Some vegetables can be eaten in their skins, just as nature delivered them, while others are better for you stripped of their façades.
Vegetable skins contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols. Some proponents of natural food diets insist on eating even bananas peels. For Paleo dieters, however, here are ten tips on when to peel veggies.
Baby Food – Homemade vegetable purees and mashes containing vegetable skins can easily upset an infant’s tummy or become a choking hazard. Peel your baby’s fruits and vegetables until her/his system can handle it—often as late as 12 months old.
Beets – The skin is very bitter in contrast to the sweet flesh inside. Always peel beets before cooking or juicing them.
Celery Root – Unlike the tender stalks, the root of the celery plant has a tough outer peel that should be removed.
Damaged Produce – Overly mature vegetables may develop bruises, blemishes, or hard calcium spots. The damaged surface should be removed. If the flesh inside is also damaged, discard the vegetable entirely.
Garlic – Recipes for baked garlic drizzled in olive oil say leave the whole clove as it is. We bet those cooks don’t actually eat the husk. We say remove it.
Onions – Like garlic, unless you plan to cook the onion in the skin and discard it later, remove the dry outer surface.
Rind-Encased Vegetables – Any produce with a tough outer crust or inedible rind should be peeled. That includes acorn squash, winter squash and avocado, among others.
Soybeans – Soybean pods are very fibrous and inedible. Boil the soybeans to soften their pods for opening, discard the skin, and eat only the seeds.
Stomach Ailments – Peeling promotes healing. Remove membranes before eating any vegetables, including potatoes, if you experience a digestive tract infection or inflammation, such as diverticulitis.
Waxed Vegetables – If you cannot wash them thoroughly, peel such waxed vegetables as cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, etc. The skins can hold bacteria and pesticides. Also, when juicing, the result often tastes better without skins included.
For information on the best ways to peel fruits and vegetables, check out Molly Watson’s series on About.com.
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