Factors such as preparation goals vary from item to item when I decide whether I am planning to peel my fresh fruits and vegetables.
With regards to carrots, for example, when consuming one right out of the bag, I never tend to peel them before crunching down on the sweet root vegetable.
But when making carrots sticks for hummus, or adding to a soup or roasted vegetable tray, the peeler typically makes an appearance.
For cucumbers, I almost never peel them, unless the skin is particularly robust.
I also don’t peel tomatoes unless I’m making a pasta sauce or salsa. In that case, tomatoes are quickly placed in boiling water to assist in removing the skins. I peel my apples when making a crisp or pie, but not when enjoyed in its raw state.
Potatoes, winter squash, peppers and beets too can swing in either direction depending on the objective.
One fresh fruit that I peeled 100 percent of the time until just a couple of years ago is kiwifruit.
The fuzzy brown skin can seem quite unappealing at first, but when grower Bob Criswell of Mallard Lake Ranch pointed out that he often consumes the fruit and skin in unison, I decided to give it a go.
After a quick rinse to remove the little hairs on the fruit’s exterior, I bit in and was pleasantly surprised.
I didn’t need any utensils to cut the kiwifruit in half and then scoop out the flesh, which can be cumbersome, particularly when enjoying on the go. Sure, the texture isn’t quite as smooth than when the skins are absent, but they are much more enjoyable than expected.
If you’re still on the fence about enjoying kiwifruit, skins and all, the enhanced nutritional benefits of this superfood may be enough of a motivator. Consuming the skins with the kiwifruit can increase its fiber contact by 50%, can raise the vitamin E levels by nearly 35% and can increase folate levels by just over 30%.
To this date, I do have times when I peel my kiwifruit, such as in the week’s recipe below. But when enjoying them on the spot, I just bite right in.
This week I prepared a seasonal fruit salad, incorporating fresh persimmons and pomegranates, both prolific this time of year.
Seasonal kiwifruit salad
6 kiwifruits, ripe but firm
2 Fuyu persimmons, ends trimmed, cut into small cubes
1 pomegranate, skins and membrane discarded, seeds and surrounding pulp only
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1-2 limes, juiced
Pinch of salad
Optional, thinly sliced jalapeno
3 ounces feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts or almonds
Aged balsamic vinegar
While you can trim the ends and slice with the skins on, for this dish I remove the skins and cut into either rounds or cubes. In a mixing bowl, combine Fuyu persimmon, pomegranate seeds, cilantro leaves, lime juice, pinch of salt and jalapeno (if using). Toss. Then gently toss in kiwifruit, feta cheese and nuts. Plate and drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar.
Yield: Serves 4 sides.