Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eat the Peel

We've all heard that there's more vitamins in the skin of an apple than in the rest of the fruit; I think that's pretty much true for all fruits and veggies. The same beneficial phytochemicals that protect plants from disease also protect our bodies, and it makes sense for the plants to concentrate their protective chemicals in their skins. Why throw all this away?


There's no need to toss any part of this beautiful carrot!
Fruit and vegetable skins are often peeled and tossed, avoided as unsavory because of their tougher texture and more bitter flavor. What is that bitter taste from? Probably all those nutrients. The plant has to protect itself as it's growing, so it puts a god deal of antioxidants on the surface; these same antioxidants are what keep us healthy. 

I personally have never noticed whether a peeled carrot is sweeter than a whole carrot. If you want a sweet carrot, buy local, fresh produce, and don't bother peeling them. Freshly grown produce that hasn't been shipped across the country, or the world, has amazing flavor, with nutrients as well as water content intact, making it crisp and delicious. In the same way that whole grains are better for you than something stripped down to only starches, I think fruits are better for you in their whole form than stripped down to only the sweet bits. In our family, anything we can eat whole, we do.


The peels of potatoes help to make them a balanced food. Why waste them? The eyes do need to be cut out if the potato is sprouting, though, because the sprouts are mildly toxic.
Why waste time peeling potatoes? Boil and mash up the skins too, you can handle it. Or, just chop your potatoes and add them to soups, skins and all. This is way easier and more nutrient dense than doing all that tedious peeling! What a timesaver to never have to peel a carrot, apple, or potato. Seriously, apple pies will still turn out delicious with the peels in there. 

There's quite an array of fruits and vegetables that have an edible peel, and it's surprising how many of these commonly get stripped before consumption. Peaches, nectarines, carrots, potatoes, squash, kiwis, apples, cucumbers, and zucchinis... Sure, the peels add a bit of texture that might be weird at first, but chances are, if you're not a toddler, you can handle eating an apple with the skin on.


The fuzz won't kill you.
For kiwis, the fuzz can be a bit much. We wash them under running water, rubbing some of the fuzz away and then drying them on a towel, which removes most of the tiny hairs. Slice whole, ripe kiwis up, removing the nubby ends, and enjoy! We do still peel kiwis for the kids, who, after all, have more delicate palates than we do. Peaches and apricots are fuzzy also, but in a much less distracting, and more kid-friendly, way. I think the peach fuzz is part of the experience of enjoying a peach!


Yes, you can even eat mandarin orange peels!
We recently discovered that mandarin oranges are edible in their entirety! Nik and I were very excited to be able to eat the whole orange. The skins have quite a tart taste, but they're still enjoyable if you eat them along with the sweet fruits. My kids have not come around to liking mandarins with peels, but our bunnies will devour any peels the kids leave!

Most oranges do not have such palatable peels. Mandarins are unusually mild and sweet; they don't produce the same strong oils as other types of oranges. Other varieties of orange peels are quite bitter, but can at least be used in teas.

A baked delicata squash can be eaten right along with its peel, or the squash can be scooped out and then the peel can be filled with sliced tomato, sprouts, avocado, and mayonnaise for a bread-free sandwich!

If you're eating the peel of anything, one caveat is to make sure you're eating organic. That is, after all, where the bulk of pesticides and junk will reside if your produce has been sprayed. If you are eating sprayed fruits or veggies, wash very well, or peel if you must. Peels are porous, though, so sprayed fruit will not be completely free of pesticides even after peeling. Eat organic, local food whenever you can.

Also, I should add that while I've heard of people who love to eat mangoes with the peel, I am allergic to an enzyme, urushiol, which is present in mango peels. Urushiol is the same enzyme that enables poison ivy and poison oak to give people contact rashes. For years I actually avoided eating mangoes because I didn't want to risk the blistering rash contact with the skin gave me. However, I've learned that if I carefully peel them, I can still enjoy the fruit. I can touch the peel with my hands, just not with my mouth. Not everyone is allergic to urushiol, but if you have ever had a rash from poison ivy or oak, you should avoid eating mango skins. 

We still peel bananas, since they seem super bitter. If you can eat banana peels somehow, please let me know! Some peels just are horrid, like avocado skins. I'm not encouraging you to eat anything disgusting, after all ;) Trust your gut, but don't be afraid to try new, whole foods!

