Peels, Pulp and Seeds

peelsFruit peel, or fruit skin is the outer, protective covering in fruits. In general, the skin in some tough-layered fruits such as pomegranate, passion fruit, mangosteen…etc., is known as the rind, while in citrus fruits such as in oranges, it is better termed as peel (zest). Besides its outer cover protect underlying edible portion of fruit from harsh environmental factors as well as micro, and macro organisms, it, indeed, holds some of vital health benefiting constituents such as dietary fiber, and phyto-nutrients that help accomplish overall wellness.

Fruit peel is either firmly adherent to its underlying flesh as in berries, and apples or rather loosely, as in oranges, banana…etc. Its thickness varies widely, even in the same family fruits, ranging from paper thin to very thick shell-like as in mangosteen.

bananaIn some raw fruits, the peel has neutral flavor, as in grapes and apples. It can be bitter and inedible because of high tannin (astringent) content in unripe sapodilla and proteolytic enzymes in papaya. As the fruit ripens, the peel becomes easily separable from the pulp (bananas). In addition, its components turn sweeter and become pleasant-tasting as in sapodilla, guava, kiwifruit, and kumquat.

Fruit peel is very rich in essential oils which give a characteristic aroma to the fruit. These oil glands are spread all over the peel but denser near its pits. These oil glands are quite uniquely prominent in citrus fruits like lemons, and oranges.

Apple: The skins of apples are a good source of vitamin A but are extremely high in vitamin C.  As much as 50% of the vitamin C in the fruit can be found in the skin.  The skin also contains fiber, antioxidants, and quercetin, a flavonoid that is purported to have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Apricot:  Apricot skins are good sources of vitamin C and beta-carotene. 

Banana:  The peel of the banana is edible and is high in fiber. 

Grape:  Grape skins are great for you and contain up to 100 times the concentration of resveratrol as does the grape pulp.  Resveratrol is a phytochemical that has been linked to the inhibition of cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s.  It is also highly prevalent in the seeds, especially those of globe and muscadine grapes, along with vitamin E, linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), and other antioxidants.

Kiwi:  The skin contains flavonoids and insoluble fiber. Kiwi seeds have always generally been considered edible.  They are great sources of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids

Orange:  There is as much vitamin C in its pith as the rest of the fruit, as well as fiber, pectin, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants. Trace amounts of anti-fungal properties and vitamin B-17, a purported cancer fighter, have been discovered in orange seeds. 

Peach:  The skin is very nutritious, containing vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants.

Pear:  There are numerous pear varieties in the United States, the most common of which is the European. The skin is a good source of vitamin C and chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant.

Pineapple:  The healthiest part of a pineapple is its core which is loaded with bromelain, an enzyme which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.  Vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and copper can all be found in the core as well.  Pineapple skin is also nutritious, containing vitamin C and bromelain.

Mango:  Mango peel is rich in phytonutrients but, ironically, is at its most bitter when the fruit is ripest.

Watermelon:  The watermelon, as a whole, is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. The outer skin is not exceptionally nutritious, but the rind definitely is, containing vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and lycopene, an especially beneficial phytonutrient that studies suggest may serve as a preventative for certain cancers such as prostate cancer. Its seeds contain zinc, iron, and fiber, and can be composed of up to 30% protein. 

 Seeds: Many fruit seeds are high in vitamins, including B-17 and are an excellent source of fiber. Apple and apricot seeds may have cancer-fighting properties. Nature intends fruit seeds to be eaten; they have evolved to survive the journey through the digestive system. When eliminated, seeds are scattered away from the parent plant to sprout without competing for resources.