Quick Recipes and Easy

To Peel or Not to Peel?

Vegetable and fruit skins are loaded with fiber and nutrients. You don’t want to throw them away unless you have to. Recipes in many cookbooks tell you to peel potatoes, apples, eggplants and everything else, whether you need to or not. Use my “rule of thumb” — if you can place your thumbnail through the skin, use it! (That eliminates the tough ones like winter squash and the thick ones like banana and orange peels.)

Please don’t let worries about waxes or pesticide residues keep you from the nutritional benefits of fruit and vegetable skins. Rinse your produce under running water, and use a vegetable brush to remove any obvious dirt. The waxes used today are edible.

Potatoes and carrots just need to be scrubbed; peeling is time-consuming and wasteful. Apple and pear skins add color and crunch. Cucumbers look pretty in a salad if you score the skin with a fork before slicing instead of peeling.

When I makes casseroles with eggplants, tomatoes and other vegetables that are usually peeled, I try them once with the skins left on to see if it makes an objectionable difference. Usually they’re just fine, and I can save time while adding fiber. If you reckon peeling is vital for the texture or appearance of your dish, go ahead, but at least reckon about it before you automatically throw away valuable fiber and vitamins.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at drmirkin.com DrMirkin.com

drmirkin.com/email/newssign.asp Free weekly newsletter on fitness, health, and nutrition.

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