Save Your Apple Peels and Cores—For Tea

October 25, 2015

There are a number of time-consuming kitchen tasks that are not fun (or at least I do not think they are fun)—washing dishes, cleaning gritty greens, planning meals.

Peeling apples, on the other hand, is time-consuming yet enjoyable. It's meditative, almost.

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I like taking each apple and slowing twisting a paring knife around its curves, resulting in one, long, tangle of a peel. And for unhitched folk, I imagine flinging the curly scraps over one's shoulder in order to discern the first initial of their future partner would be fun, too.

(If you’re in a rush, it is possible to peel an apple in 3 seconds using a power drill, however, I make no claims about your mental state—or the state of your countertop—when using this method.)

Of course whichever way you get your apples prepped for apples pies or applesauce, you’ll be left with a lot of these peels, and cores as well—don’t pitch either of them! Junior Software Engineer Micki Balder has the perfect use for apple scraps: Apple Peel Tea.

Think of it as less of a precise recipe and more of a jumping off point for you to create your own versions of this tea. As she notes in the description, it’s highly adaptable (use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar; add the cinnamon stick at the beginning; leave out the cloves; and so on) and she admits that she makes it differently every time.

I enjoyed it exactly as written, but do plan to play around with the next batch and add a chunk of ginger.

Apple Peel Tea by Micki Balder 

Makes 3 cups

The peels and cores of 5 apples
4 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here

Know of a great recipe in the Food52 archives that uses an overlooked kitchen scrap (anything from commonly discarded produce parts to stale bread to bones and more)? Tell me about it in the comments: I want to know how you're turning what would otherwise be trash into a dish to treasure!

Photos by James Ransom

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • JAH
  • lunule
  • boulangere
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


JAH January 15, 2016
Nothing beats an apple peeler/corer. You can slice or not slice as you please. Some work better and some last longer than others. But it saved me hours making pies, breads, applesauce and butters when I ran a b&b on an apple orchard.
lunule October 27, 2015
Cynthia, this is partly true. Had to "google" it because I usually give the apple cores to my dog as a treat. The seeds do contain cyanide but the seed coverings protect the stomach and you would need to eat a lot of them to cause harm. Evidentially stone fruit pits are much more toxic. That said may remove the seeds before I hand off the cores to my dog...
boulangere October 25, 2015
This sounds interesting, especially adding a knob of ginger. However, I'd only be willing to try it with the peels of organic apples. As for the cores, I've been led to believe that the seeds are toxic, as they contain amygdalin (as to the pits of stone fruits), which releases cyanide when in contact with the digestive systems of humans or animals. I would toss the cores.