A fan writes: “When juicing, should I leave the skins on or take them off?
Juicing Vs. Eating Fruits and Vegetables
I suppose the answer is relatively the same whether you are juicing or just eating your fruits and vegetables. Juicers do remove most of the fiber and may not extract the juicy nutrients from the peel as well as from the pulp. So you will be missing out on many of the benefits of the peel… unless you eat your pulp too. “Pulp Seed Crackers” are an excellent way to consume the parts that juicers take out.
Centuries ago, there were wine presses… but not juicers. People ate their fruits and vegetables. You could imagine that they may have been picked from the tree, bush, or vine and often eaten on the spot… or put in a basket to take home to the family. There was no modern plumbing. The vegetation may not have even been rinsed. Many things were eaten with the skins on them… and the dust… and the soil spore probiotics and more.
Nowadays we have more to be concerned about. Fruits and vegetables in the produce section may have been sprayed with waxes to improve their appearance and ripeners to make them ready to eat. The farmers that grew them may have sprayed them with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers. There may be a lot more on the skins to be concerned about.
Why Eat The Skins and Peels?
Not all skins and peels are edible. Often times, the skin and peels are there to protect the plant from insects, microbes, and animals. They may contain bitter phytochemicals that, in small quantities, may even have desired health or medical benefits. But often times, consumption in large amounts can cause serious health challenges and even death.
Sometimes it is inherently obvious if it is not edible. You can imagine how difficult it would be to eat through a pineapple skin. They are not meant to be eaten. And isn’t it obvious that garlic should be peeled? If you have ever cut into an aloe vera leaf and tasted to bitter yellow sap, you will likely never do it again. It is an experience similar to putting your hand on a hot stove; you will learn your lesson the first time! Yet some people do use that bitter sap medicinally as a laxative (I don’t think this is a good idea, though…).
But for a lot of fruits and vegetables, the skins are where the nutrients are the most dense. Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to be intuitive about these things. You can just search “what fruit and vegetable peels are edible” and what fruit and vegetable peels are inedible”. You can also observe the animals and see what they eat.
My friend Scott Joseph wrote an interesting book called “The Chimp Diet”. He observed that Chimpanzees ate the “whole fruit”… the whole banana… the whole avocado… Interestingly I found avocado skins on the inedible list. But I’m unsure of its true correct classification. Scott also has a delicious product line called “Love Plantz”… truly “whole food” juices with peels, pulp, and seeds included. Whether you agree wholly with his observations and products, it surely is worth considering.
For me, in most cases, I’m going to include the skins and peels. I certainly won’t be peeling carrots before juicing, but I’ll probably wash them. I’ll probably peel cucumbers because I don’t like their bitter skins – though they are edible. I’ll eat the whole apple but peel the banana… even though the peel is edible. Banana peels don’t appeal to me. I’d never juice a banana… the skins of potatoes are loaded with nutrients.
Chances are your juice cocktails are mostly the same fruits roots and vegetables over and over again. So it will be easy to look up their skins and peels edibility and decide whether or not to eat them. But one thing is for sure: Due your due diligence and know whether the skins were sprayed with chemicals and whether or not they are organic.