Q & A: Should we be Peeling our Fruit and Veg?
When it comes to peels, many are polarised. Some people believe strongly in peeling and discarding the grubby outer layer, while others believe that there are immense nutrients in them. So which is true?
The biggest reason why most of us peel our fruit and veg is because of left-over residue from sprayed pesticide, dirt, grime and even food colouring. However, with a good brush, food grade cleaner and some motivation, it’s easy to clean them. Traditional produce such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, beetroots, apples, cherries and even kiwi shouldn’t be peeled.
Why should you consume the peel?
They are high in soluble fibre, which prevents constipation. Some, like apple peels* are high in pectin that helps control blood sugar and lowers blood cholesterol. Just like the apple, potato peels are also high in antioxidants, who doesn’t want more of those. Also, potato skins has a lot more iron, potassium and vitamin B than the flesh, so why get rid of all that goodness!? **
According to Men’s Health magazine, recent studies suggest that the chemical compound - polyacetylene, found just below the skin of the carrot has the potential to kill human cancer cells. This is still in lab tests, but still - remember that before hacking away at a rabbit’s best friend.
Soo many of us peel the skin of a cucumber, however, the peel is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin B1 and vitamin K. In fact, the flesh is mostly water, the sustenance is all in the peel. Wash them well, cut and enjoy with some chili, lime and salt!
Fun fact! So many of us throw away our orange and lime peels, but the zest gives great flavour to cakes and salad dressings. Plus, who can resist candied orange peels? When dried and candied, the peels are delicious. So preserve them, you can even use them when brewing tea; cool the brew down and chill with ice for a nice citrus flavoured ice tea!
There are many more fruits and veg that are good as a whole, so maybe think twice before peeling. Let’s face it, we’re in a world of the sugar-free, gluten free, sodium free (fun free!?) – why not be peel un-free!
VF Tip: when making a juice or smoothie, we at the Vegan First office, use the fruit as a whole, peels and everything, great tasting and so good for you, all you really require is a good blender.
* apple skins usually have a coating of wax on them that can't be taken off, so it would be preferable to peel, but if you trust your organic brand/farm, then go for it!
**unless it has fungus or a greenish blackish hue, you shouldn’t discard.