I recently found some excellent tips in the Dec 2011 edition of the Oprah magazine on the health benefits of what we normally throw out as scraps. It was too good not to share. Here you go:
- Swiss Chard Stems: Swiss Chard, btw, is super easy to grow in Arizona in just about any season. Mine was growing strong all summer long enduring extreme heat! I’ve been putting it in my morning smoothies packed full in the blender, blend it down with a little water, add some frozen berries and other goodies. And this tip says to keep the stems as they are loaded with glutamine, an amino acid boosting the immune system and helps recover from injury according to the Institute of Food Technology in Germany.
- Celery Tops: Be sure to eat the leafy parts of celery as they have five times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks! Also rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory compounds. Now I know why my mom cut the whole thing up and put in our chili and soups.
- Orange Peel: Grate the zest on salads, vegetables or right into a jar of honey to preserve it and adds a nice flavor to your honey. The peel is loaded with flavonoids which have anticancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Broccoli Leaves: More bitter to the taste but pack on 90% of your vitamin A requirement. (The florets only have 3%)
- Watermelon Rind: According to a USDA study, the white rind is high in citrulline, an amino acid which helps to dilate blood vessels improving circulation. Since it is tart, you may want to blend with the watermelon flesh and a line to make a refreshing drink. Feeling really crazy? Add some run, gin or vodka and sugar.
- Onion Skins: Want to reduce your artery plaque buildup? The papery skin of the onion contains antioxidants rich in quercetin. Simmer in soup for flavor (and the health benefits) and discard before eating.