of PHYTOSTONE, a small firm based in Nayarit dedicated to creating advanced natural materials for home and garden.