Shared at Pretty & Delish, Pity Party, Tuesday's Table, Weekly Creative, TGIF, Pennywise, Greens, Frugal Food, ReTreat, Tuned In, Terrific, Project Inspired, Mostly Homemade, Natural Living, Full Plate, Eco-Kids, Try A New Recipe, Love It, Simple Meals, Fluster, Showcase, Craftionary, Small Footprint, What I Am Eating, Thriving, Wildcrafting, Pin Me, Your Great Idea, Domestically Divine, Mix It Up, Clever Chicks, Riverton, Waste Not, Backyard Farming, Heart & Home, Meatless, Extravaganza, Raw Foods, Wonderful Food, Pintastic, Fill Those Jars, Adorned From Above, Gluten Free Friday, Farmer's Daughter, Eat Make Grow, I Did It, LHITS, Freaky Friday, Once Upon A Weekend, Teach Me, Seasonal Inspiration, Weekend Wander, Totally Tasty, Country Garden Showcase, Sugar Free, Show & Tell, Strut Your Stuff, Country Momma Cooks, Allergy Friendly, Garden Party, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Foodie Friday, Rural Thursday, Monday Mania, Melt In Your Mouth, Feed Me, Wellness Weekend, Fresh Bites, Fun Party, Thrifty Thursday, Pennywise, Simple Lives, Green Resource, Frugal Food, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Real Food, What's Cooking, Whole Foods, Frugal Days, Anti-Procrastination, Confessional, Time Out, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth & Soul, Tiny Tip, Slightly Indulgent, Living Green, Fat Tuesday, Homestead Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, Fit & Fabulous, and Frugal Friday.

53 comments:

  1. hi there, i just found your blog last week and love it!! as to this post, my husband never peels his carrots.. i always have but i think i am going cross over. funny thing this past weekend, i was making potato salad with some beautiful red skinned potatos and my daughter asked why i hadn't peeled the potatoes... she loved the salad. have a good weekend.

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    1. That's a good point, sometimes the peels are beautiful as well, as in red potatoes! I also appreciate the added texture in potato salad.

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  2. hi I like your post today and I quite agree! I made eggplant parm the other day and someone asked if we remove the peel? nope, just eat it! ;)
    sent here via Amy's fit and fab friday :)

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    1. Oh yeah, eggplant is another great one to use the peel!

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  3. We rarely peel anything. Part of that comes from being lazy but most of it comes from wanting to provide full nutrients. I make mashed potatoes with the skins on (removing tough peels as I am mashing) and apple desserts with the peel on. No one seems to mind. I don't even remove the peels on tomatoes when I can them - I just don't see the point in wasting the time or the food.

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    1. Same here--I rarely peel fruits and veggies, partially because of nutrition, but mostly because I don't want to bother with it! Apple pie, peach crisp, potato salad, cucumber salad, roasted squash... I never peel 'em. Except when we're having company and I think they will be picky. :)

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  4. Wow, what a great post! I don't peel much - carrots, potatoes, apples are enjoyed with skin on (all organic, of course!) But oranges and kiwi? Now that I never thought of :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm back to thank you for linking this up at Tiny Tip Tuesday! This tip definitely fits the bill :)

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    2. I dehydrate orange and lemon peels then grind them to powder. Add to breads or smoothies.

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  5. I use banana peels on my face!! Just rub your face with inside of the peel for 5 minutes and it will keep it looking awesome!

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    1. That sounds like a great use for banana peels! What is it supposed to be good for?

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    2. Here is the original blog post that I read http://blog.kanelstrand.com/2012/01/banana-peels-against-acne.html

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    3. Perfect! I keep forgetting to try it, but now I have to!

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    4. You will never look at a banana the same way again!

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    5. That is awesome, Jen! Thanks for sharing that! I'm totally pinning that one!

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    6. After you use it on your face, plant that peel in your garden. Roses and tomatoes love the peel. Just dig a small hole besides your plant.

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  6. I've read that rubbing the inside (flesh side) of a banana peel on a bug bite or poison ivy relieves the itch. Haven't tried it, but it's worth a try.

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    1. I'll have to try that with my next mosquito bite!

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    2. I also read that you can use a banana peel to cure a headache...you hold one half of the peel to your forehead (the inside of the peel touches your face), and the other half of the peel is held to the back of your neck, below your hairline. It should take 10 minutes to 1/2 hour.
      You can also tape a little piece of banana peel to a wart or splinter...the wart takes a while to go away (a week or so - obviously, replace the peel so it doesn't rot on you), but the splinter should be drawn out overnight.

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  7. If you boil banana peels for a few minutes, it takes out the bitterness, then you can cook with the peels.

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    1. What do you make? Do the peels become like a vegetable, zucchini or something?

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    2. I made a banana peel chutney. They're more vegetably, with a hint of banana.

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    3. Excellent! I must try that.

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  8. interesting yes! we keep the skins on because it is easier and healthier...the kids grew up eating skins so are used to it!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this beneficial information on Fit and Fabulous Fridays! Yes, the skins have so many wonderful nutrients!! :)

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  10. I leave the peels on most fruits and veggies, too. One that I don't think you mentioned is cucumber.

    I like to eat the pericarp, the thick white stuff inside orange peel, which contains an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient in much larger amounts than the juicy part of the orange. Some oranges have a thin pericarp that's not worth the trouble, but when I get a nice thick peel I scrape off the pericarp with my front teeth and eat it before I eat the juicy part.

    I also save orange peels in a bag in my freezer for dicing and adding to cranberry bread or miscellaneous cooked fruit. Making candied orange peel is another option--I've never done it alone, only helping my grandma, but basically you cut the peels in strips and cook them with lots of sugar, and they become delicious, almost like gumdrops!

