Cooking with Scraps

Stop Tossing Your Pineapple Peels: Turn Them Into Tea, Instead

February 14, 2016

Prepping a pineapple produces a lot of waste, from its tough skin to its spiky crown to its fibrous core.

On a large scale, the waste from pineapple production has exciting potential: It can be used to produce energy; the enzyme bromelain can be extracted from pineapple plant stems as well as these seemingly inedible scraps and used for a number of applications; and pineapple leaves are being used to make a leather-like textile. All of these can make a serious dent in pineapple biowaste as a whole, which is good news for our planet but doesn’t translate very ​well to home applications.

Photo by James Ransom

This doesn't mean that composting is the only option: We’ve learned that apple peels and cores hold a great deal of flavor, and the same turns out to be true for pineapples. Enter Pineapple, Cinnamon, and Ginger Iced Tea.

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Just like Apple Peel Tea, this recipe is endlessly adaptable and, thanks to the various growing locations of pineapples, you can enjoy pineapples, and this tea, nearly year round. Right now, with cooler weather settling in, use Caribbean pineapples and drink​ this tea piping hot (I polished off an entire batch myself in one afternoon). Come springtime, when Hawaiian pineapples are in season, start drinking the tea iced, and swap out the cinnamon for fresh herbs like mint.

Photo by James Ransom

There are a couple of different ways to break down a pineapple depending on how you're planning to use the flesh. Whichever way you choose, you'll want to set aside all of the peel and trimmings, and possibly the core, too. Personally, I think gnawing on the core is a cook’s reward for prepping pineapples. (Do note that chewing on too many could result in bezoars (think hairballs for humans) and Food52er HalfPint has shared that “the fibers from the core can give you micro-cuts in the mouth that hurt like the dickens.” Thus, your wisest move might be to add the fibrous core to the pot along with all of the peels.)

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Top Comment:
“But you can cut it in half pretty easily (even more easily if you use stale bread) and use 5 eggs and 1.5 cups milk (1 lb bread). Also, I've always used the broccoli stalks. I can't imagine throwing them away. Just slice thin and add to stir fry or cut in half and roast them.”
— EL

While Laura Biscaro’s recipe calls for including the crown, we chose not to since there is so little flesh attached to the bottom. Plus, we’re secretly optimistic that we’ll be able to grow a pineapple plant in a non-tropical zone. If you are too, just twist off the crown, let it dry for a few days to give the end a chance to harden, then plant it in a well-draining pot, and wait. Then wait some more.

In a few short years, with any luck, your plant will produce a pineapple—which you can turn into another batch of tea.​

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!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Risottogirl
  • joanne hurynowicz
    joanne hurynowicz
  • beckbjj
  • EL
  • Colleen Stem
    Colleen Stem
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Risottogirl August 19, 2016
I make stock and kimchi from veg scraps, crumbs and strata from sail bread but there is NO way I would do this with a commercially grown pineapple. Compost.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 14, 2016
I too would definitely stick with organic pineapples for this recipe. (And of course, all produce—organic included—should be washed under running water before cutting into it.)
joanne H. March 30, 2016
I have, in the manner if my grandmother and mother saved all my bread ends in a brown paper bag, it doesn't get moldy just really hard . I soaking in broth or water for meatballs or meatloaf, or stuffing and put it in the food processor for crumbs. It has never disappointed me.
beckbjj March 30, 2016
This is a really terrible idea, unless you are 100% confident that you have truly organic pineapple. Grocery store pineapples are grown with a scary cocktail of toxic pesticides.
lynnk March 31, 2016
That's exactly my feeling and reaction to this article
FoodFanaticToo May 23, 2016
That's what I thought too, however, my eyes were REALLY opened by the Guardian article. Thank you for sharing!
EL March 13, 2016
I actively save stale bread to make strata and bread pudding. In fact, I like strata so much that I often go out of my way to get stale bread for it. You do need to add more liquid. For the recipe I use from Smitten Kitchen (which is humungous) I use 10 eggs instead of 8 and 3 cups milk instead of 2 3/4 (for 2 lbs bread). But you can cut it in half pretty easily (even more easily if you use stale bread) and use 5 eggs and 1.5 cups milk (1 lb bread). Also, I've always used the broccoli stalks. I can't imagine throwing them away. Just slice thin and add to stir fry or cut in half and roast them.
Lindsay-Jean H. March 13, 2016
I actively save stale bread too! I think I have an entire freezer shelf devoted to it in different forms.
Colleen S. February 21, 2016
avocado pit beads!
Lindsay-Jean H. March 13, 2016
Cool idea!
Johannan February 20, 2016
Add some rice to make a drink called perapiña.
Sean R. February 19, 2016
You could also make the Peruvian drink, Chicha Morada! It's a pungent, earthy treat made with purple corn, citrus juice, and various spices.
Bascula February 19, 2016
As I mentioned on the Facebook post with this recipe, I would recommend that you scrub the pineapple well before peeling and using the peel. You will remove dirt, bugs, and pesticides that you might not want in your tea.
The T. February 18, 2016
For the tea I s it just the pineapple peels and scraps or the entire pineapple including the fruit?
Laura B. February 18, 2016
Hey there! This recipe calls for just the peels and scraps, the point here is to be able to use the whole fruit, with minimum to none waste, using the fruit itself to make something else, and the peels to make this tea ;)
HalfPint February 18, 2016
You can also make Tepache, an alcoholic brew from Mexico, with the peels,

I've tried it, but I didn't care for the flavor. Just not my cup of tea ;)