To Peel or Not to Peel: 7 Questions I Ask Myself Before Peeling a Vegetable

updated Sep 30, 2020
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(Image credit: Anne Wolfe Postic)

I used to be meticulous about peeling vegetables. Also? I used to eat a lot less vegetables and have three less children than I have today. I’ve gotten lazier about peeling, especially if the vegetables will be cooked. Besides, aren’t there nutrients in the skin of vegetables and fruits? In the end, whether or not the vegetable gets peeled depends on a few things.

(Image credit: Anne Wolfe Postic)

How do I make the decision?

  1. How many hours are there in a day? How busy am I and how long can I wait to eat?
  2. Organic or not? I am much more likely to peel a non-organic root vegetable, even though a good scrub usually does the trick.
  3. Are the kids watching? What they don’t know…they probably won’t taste.
  4. How will the vegetable be prepared? Pureed soup? Pshaw. No way am I peeling those carrots or potatoes. Hooray for added flavor! I may peel a roasted beet, but I’m not meticulous and may leave a swath or three.
  5. How dirty are they? Truth: Some beets look like they were stored in dirt for a good long while. Carrots, parsnips and turnips, on the other hand, are rarely so earthy. I will peel something that appears to be unscrubbable.
  6. Does the peel add taste value? In my opinion, cucumbers are nothing without their crunchy skin. Potato skins are delicious. Why else do restaurants sell them baked and stuffed with cheese and bacon?
  7. Did my parents peel it? As an adult, I have learned that some people peel asparagus and celery. I actually had no idea that was a thing. Learn something new every day! But you still won’t catch me peeling asparagus or celery.

In discussing this issue with a few friends over lunch (in a restaurant where, incidentally, the carrots in my salad were peeled, but the radishes were not), I learned that a lot of us stopped peeling as adults, when we heard more about the nutrients we were missing. Were we right? Well, kind of.

How about you? What makes you decide to peel? Do you follow your parents’ lead or forge your own trail?