should you cut skin off fruits and vegetables?

My sons Kincade and Tennyson hate peaches because of their fuzzy skin. I tell them they’re crazy, because inside the fuzzy skin is one of the most fabulous foods on this planet, when they’re in season. (My mom soaked sliced fresh peaches in orange juice overnight–it’s wonderful, and even my peach-skin-haters love it.)

I refused to indulge the “cutting the skin off” thing, even when my kids were little, and I highly recommend you young moms avoid starting that habit. Do it just ONCE and your little ones have been trained to refuse to eat the skins of fruit.

I thought about this because I was with my friend Jean this week, and 9-year old Tennyson came to me and asked me what he could eat. I recommended a peach out of the big box I had on the counter. He whined about the skin and Jean offered to peel it for him. I wasn’t about to deny her this sweet gesture, but I thought, “Ohhh, here we go.”

Why does this matter? The skin of fruit has higher concentrations of antioxidants and fiber (with lower sugar) than the rest of the fruit. (I know, pesticides, too, but wash your produce well, and cut out the top and bottom divots in apples, because that’s where pesticides collect.) Remember that all the studies showing massive health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables are done with conventional produce. And remember that animal protein has a much higher concentration of pesticides than even sprayed vegs and fruits do.

The minute you cut the skin off the apple or peach for a child, you have consigned yourself to a lifetime of making the world’s fast foods a great big hassle. You won’t always be there to cut the skins off. Wouldn’t it be better to train them to eat the whole thing, so they can, in future years, come home, wash the apple in the bowl on your counter, and eat the whole, nutritious thing? Remove the peel and the food isn’t quite as “whole”–less fiber is slowing down bloodstream sugar absorption.

I’m hoping to get you thinking, young moms, so you don’t get this started. Don’t cut whole-wheat bread crusts off bread, either. We’re teaching our children to not use their jaws, causing devolution (the opposite of evolution) of their palates and jaws, and they need those strong muscles and wide palates to break down fibrous whole foods.

16 thoughts on “should you cut skin off fruits and vegetables?

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  1. Way to go Robyn! 🙂 But, it’s so hard to say no to cute kids! So, is Jean going to stop peeling the skins now? 🙂

    I spent a lot of time in New Zealand before kiwi fruits were as well known here, and I have always eaten the skins.

    I notice here in the US a lot of people peel them or eat them like grapefruit w/ a spoon. I’ve always assumed the skin is ok on kiwi fruit. Hopefully it is!



  2. Great advice. My mom refused to cut off crusts on bread or the skin on fruit for me and my brothers–we just learned to eat the whole fruit and the whole piece of bread. The only reason we even asked for those things to be cut off is because we saw other kids with crustless sandwiches or peeled apples, otherwise we wouldn’t have even thought to ask that because we’d been eating those things whole since we could remember.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree! I never got into the habit and my adult ‘kids’ love fruit in its entirety. They are fruit & veggie lovers and extremely healthy.

  4. Greetings y’all, Please reply also to me at so that I will not fail to get the answers.

    Looking online for listings of what skins/seeds for fruit and vegetables are editable or not has not produced much, so far.

    Can you refer me to a site that really deals with this topic or share your own knowledge of this subject.

    For example, most/some skins and seeds will smoothie nicely, but are they safe and desirable?

    I will appreciate all your answers/updates, Ed Taflinger

  5. Good advice and not just for the Mom’s – Dad’s need to know this also. The rule of thumb I learned from an Uncle was if it was thin skinned you can eat it. Fruits like oranges and lemons? The white part on the inside of the skin – the pith – is edible also and like most fruits and vegetables has more nutrients than the “meat.” Save the skins of the these to add as ‘”zest” to dishes. Just grate it over casseroles or salads. Not peeling the skin also holds true for carrots but definitely not broccoli! Finally, try to buy organic fruit and vegetables as much as possible. Then you can eat the whole fruit – seeds and all — just like my Uncle did!

  6. I never took skins of my sons’ fruit or crusts of the bread. And very early started te feed him whole fruits instead of mashing it. So he was used to use his teeth. But a couple of months ago (Jonah is now 2y3m) he started to spit skins out and refused to eat his crusts! But now, reading this topic, I leave the skin on again not giving him anything else if he doesn’t eat it. I only started it yesterday. Sometimes he eats a bit, sometimes he spits it out.

    Can I still teach him to eat skins and crust again, or is to late because for a while I wasn’t very consistent?

  7. Chewing strengthens the periodontal ligament and a tight ligament around the tooth prevents bacterial invasion. Chewing something tough once in awhile is crucial for dental health! If a child never eats their crust, apple peel, or anything else challenging it is hurting them in more ways than one. When avoiding bread crust, my kids have often heard me say, “why don’t you try exercising your teeth?” They’ll often take a few bites just to humor me and as they get older I notice they eat all the crust more and more often.

  8. I usually don’t peel beets after cooking them (or if grating them raw). No one has ever said, “these beets have a funny texture.”

    From what I’ve read, kiwi skins are edible and so are lemon peels (the entire thing, not just the pith).

    Another one I recently looked up is mango skin, which is edible but contains a potential allergen.

  9. Thank you all for your great bits of info. I LOVE the skins of almost all fruits and veggies, never tried Beets, but will fr sr.

  10. The best part of a baked potato is the crusty skin (when baked properly) and even the red potato. I get bunches of those since my finicky daughter will not eat the skin. Roasted potatos – any kind – with the skin on are awesome, especially if roasted over a hot fire. My daddy, dear man, would only eat peaches that had the fuzzy skin, he kidded me with “the bald ones are not as tasty”.

  11. Great hint from a great chef, my nephew. Roast pork or chicken: After meat has roasted and browned on both sides, cover with any choice of cut up pieces of fresh fruits, (skins on, of course), especially pitted prunes and/or raisens, pineapple, apples, oranges, peaches, all kinds of grapes, kiwi, avacado, mango, etc. and, my favorite, large chunks of cut up grapefruit and lemon. Cover, replace into oven or onto grill. The flavors and scents are marvelous AND the juice and gravy are like an ambrosia. Remove when meat is tender, many of the fruits will have woven into the gravy. For an added treat when ready to set onto table, cover with a large number of large grilled shrimp. Your guests won’t know which to place their forks into first.

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