8 Inedible Food Parts That Are Still Surprisingly Useful

Don't toss those kitchen tidbits yet! You can still make something out of what seems like nothing.

Watermelon rind as sex booster!


Watermelon rind has nutritional benefits too: Not only does it contain vitamins C and B6 (skin, immunity, and nervous system boosters), but it could also sweeten your sex life. In a 2008 study, Texas A&M University researchers found that watermelon rind has high concentrations of the compound citrulline, which your body converts into an amino acid that helps improve circulation and relax blood vessels—even down there. To salvage rinds, blend them into a fruit smoothie, or try sautéing and adding to a stir-fry. They’ll contribute a zucchini-like texture and a slightly sweet flavor.

Banana peel as bandages!


About 40 million tons of banana peel are disposed of or go unused each year worldwide, according to a 2013 study. Use yours to polish leather (rub it against the outer side, then buff with a soft cloth) or to heal wounds (rub the pulp side on bruises and scrapes to deliver potassium) or to fertilize plants (soak peels in a jar of water—then mix five parts tap water to one part banana-water). You can also eat them! A 2011 article in Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology found that banana peels contain many healthy antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenols (thought to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer). Wash well, then blend into a fruit smoothie. Alternately, boil chopped peels for 10 minutes and add to your favorite dish. In Indian dry vegetable curry, for example, chopped banana peels boiled with turmeric powder and salt are mixed with ingredients like mustard seeds, green chillies, and cabbage for a healthy meal.

Pumpkin filling as face mask!


Pumpkin is filled with antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, exfoliating retinoic acid, and soothing zinc, which make for a perfect face mask. Try mixing 2 teaspoons of canned puree (or, pureed Jack O'Lantern) with 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Apply and leave the thick mixture on your face for 10 minutes before washing off. For dry skin, add a dash of brown sugar to the mix to exfoliate and moisturize. For oily skin, add a few drops of cranberry juice to help balance the skin with even more antioxidants.

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Potato peel as anti-aging secret!


Use leftover peel and pieces for a little pampering—used like spa cucumbers slices, potato will help lighten stubborn, dark circles under your eyes. The secret ingredient is catecholase, an enzyme found in potatoes that has skin-lightening properties (some home remedies even suggest rubbing potatoes on freckles or age spots you’d like to fade). Cut any leftover potato pieces into two thin slices, and place over your eyes for 10 minutes. The juice will seep into your skin and work its magic, especially if you continue the treatment twice a week.

Stale bread as eraser!


Aside from making bread crumbs or croutons, you can run stale bread through your spice or coffee grinders to remove any leftover odors or residue. If you have smudges or marks on the walls—even crayon—remove the crust, wipe the spot with a soft cloth, and then rub semi-stale bread against it. The sponge-like texture will work like a store-brand cleaning eraser.

Onion skin as anti-inflammatory agent!


The flaky wrapping around onions is rich in nutrients, like quercetin, a plant pigment that can prevent arteries from clogging, lower blood sugar, and reduce inflammation. Still, a 2011 study found that in the E.U. alone, 500,000 tons of onion waste (like the skin and the bulb) are thrown away each year. Even though the skin isn’t edible, you can still reap the health benefits by adding onion skins to broth while cooking soups and stews. You'll wind up with a rich, flavorful taste, too; just remove the skins before serving.

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Expired olive oil as makeup remover!


The forgotten bottle of olive oil in your cupboard has lost its fragrant taste, but you can still find fresh ways to use it. Dab a bit on the teeth of a zipper that just won’t budge or use it to wipe off eye makeup without a hassle. Even more clever uses: Massage into your dog’s paws to relieve cracking or pain, rub into the leaves of potted plants to make them look healthier, or use to polish your shoes. The possibilities are endless: Find out more extraordinary uses for olive oil here.

Swiss chard stalks as immune booster!


Swiss chard leaves are a Mediterranean cooking staple, but it may be tempting to disregard the crunchy, somewhat-bitter stems. Think again, researchers say: A German study found that those stems are packed with antioxidants and glutamine, an immune system-boosting amino acid that helps the body recover from surgery and wounds. Try cutting into one-inch cubes, roasting for 20 minutes, and seasoning with lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Or add a whole Swiss chard (leaves and stalks included) to the blender for a powerhouse addition to your green juice or smoothie—it will pack very few calories but a lot of vitamin A and vitamin C.

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