The Appeal of Peel

Sometimes It’s Good to Dehydrate Your Skin

There’s nothing more American than apple pie—and, sadly, wasted food. Globally, it’s estimated that one third of all food is wasted or lost rather than eaten as intended. The going number in the United States is a stunning 40 percent—a number that likely, in my estimation, underrepresents the true amount. That 40 percent is what we, as a society, deem to be food—an arbitrary assignment of value. Likely, it doesn’t include the uncoveted and the unseen. And we’re not talking bruised, misshapen fruit and expired dairy products (don’t get me started on that!). What about the delicious and nutritionally rich goodness that slips through the cracks of the food industry—the inefficiencies of our food system. I’m pretty certain that super-nutritious, high-fiber spent brewers’ grains aren’t included in that number. Or the rivers of whey, a superfood if there ever was one, that flow out of our dairy industry.

Which brings me back to that apple pie. Winter, when the last fresh stone fruits, melons, and berries of summer are a fading memory (or sit preserved, pickled, or dehydrated if you got your act together in time), we at least have the finest local apples. Cold storage apples harvested in the late summer and early fall, but apples nonetheless.

The next time you make that apple pie, please save those outcast peels. Tossed with
a little ground cinnamon and sugar and dried in a low oven or a dehydrator, they’re an excellent snack. Crush them into granola or coarsely grind them and add a few tablespoons to your favorite crumble topping. And let’s make eating peels (and stems, cores, crusts, and crumbs) as American as apple pie.

Apple Crisps


Peels from 6–7 apples

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 200°F. In a medium bowl, toss the peels with the cinnamon and sugar. Let the peels macerate for 10 minutes, then spread them evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dry slowly in the oven for about 4 hours, or until dry and crispy. Allow to cool completely. The peels will get crisper as they cool down. Eat, crush, or grind!

Adam Kaye is the co-founder and chief culinary director of The Spare Food Co. and former chief culinary officer of Blue Hill at Stone Barns.