Most of the time, our garbage is filled with skins and peels from our favorite fruits and vegetables, but you could be throwing out some of the best part of those foods. Skins may be tough, but here are the skins you should and should not eat.
When NOT to Eat the Skin
Onion: Although eating onion skin generally isn’t a good idea, it does contains quercetin, so I’d suggest using it in stocks.
Banana: Banana peel has a bitter taste and tough consistency but contains potassium, lutein (a powerful antioxidant for eye health) and tryptophan (that increases your body’s serotonin, which improves mood). If you want to try banana peel, here are some tips: use very ripe peels; use a small amount in your smoothie; or boil it for a few minutes, then sauté or bake in the oven until it dries out to use as a tea.
Asparagus: The skin on asparagus doesn’t contain any additional nutritional benefits over the flesh, but it can leave behind a stringy texture. So purely from a culinary perspective, I’d suggest peeling the skin if you have the time to peel each stalk individually.
When to Eat the Skin (If Organic)
Cucumber: This veggie’s dark-green skin contains the majority of antioxidants, insoluble fiber and potassium. If a cucumber has a heavy waxed coating and pesticides, you may consider peeling.
Zucchini: The skin of zucchini contains extra vitamin C, fiber and potassium, as well as the antioxidants carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Although the flavor is a bit bitter, if you’re cooking them or mixing them with other flavors (e.g. in a salad) it’s worth it to keep the skin on.
Apple: Apple peel contains most of the fruit’s insoluble fiber, an antioxidant called quercetin and other antioxidants.
Red Skin Potato: Ounce for ounce, potato skin has more fiber, iron, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin C than the flesh.
Kiwi: Kiwi skin is probably one skin that most of us do not eat, but it IS edible! The skin contains more flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamin C than the flesh. If the fuzz grosses you out, scrape it off first.