The goal of the Family & Consumer Sciences Program is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in Garrard County. We want to help the residents of our county meet new challenges in a changing environment. We focus on our clients' economic and social well-being through programs that help people extend their incomes, improve their health and strengthen their personal and family relationships.

For more information, contact Mary Hixson, County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences at the Garrard County Extension Office 859-792-3026



Let’s Eat the Peel!

By Mary Hixson, FCS Extension agent for Garrard County

The benefits of fruits and vegetables are well known. Full of vitamins and minerals, eating them is important for a healthy diet. However, what about the peel which we normally discard? Turns out, you might want to give that a second look. 

While the amount of nutrients differs based on the fruit or vegetable, generally speaking, eating the produce with peel intact can provide higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber compared to its peeled counterparts. Studies have found that a raw apple with the skin contains up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium and up to 19% more potassium than an apple without its peel.

            Likewise, a boiled potato with the skin can contain up to 175% additional vitamin C, 115% extra potassium, 111% more folate and 110% added magnesium and phosphorus than one without the peel. Thankfully, the trend to leave the potato skin on has been around a long time. Many would not dare fix the potatoes and peel them first! If it’s a new concept, try peeling only partial peel off the potatoes when fixing mashed potatoes.

Most people use orange peels for zesting, but just one tablespoon of the fruit’s peel provides 14% of the daily value of vitamin C. That’s almost three times more than the inner portion. The same serving also gives you about four times more fiber. 

Let’s talk about the fiber!  You probably never thought of eating a kiwi with the peel on, but if you do, you’ll get 50% more fiber. The texture of the peel isn’t as tough as you might think. It is similar to that of a peach. Kiwi peel also provides 34% folate and 32% vitamin E. Not to mention, kiwi fruit is much easier to eat if you don’t remove the peel. 

Up to 31% of the total amount of fiber in a vegetable can be found in its skin. Higher fiber content will keep you fuller for longer and research has shown that fiber found in fruits and vegetables can be especially effective at reducing your appetite.  

Don’t forget antioxidants that fight against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Levels of antioxidants can be up to 328 times higher in fruit peels than in pulp. 

While eating fruits and vegetables with the peel does provide more nutrients, it is always important to consider food safety. Make sure you thoroughly wash any fruits or vegetables whether you eat the food with the peel or decide to peel and cut it, to rid the produce of any dirt or germs. Washing means running warm water over the fruit or vegetable and using a soft brush to remove dirt/germs. Always wash before cutting up the fruit or vegetable for food safety reasons.

For more information on healthy eating, nutritious recipes or meal preparation, contact the Garrard County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. 859-792-3026.   

Source: Heather Norman-Burgdolf, Extension Specialist in food and nutrition


Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.