Quick Post: Skin Deep and More, The Quick Skinny on Kiwis

Recently, I've been interviewing sources for an article, and in the process,  discovered a few interesting tidbits indirectly related to my topic. One in particular has already impacted my life, in a small, but pleasingly tangy and satisfying way: you can eat kiwi skins. "Not many people know this," Sara Ferrigno, a nutritionist in San Francisco, told me. I had never before thought about it myself, even though the idea made complete and utter sense. After all, we embrace apple and potato skins as being the biggest part of the nutritional package, along with a whole host of other foods, including grapes. What's more, Sara's description made kiwi-skin eating seem tantalizingly easy and freshly appealing. "I love doing this," she said. " It allows you to take the fruit on-the-go and is a great way to boost fiber in your diet, skins being where fiber is the most concentrated.  And, believe it or not, the skin doesn't taste like much at all- just wash and go!" You wouldn't think this revelation would be such a big deal, but not only are the hairy exteriors generally unappealing, they represent just that teeny bit of hassle that often makes me leave lusciously delicious kiwis in the fruit bowl too long. This is a shame, as kiwis contain more vitamin C than the equivalent amount of oranges, plus a whole host of other great nutrients. The combination of health-promoting phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals in kiwis are in fact the subject of a lot of ongoing research, with regard to both oral and topical use. Anyway, after hearing Sara's endorsement, I immediately tried scrubbing and eating a kiwi-on-the-go, and, seriously, aside from the two pointy, knobby ends that had to be discarded, it was awesome. Admittedly,the timing was great, as I was thirsty after finishing a run. Since then, however, I've eaten several more kiwis, skin and all, at varying times of day. The result is, I've felt an injection of refreshing variety in my week, and I've channeled a little thought and curiosity into what other fruit and vegetable skins are surprisingly edible. For one,  Sara's comment reminded me of something I read by Jamie Oliver concerning roasted butternut squash. He cuts his squash into wedges, removes the seeds, dabs with a little olive oil and salt, and rubs with spices. He then roasts, skin sides down, at 400 degrees F until tender, about half an hour. In The Naked Chef, Jamie writes, "The spicy flavor will cook into the squash, and the skin will crisp slightly,  becoming caramelized and chewy." Quickly doing a little research online, I'm learning that all parts of squash plants in general are edible when cooked. In fact, the entire plant can be eaten when prepared well. Other peels that come up in a quick search for the surprisingly edible include bananas, plantains, and mangoes, but at this juncture I'm a bit skeptical and not motivated enough to experiment. Yet. Photo credit: Flikr user Darrren Hester