Peeling fruit and vegetables is one of the most boring and repetitive operations you can do in the kitchen. It takes up a lot of time and causes enormous food waste, yet we are convinced that it is absolutely necessary to guarantee the safety of the vegetables we bring to the table. But is it really like that?
In reality we have all probably heard at least once that the peel is the most important part of fruit and vegetables . Nutritionists have long been trying to explain the advantages of consuming vegetables and plant products in their entirety, but many continue not to listen to them.
This is partly due to habit and partly to the fear that dirt, pollutants and pesticides will accumulate on the skins. A valid concern, but one that can be easily remedied.
When is it safe to eat peels?
It should first of all be remembered that throughout the European Union the rules on pesticides and their use are extremely strict, precisely to minimize the impact on consumer health. There is also the possibility of choosing products from organic farming , which therefore have not undergone any treatment with chemical substances.
Whatever the origin of the fruit and vegetables you have at home, however, it is always a good habit, before consuming them, to wash them under running water , immerse them in a basin filled with water and bicarbonate for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse them carefully.
This will ensure you eliminate dangerous bacteria and about 80% of any pesticide residue.
Why you should eat fruits and vegetables with peel
But why are peels so good for you? First of all, because they contain a lot of fibre , useful for controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels, for the regularity and well-being of the intestine and for increasing the sense of satiety , which helps to maintain or lose weight.
In the peels, then, with concentrations that vary depending on the individual fruit and vegetable, you can find proteins, minerals and precious antioxidant and anti-tumor substances , such as polyphenols and flavonoids.
What are edible peels?
The list of fruits and vegetables that can be eaten with the peel is very long. There are the classics, such as apples and pears , but also peaches and plums, aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes. To these you can add persimmons , carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, garlic and some types of pumpkin.
Other peels are edible as long as you pay the right attention to them . This is the case of citrus fruits, whose peels are commonly used in cooking, especially for desserts, but which are sometimes treated, for aesthetic reasons, with waxes and preservatives that make them inedible.
When you buy oranges or lemons, therefore, always pay attention to the label: if they have undergone that type of treatment it will contain the warning "peel not edible".
Warnings and peels to avoid
Preservatives and waxes are also often used to improve the appearance of exotic fruit , which must travel long journeys before arriving on the counter of your trusted greengrocer. Kiwi and banana peels, for example, if consumed in the right way are not only edible, but also very tasty. To be safe, however, they should only be eaten if they are fruits coming from organic farming .
Then there are peels that should not be consumed under any circumstances, such as those of medlars, coconut , avocado and melons , and others that are theoretically edible but hard and unpleasant, for example those of pineapple, watermelon and onion.
Also pay attention to some health conditions: if you suffer from colitis, inflammation of the colon or intolerance to dietary fiber you should always peel your fruit and vegetables carefully.
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