I recently was asked the question: should I peel my apple to rid any pesticides that may be present, or leave it unpeeled for its potential health benefits? While my answer was ultimately "leave it unpeeled," it's not quite as simple as that.
Many of us may already know that leaving the peel on is generally superior in nutrition than if you were to peel it. But does it make that much difference? According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one medium apple with the peel on has nearly double the fiber, 20% more potassium and 40% more vitamin A! That's certainly worth it!
But what about the pesticide issue? Choosing organic could help reduce exposure to pesticide residues, and thus be the best option to have your apple and the peel too. However, a 2012 report from the USDA Pesticide Data Program shows that "conventional foods tested for pesticide residues were at levels below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency, and do not pose a safety concern." In other words, there is no data to support that conventional produce is unsafe (or inferior in nutrition) than organic, so you shouldn't have to worry about peeling that apple or having to fork up the extra costs to buy organic (unless you simply choose to buy organic for other reasons).
Whether organic or conventional and peeled or unpeeled, you should first wash your produce thoroughly under running water. Soap or commercial washes are not recommended. Continue to eat those apples and leave the peel on!
Apple Berry Crisp
1 large apple, peeled or unpeeled, sliced
¾ cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
4 packets sugar substitute
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup uncooked oats
¼ cup flour
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped pecans
1½ Tablespoons margarine
Preheat oven to 350ᵒF. Coat inside of 1-quart heat-proof baking dish with cooking spray. Place sliced apple into dish. Add fresh or frozen blueberries and toss lightly. Combine cinnamon and sweeteners in mixing bowl. Sprinkle over fruit. In same mixing bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and pecans. Add margarine and mix with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit in baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or just until fruit juices bubble up on sides and in the middle of the dish.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional analysis per serving: 158 calories, 4 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 30 milligrams sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams protein