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    1. Those are great ideas for using orange peels! I'll definitely have to try them chopped in my fruit crisps & cobblers. I tried that with lemon rind once and it was a fail, too strongly sour, but maybe orange would be better. I never knew the name for pericarp, but we do also try to leave as much as possible on the orange- when we have a thick skinned orange, I'll often peel it with a knife so I can just scrape off the outer peel and leave the rest intact, especially if it's for a smoothie, where the pericarp blends up creamy along with the fruit.
      Thanks for sharing the ideas Becca!

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  11. There are some great ideas in this post! I totally agree, provided you are eating organic, the peel of most fruit and veggies are definitely a great thing to eat. There is definitely a lot of nutrition there!

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  12. Thanks for sharing at Living Green! I personally like leaving the peel on most of my fruit and veggies, especially for juicing!

    This post was featured on this week's Link-up! :)

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    1. Thanks for featuring my post! Yes, a lot of rinds really juice up nicely. I used to juice whole cantaloupes and watermelons. I LOVED how the juice came out with the rinds on. I wonder how it would be in a blender...

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  13. Fabulous list Mellow! My kids have always eaten the peels on most fruits (accept bananas/orages) and recently when I peeled carrots my daughter started to eat the skins. "Please dont' throw those away Mama," she said! She was right. :)

    Thanks so much for linking up at Thrifty Thursday.

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    1. That is cute! My kids love anything shredded (well, just cheese, really). I could see them loving shredded carrot peels.

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  14. I think that I peel a lot of things, but then when I do get food from my garden or the farmers market, I don't. For me it is about the source of something. While I would like to get all of my food locally, I don't. And the food that comes from "far far away" I prefer to peel because I think of all the people/machines that have touched them. And I'm not sure I could stomach a mandarin peel...too bitter :-)

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  15. We never peel potatoes or carrots -- just a mild scrubbing with water. Great post!

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  16. I love eating the peels! I don't know if I could get on board the kiwi peel eating train, but I pretty much eat every other type of peel I can. Except for citrus peels, but I usually zest them and dry it out so I always have citrus zest when I need it. The first time I ever ate a peach around my Hubs, he looked at me all weird and I said "What?" and he was like "um...you're eating the peel of that peach"...I said "Duh, why wouldn't I?" Now he is a peach peel eating convert. :)

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  17. You bring up good points in your post today. I love homegrown carrots and potatoes, and never peel them--they're so tender, they don't really need it. Take care, and have fun this 4th!

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  18. Hehehehe! I love the statement, "The fuzz won't kill you." Hehehe... Just giving me the giggles right now.

    I try to keep as much of our veggies in their whole form as much as possible. I think mashed potatoes is the only thing that really gets peeled around here. Possibly something else, but I cannot think of any.

    Take care!
    Dee

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  19. I eat the peel on most fruits and vegetables... but oranges was a first for me! I absolutely have to try it next time :) Thanks for sharing this awesome tip with us at Sugar Free Sunday!

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    1. Not just any oranges! From my understanding, they have to be mandarins.

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  20. This is a great post! Thanks for joining us for "Strut Your Stuff Saturday". We hope you'll be back soon! We loved having you. -The Sisters

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  21. I like your post. I love to eat most of the fruits with peels & if washed properly, it is beneficial for health. I agree with this lovely sharing. I hope, everyone should read this. Thanks for this sharing.

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  22. great information! Thank you so much!

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  23. I love your education posts!! :) I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays recipe party! See you next Friday! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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  24. Hey Mellow,
    This is great information. I never thought about eating the peel of a Kiwi. I often make mashed potatoes with the skin on. My family like it a lot. We like the taste of the skin. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/09/how-to-make-natural-tinted-lip-balm-and.html
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above
    www.adornedfromabove.com

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  25. Very interesting! Never would have thought you could eat orange and kiwi peels! It certainly does seem like alot of the fruit's fiber and such would be in the peel. Would you like to share this at my Healthy Tuesday hop? ahumblebumble.blogspot.com

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  26. I remember my grandmother eating orange peels when I was a kid, and telling her that was crazy! but now I'm reconsidering :) Thanks for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, I'm featuring it tonight :)

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  27. Hi there! Thank you for the ideas on eating peel. Found you on Mix it Up Monday. blessings! Diane

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  28. I never gave it much thought, but it makes a ton of sense that all peels, which act as protection, would offer us the same protection. I've just always removed the peels because that's what my mom did. Thanks for coming by and partying with us at Fluster Buster's Creative Muster.

    Robin @ Fluster Buster

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  29. Long ago I discovered that the peel of potatoes and apples contains good nutrients, but I never imagined being able to eat some of these other peels, especially kiwi and orange. This is good to know, although I'm not sure I could convince my grandchildren to give it a try.
    Thanks for the lesson.

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  30. Incredibly amazing tips, I couldn't agree more. Found a lot of helpful stuffs here in your website.

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  31. Great to hear the tip on delicata squash. We just grabbed a bunch at the market last week. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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  32. Very interesting! I never knew you could eat an orange peel!

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