Most of us simply toss fruit peels in our trash or compost, because what else are they good for? Well YOU, is a simple answer! It turns out the peels of some of our favorite fruits are not just edible, but the skin and rind are packed with more fiber, anti-aging antioxidants, and vitamins than the fruit they surround. They’re also low in calories, fat, and sugar.
Using Organic or Non-Organic?
Find yourself going back and forth on buying organic? When it comes to eating peels we definitely suggest reaching for organic. While organic fruit is an overall better choice for you + your body, it’s especially important when enjoying the peel due to pesticide use. Even with washing, pesticides can seep into the peel and we definitely don’t want any unwanted chemicals in our green smoothies. When in doubt, check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” to learn more about produce with the highest pesticide use.
You can’t handle the peel!
While adding fruit peels to your favorite green smoothie is great for your body, it might not always be the right choice for your blender. While powerhouse blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec will blend your peels into creamy deliciousness, lower power blenders may struggle with thick or fibrous peels.
Can there ever be too much of a good thing?
Adding the peel will open your green smoothies to a whole new level of nutrients. And you thought they were power-packed before! But it can also adjust the flavor or texture (often for the better!). So we suggest starting small and experimenting with your favorite fruits and veggies.
Power pack your green smoothie with fruit peels!
APPLES: Packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium – the apple peel contains much of the fruit’s nutritional benefits. Actually over two thirds of the apple’s fiber to be exact! The peel also contains over 4 times more vitamin K than the apple’s flesh, aiding your body in bone, skin, and cell health. The antioxidant quercetin also improves lung function, and is believed to help protect your memory!
How to use: Simply remove the core + seeds prior to blending and enjoy!
CITRUS: Citrus peels are high in powerful antioxidants called super-flavonoids which can contribute to reducing “bad” cholesterol, and are over 20 times more powerful than those found in the juice. While citrus peel is packed with vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, the natural oils can be tough on your stomach so we suggest starting small (especially because citrus zest adds a major flavor boost to your green smoothie).
How to use: Use a fruit or vegetable peeler to help remove the zest from the fruit, then add at your discretion. Using a peeler also helps preserve the citrus pith, which is packed with fiber! While the pith can be bitter and the zest flavor packed, we suggest experimenting with both to see what amount + combination satisfies your tastebuds.
KIWI: Ever thought about biting into a kiwi whole? Maybe you should! While most people scrape away the kiwi skin, the skin is high in vitamin C, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.
How to use: The peel of the kiwi fruit can be tart, so we suggest starting small.
CUCUMBER: The dark skin of the cucumber contains the majority of a cucumber’s antioxidants, insoluble fiber and potassium. The cucumber peel also holds most of the fruit’s vitamin K.
How to use: Next time your prepping cucumber for your green smoothie, try leaving the cucumber whole or part of the peel on.
MANGO: Looking for mango to pull double duty? Researchers found that mango skin helps burn fat and inhibits the production of mature fat cells. The mango peel is also heavily concentrated with carotenoids and polyunsaturated fatty acids – fighting off cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease.
How to use: When blending the mango skin we suggest selecting your fruit when the fruit is ripe and the skin is at its thinnest. While the mango skin is packed with nutrients, those sensitive to poison ivy or poison oak should avoid eating the skin due to a potential allergic reaction known as “mango itch”.
CARROTS: The highest concentration of phytonutrients are found in a carrot’s skin or immediately underneath. Technically a vegetable, but sweet enough to go under fruit for this exercise. 🙂
How to use: Simply wash and rinse the carrot thoroughly rather than peeling.
WATERMELON: During the summer do you find yourself gobbling up watermelon, but stopping short of the tart white rind? While the rind is tart, by throwing away the rind, you’re discarding 40% of the watermelon’s weight and losing a potent source of citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid that improves blood flow, decreases blood pressure and works to improve your overall cardiovascular health. The rind is also lower in sugar content than the flesh and higher in potassium and dietary fiber.
How to use: Instead of throwing the white rind away, when cutting up your watermelon, leave some of the white rind attached. If you find the rind bitter, adding a natural sweetener or spices like ginger will help balance the flavor.
BANANA: How does the thought of adding banana peel to your next green smoothie make you feel? It should actually make you feel great, as it’s known to increase your serotonin levels (those feel good vibes). The peel is also packed with potassium, soluble fiber (which makes you feel full) and insoluble fiber (which keeps your body regular).
How to use: Try adding a small piece of peel into your next smoothie! Waiting till the fruit is more ripe will yield a thinner, tastier skin.
STONE FRUIT: Peaches, plums, nectarines…we can’t get enough! Especially because the peel is packed with vitamin C, known for reducing wrinkles, improving skin texture and helping to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution. Stone fruit’s peel also provides you with insoluble fiber helping to prevent constipation.
How to use: Next time you’re blending stone fruit, remove the pit, but leave the peel!
PEARS: The peel provides about half of the pear’s total dietary fiber, as well as, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Quercetin is another antioxidant found in the skin of pears. It’s beneficial for cancer prevention and can help reduce blood pressure.
How to use: We suggest removing the core and seeds prior to blending, but leave the peel! Just an FYI – while the peel is nutrient packed, it may make your smoothie slightly gritty.