I love discovering new ways to use something I would normally just throw away. Reducing the amount of household waste we produce is a no-brainer, because it saves money and it’s good for the environment too!
So when I recently discovered that there are several useful ways to use a common vegetable scrap, I immediately wanted to know more! And in today’s blog post, I’m ready to share everything I’ve learned about using onion skins with you!
The Surprising Benefits Of Onion Skins
Plants of the genus Allium, including onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and other common cooking ingredients, have many layers that help protect the bulb of the plant. Throughout their growth cycle, the outer layers dry out and form a thin, but surprisingly protective, shell around the bulb.
For onions specifically, that protective outer layer is made up of dry, papery onion skins that are packed with beneficial nutrients! Onion skins are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as several immunity-boosting antioxidants.
So instead of tossing them out, save those nutrient-packed onion skins in a ziplock bag in your freezer. And once you have a collection going, try out some of these ways you can use them!
7 Useful Things You Can Do With Onion Skins
1. Make Stock
Instead of tossing out onion skins and other vegetable scraps, keep them and use them to make your own vegetable stock! Including onion skins in your homemade stock will add a deliciously rich onion flavor, as well as those immunity-boosting properties we talked about previously.
When your stock is done, just pour it through a fine mesh sieve to strain out all the onion skins and other scraps. Not only is your finished stock sure to have that great homemade flavor, but it’s a great way to save money too!
2. Enrich Rice
Add onion skins to your pot when you’re cooking rice to give it an extra boost of nutrients! Use big pieces of skin so they’re easy to pluck out of the rice after it’s done cooking.
3. Dye Eggs & Fabric
You can use both red and yellow/brown onion skins as an all-natural dye for things like Easter eggs, fabric, thread, and more! Check out this tutorial from All Natural Dyeing to learn how it’s done.
4. Add To Bread
Finely mince some onions skins until it resembles a powder, then add one teaspoon to your dough the next time you bake homemade bread. It’s a clever way to sneak more of those beneficial properties into your diet, and it adds a nice hint of savory flavor too.
5. Reduce Cramping
Some say that drinking an infusion of onion skins helps prevent leg cramps! To make the infusion, boil onion skins in water for 10-20 minutes, then strain the skins out and let it cool. Drink some of the infusion as a tea before bed to help avoid those middle-of-the-night cramps.
6. Make Compost
Onions skins and other kitchen scraps make great food for compost, and using nutrient-rich compost can make a huge difference in the quality of your garden and flower beds! To learn how to make your own compost using onion skins and other scraps, check out my guide to composting here.
7. Better Roasting
When it comes to roasting onions (or garlic for that matter), try leaving the skins on! The skins will help retain more of the onion’s natural moisture, producing soft and tender flesh with added nutrients from the skins.
Have you ever used onion skins in your kitchen?