I have always been of the belief that peeling vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and eggplant among a few others was a safer way to serve them to my family. After all, due to all the pesticides or just the way a dish required like mashed potatoes, peeling was essential. However, I may have been denying my family some precious nutrition along with fiber. By discarding those vegetable peels, I was also throwing away additional health benefits from more powerful nutrients.
From what I have discovered is that most of the vegetable peels possess a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber than the actual vegetable. Furthermore, the coloring of the vegetable gives you a clue as to the beneficial phytochemicals you could be scraping away.
First of all, you have to get a vegetable brush and scrub away clinging traces of dirt. Afterwards, you should clean those vegetables in water with a few tablespoons of vinegar to better clean them.
For instance, when you want to make mashed potatoes, peel them and set them aside for a pot of soup. Then put your potatoes in some water and set it aside until you’re ready to cook and mash them.
Would you believe that potato peels have more nutrients than the potato itself? Besides providing extra fiber, it has B vitamins, iron, calcium, vitamin C among other of its wonderful nutrients?
What I like to do is put on a pot of lentil soup. I chop the peel very small and put them alongside other vegetables that I may be working on the same time like celery tops, carrots, etc. to enrich the broth. I also add additional potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, fresh herbs like parsley, etc.
Here is something else that you try that I was taught years ago by an elderly neighbor. Put a whole and unpeeled onion in chicken soup will give it a richer yellow color. I don’t think she knew that its peel had more nutrient potential with its quercetin that could help reduce blood pressure and build up of arterial plaque.
Speaking of celery tops, I also save them for making a stuffing, throwing in casseroles, meat loaves, fish patties, bean burgers, etc. Those leaves have about five times more magnesium and calcium than the celery stalk. In addition, they also have plenty of vitamin C, E, A, and K besides folate.
Carrots have a high amount of vitamin C, niacin and beta carotene hidden in its peel. Half of its phytonutrients are also found in the peel as well.
Of course, you will not want to use vegetable peels in everything you make. However, once you clean them properly and put them in recipes, you might be surprised at the health benefits of vegetable peels while stretching your food budget.