So for many years I have been attempting to recycle and reuse as much as I could to avoid food waste. That includes composting scraps to my Earth Machine™ and re-growing from food scraps, such as sweet potatoes, celery, green onions, and bok choy. I love cooking with onions and garlic, and was considering adding worms to my compost but discovered when vermicomposting, adding these skins may do more harm than good to the worms.
Recently I found out that there are other uses for onion and garlic skins besides just putting them into my composter. I went on a search to see if I could do something else with these skins besides just throwing them in the composter, and in this unusual time it makes even more sense to reuse.
In my search I discovered that onion skins may actually have healthful benefits. Did YOU know there are health benefits to onions and onion skins?
According to the National Onion Association, (yes, there really is one,) their Onion Health Research page says “Onions not only provide flavor, they also provide important nutrients and health-promoting phytochemicals.”
They are also:
- High in Vitamin C, a good source of dietary fiber, and folic acid.
- They also contain calcium, iron, and have a high protein quality (ratio of mg amino acid/gram protein).
- Onions are low in sodium and contain no fat.
- Onions contain quercetin, a flavonoid (one category of antioxidant compounds).
- Onions contain organosulfur compounds that may offer unique health benefits.
With the health benefits in mind, I found more information from an article on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website “Onion Skins for Health and More,” and on the Farmer’s Almanac website “10 Good Reasons to Save Those Onion and Garlic Skins.” Not sure if the “old” farmers know better than the “new” ones, but I think they all know something about growing things and natural home remedies.
From this Good Life Tube video, I found even more amazing benefits and made onion skin tea from the recipe.
1) Wash the whole onions thoroughly to remove dirt and pesticides. 2) Peel the onions and keep the skins. 3) Place your onion skins in a glass jar. 4) Pour boiling water over several onion skins, cover and leave them to soak for 15 minutes. 5) Strain the tea and drink a cup of it at bedtime. (Note: not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers.)
It’s supposed to be good for many ailments, and though I tried it as a tea it was even better as the water source for my pasta. All that good oniony flavor was infused right into the noodles. I’ve also used it as a starter for soup stock-- and I regrow onions from scrap. For tips on gardening and planting onions check the website of our local (University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) UF/IFAS or articles from our Florida Electronic Library.
The next time you peel an onion and throw the skin away, take a moment to reflect on the health benefits of onion skin and consider using it instead.
If you want more information about onions, composting, or vermiculture, you can also check out items such as these from our collection.