Don’t throw away those peels!

What do you do with vegetable and fruit peels? I cook most vegetables with the peel, of course after thoroughly washing and scrubbing them. I still love eating some varieties of mangoes with their peel and never peel an apple or pear, as many people tend to do.

But converting peels into something delicious is always an option. Preserved orange peels are among my favourite snacks. I  have not tried it, but make a sweet-sour-tangy chutney out of orange peel and it tastes like a desi version of marmalade.

We make chutneys out of vegetables including cabbage and carrots, after sauteing them. But have you tried making a spicy chutney with peels, especially those that can’t be cooked along with the vegetables, like white pumpkin or ridge gourd? The addition of dals, makes it a nutritious side dish. My latest post on Everyday Veg Cooking tells you how easy it is.


I regularly made peel chutney when the kids were growing up and never told the boys what it was made of, no matter how many times they asked, lest they didn’t want to eat it. I would tell them, ‘It is thogayal. Eat it!’ Recently the younger one said, ‘But you never told us you made them out of peels!’ I merely grinned.

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  1. Never thought of making chutney out of the peels. Thanks for the idea and the recipe 🙂


    1. Glad you liked the post, Ramblingdaisies. I will be posting a recipe on orange peels and a tangy chutney made out of it 🙂


  2. The peels are the best form of protection that nature has provided, a fact that is established beyond doubt as the fruit or the vegetable does not last long after being peeled. In addition to eating these peels can be directly used as scrubs and facewash to give a radiance that is unmatched by any cream:)


    1. I think I should do a post on peels – what we can use them for. Chutney is just one dish that we can make out of them. Scrubs, yes. Composting, yes and yes!


  3. I do eat a lot of my fruits with peel. I love leaving the peel on the aloo for my subzis. And I have many friends who make chutneys with peels. I haven’t tried them though till now. My mil makes some sabzi with matar chilkas which I didn’t really enjoy. She makes some roti after grating watermelon peel, again an experiment which did not work for me. 🙂 Will surely read your recipe and see.


    1. Now you know why I never told the boys I made the chutneys out of peels 😛 I use the white part of watermelon to make kootu, with moong dal, and spiced with a paste of coconut, jeera and red chillies. I cook pumpkin with the peel too, the green-peeled one, that is. The other one makes a good peel chutney! Don’t just read my recipe but do try it. You can keep some flesh in the peel to make it more ‘palatable’ 😀 Remember to saute it well till the raw smell is gone.


  4. Infact thogaiyals (chutneys) made out of peels taste better than regular thogaiyals so long as the main ingredient is not divulged.One cannot distinguish the peel thogaiyal from the regular one! The peels should however be tender


    1. Ha ha! That is the reason I never told the boys what I had made it out of. Children can be so biased about these things. Yes, the peel needs to be fresh, but in case of hard ones like that of white pumpkin, it doesn’t matter, while the ridge gourd peel has to be fresh lest it is too stringy.


  5. I do these peel chutneys often. Chow chow peel, peerkkangai peel, red pumpkin peel and many more. Yes, like you I do Cabbage thogaiyal too. All of us love thogaiyals…any thogaiyals are OK with us.

    Good, interesting topic for the post!


    1. Thanks Sandhya! We all love them, don’t we? It can prop up an entire meal or add tang to it, depending upon how we want to use them. The only issue is the salt, because like pickles it has to balance the chillies and so consumes a little more of the white ‘poison.’


  6. The things our mothers feed us! I love, LOVE this post. I am officially a orange glutton so have LOTS of orange peels- which I dry and use for potpourri and as a homemade scrub. And some I set aside to add to pulaos or tea when the mood takes me.

    Are we a disappearing breed? I can’t imagine the next generation bothering with all these things. Hmmm….

    On to read the recipe now. All agog! 😀


    1. Oh yes! but they always make it sound so good and nourishing, right? 😛 Oh, how do you use orange peels in a pulao? I use it fresh to make a lovely marmalade-like chutney. Will share that too soon. And no, we are not a disappearing breed, but we are now being taught by the nutritionists and 5-star chefs what our good old grandmothers knew all along but most of us threw the wisdom out then. But now, since it is being aggressively marketed by these worthies the youngsters and even some elders are swearing by everything they had discarded. Wait for my post on cooking utensils!


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