Don't peel away the nutrients

Fruit Facts

Don't peel away the nutrients

We all love to have oranges, and its different sour and sweet varieties, in winter especially. Most of us take out the juicy pulp and throw the peel away either out of ignorance of the qualities of citrus peels or sheer laziness.

Then, many are also scared of consuming pesticides, sprinkled liberally on fruits, by using the peels.

The fears are not completely unfounded, but nutritionists say that there are ways to get rid of the chemicals. Also, there are many simple, and yet delicious, methods of using peels in your daily food. Read on to know more.

Ravindra Choudhary, head chef, Expresso Grill, says, “The easiest way of using peels to spice up your food is to make zest. Just grate the outer peel of your lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit and use them in Chinese soups, lemon tart, zarda (a rice dish), marinating seafood, dressing up meat or salad. You can also make zest and keep it in your fridge if you don’t have use for it immediately. Just take care not to grate the bitter white pith of the peel.”

“Besides,” he says, “You can make citrus extract powder. Make zest or twists (strips of the outer layer) and allow to dry. Then put it in a blender, pulverize into a powder and store in a clean jar. Also, you can mix lemon extract powder with freshly cracked pepper and make lemon pepper,  keep citrus twists in olive oil jars and make citrus olive oil, or else keep them in bottles of vinegar and honey and make citrus infused honey or vinegar.”

Other than these, you can make candied citrus peels, jams and marmalades by boiling lemon, lime, orange or grapefuit twists in water and sugar. Alternatively, use can preserve them in oil and spices and make pickles, chutney or savoury sauces. Also, put them in your tea or brandy to make lemon tea or lemon brandy.

As far as the danger of peels harbouring pesticides is concerned, Dr Shipra Saklani Mishra, clinical nutritionist at Fortis La Femme hospital, says, “One can get rid of most chemicals and dirt by cleaning fruits with a soft brush. Further, you can soak them in warm water with salt, vinegar or chlorine in it. Lastly, washing fruits in potassium permanganate makes them completely pesticide free.”

“You may consume kilos of fruit pulp but essential fibre, vitamins, iron and phytonutrients are present on the peel only. Therefore, eat the pulp, but don’t throw away the peel.”

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