Papaya skin chips

Zero-waste recipe of the day

The skin of papaya, as with most fruits, is usually discarder and considered waste. You'd be surprise though that it is actually a good source of protein, fibre, minerals and β-carotene contents.

There are two main reasons why we discard most fruit and vegetable peels. The first and most valid reason is when we are not growing the plan ourselves and may not fully trust that it has been contaminated with pesticides or other possibly nasty elements. The second one is simply "taste".

papaya peel chips

Whereas the first reason is valid, it is luckily not too hard these days to find certified organic options and even then, it's always a good idea to wash your fruit and vegetables well before eating them, especially if eating them raw. If you cannot find pesticide-free and harsh fertilisers-free options, a good wash (no need to exaggerate with the amount of water used of course ;) ) will leave them safe to eat.

The second option is also not that black and white. The magic of cooking is mixing and transforming ingredients to improve their taste, and sometimes it is easier than you'd expect.

Today we had a locally grown papaya at home, waiting to be peeled, cut, and enjoyed in a sunny breakfast at the balcony! As there is no compost or bio-waste bin at our building/city and we live in an apartment where personal composting is not super easy, the default option is to send all food waste to landfill, which we know is one of the largest sources of methane and therefore greenhouse emissions that contribute to global warming.

We do have a small indoor compost bin at home but still try to keep scraps to the minimum. One thing that helps a lot is that we don't cook meat at home, making it easier to gather scraps during a long period of time (it takes us over two months to fill one 12L Bokashi bin, cooking almost every day). Food is so precious that I do feel terrible when something edible is left to waste, but in fact, there's so much edible that we just have learnt to waste as a habit of eating only certain parts of the food source.

So this morning when I was cutting this beautiful papaya, besides saving the seeds which I usually do to make spice that tastes a bit like pepper, I decided to experiment with the skin. I just cut half of the fruit so it wasn't too risky to try, and as I was busy fixing breakkie, I needed something super easy.


I threw the peels into a pan with some oil on it (disclaimer: in this experiment it was a bit too much, only a few drops would have worked better) and simply seared them with a pinch of salt to get them brown and crispy. The result was amazing!

So there you go, the simplest way to use your papaya peels and offer your family to healthy homemade snacks.

Here's how they look while cooking. More of a hectic than a beautiful shot but hope you can see how easy this is. Will try to take a better photo or video next time!

Remember to use less oil than I did :D It will make them healthier while still delicious. For this, make sure your pan is very hot when adding them and better if it's a non-sticky pan.

You might also want to peel your papaya in quite thin slices of skin, not more than 2mm thick. This will make them crispier.

Enjoy your papaya chips!

...and this is part of what happened with the rest of this lucky little papaya fruit:

Do you have a favourite zero-food-waste recipe to share?