Feb. 18, 2012
Not Peeling Apples & Other Produce
After my sister's post about the wax coated apples, we got many questions about why not just peel the skin off and eat the apples. Apple skins (like other frit & vegetable skins) are so jam packed with nutrients, we prefer to eat them instead of throwing those nutrients away.
Peeling fruit is not only a pain but also causes loss of nutrients. Fruit and vegetable skins are packed with flavonols and fiber. Obvioulsy there are some skins that we don't eat, like pineapples or bananas. But most we keep on.
The nutritional benefits of some fruit and vegetables are mostly found in the skin, take apples for example. A small apple with the skin on has twice as much iron and a little more than twice as much fiber as the same size apple without the skin. It also has more vitamin C and more calcium. Red apples skins also have anthcyanins, which are a very healthy antioxidant.
The same is true about pears, potato, mangos, squash, cucumbers, the list goes on and on. Yes, I said mangos. While they may seem difficult to eat the skin, if you cut them in small pieces they are edible.
If you do peel your fruits and veggies, try to remove only a thin layer of the skin, since there are a lot of nutrients that are just underneath the skin as well.
This is especially true for avocados. The majority of their carotenoids are in that dark green section just under the peel. If you eat avocadoes, you'll want to preserve as much of this section as possible while peeling it.
Eating fruit and vegetables with the skin on means you'll have to be more careful than my sister when buying them. While organic is probably a safer way to buy (becuase of the use of pesticides and other growing methods of traditional farming), it may not always be possible. You should throughly wash and scrub produce to reduce the pesticides and other residue, although this may not eliminate all of them.
If you are lucky enough to live where there are farmers markets, or even the farms where you can pick your own produce, ask them how they fertilize and control pests. There are many small or family farms that grow 'organic' produce, but don't have the money to apply for the FDA organic label. My sister said there were several of these in Florida, particularly the co-ops and ones that have permanent stands on the side of the road next to their farm.
Update: People can be allergic to some fruit and/or fruit skins. If you are, then you should avoid eating it and/or the skin.