To Peel or Not to Peel?
Preparing tasty, healthy meals takes time, and nothing is more tedious and time consuming than peeling fruits and vegetables. So what if you skipped that step? Sometimes peeling is necessary but sometimes it’s extra effort you don’t need to put in. Here’s some “peel-good” advice:
Beets: These purple beauties are a hassle to peel raw, but a mess to peel cooked because if you are not careful they’ll stain your hands, cutting board or countertop. If you are going to roast them, just scrub them well, coat with olive oil and pop into the oven. If you boil them, they will slip right out of their peels easily, but you might want to wear plastic gloves.
Potatoes: Leave the peels unless you are making traditional mashed potatoes from russet potatoes. Thick peels don’t mash well. Lots potato varieties, especially when small and young, have thin tasty peels that add color and texture to mashed potatoes and other potato dishes. It’s mainly just a matter of taste.
Tomatoes: If you’re not fussy, you can make soup or sauce from scratch with unpeeled tomatoes. You just have to tolerate a few peels floating around. But if you do peel, go easy on yourself. Don’t try to peel them raw. Pour hot (almost boiling) water over them and let them sit a minute a couple of minutes. Next, immerse in cold water. The peels will slip right off.
Carrots: For most carrots, a good scrubbing is all that is necessary. Sometimes the peels can have a bitter flavor however. If you’re not sure, scrub one and taste it with the peel still on. If it’s not bitter, you’re good to go. The same goes for parsnips.
Cucumbers: This depends on where you buy them. Supermarket cukes are often coated with wax and should be peeled. Home grown or farmers market cucumbers, however have tasty, edible unwaxed peels. Some people compromise and “stripe” their cucumbers with a peeler before slicing. This adds visual interest to a salad or veggie tray.
Eggplant: You almost never have to peel eggplant. In fact, the purple peel makes eggplant dishes prettier. If, however, you determine an eggplant’s peel to be a little tough, you can peel a few sections of your eggplant giving it stripes.
Kiwi: You probably don’t want to eat the fuzzy brown peels, but don’t waste time peeling and slicing. Just cut a kiwi in half the long way and scoop the fruit out with a spoon to eat. It’s much simpler this way.
Kohlrabi: If the skin feels thick and rubbery, peel it. Otherwise leave the skin on.
Some final notes: Many fruits and vegetables provide more nutrition if you eat the peels. They certainly have more fiber, which is a good thing. Non-organic produce, if not peeled, should be washed thoroughly to remove all traces of pesticides. Organic produce requires peeling less frequently.