All About Peeling Vegetables and Fruits

How to Peel Different Fruits and Veggies

Some cooks peel almost every fruit or vegetable that comes through their kitchen; others adamantly leave every peel on in the name of saving precious vitamins and minerals. Wondering which fruits and vegetables should you peel and why? Read the answers below. 

  • 01 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables to Always Peel

    Person peeling pineapple on cutting board
    Dave King / Getty Images

    Always? Like "never", isn't "always" a word we're supposed to avoid in life? Or is that just in couples counseling? When talking about peeling it's certainly a tricky word to employ. The vast majority of fruits and vegetables have a peel or skin that is edible. The great exceptions are:

    • Hard winter squashes (the amazingly sweet and tender delicata squash is the exception to that exception)
    • Citrus fruits (although those peels can be rendered edible through preserving, pickling, and marmalades)
    • Melons (again, pickling makes them edible)
    • Onions and garlic
    • Tropical fruits (pineapples, banana, papayas, and mangoes)

    Other than these, though peeling is more a question of taste and texture than edibility.

  • 02 of 06

    Fruits and Vegetables to Sometimes Peel

    Fresh cucumbers and slices
    Lorenzo Vecchia/Getty Images

    Plenty of vegetables that we commonly peel can be eaten with the peel on if you like. Eggplants and cucumbers, in particular, have skins that some people find difficult to digest. While they are traditionally peeled, they do not have to be if you don't have trouble with them.

  • 03 of 06

    How to Peel Delicate Fruits and Vegetables

    Peeling tomato
    Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

    Different fruits and vegetables require different peeling techniques. While you can take a peeler to carrots and potatoes, delicate fruits and vegetables like peaches and tomatoes are easier to peel if you put them in a boiling water bath for about 30 seconds first to loosen their skins

  • 04 of 06

    How to Peel Heavy Skinned Fruits and Vegetables

    Watermelon sections on wooden surface

    Destinations by DES - Desislava Panteva Photography / Getty Images

    Heavy-skinned fruits and vegetables like citrus, melons, and hard squashes are all peeled the same way: cut off enough of the ends to reveal the fruit or vegetables under the peel, set it flat, and cut down the sides with a sharp knife to remove the peel. Large melons and squashes may be easier to handle if you cut them in half to quarters first.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    How to Peel Root Vegetables

    Peeling Onions Under Water

    Molly Watson

    Root vegetables are mostly pretty easy to peel with a decent, sharp peeler or paring knife. The papery skin on onions is easier removed if you cut the onion first (peeling under water helps reduce tears) and nothing slips off more quickly than the peel of a roasted beet.

  • 06 of 06

    Thrifty Peeling

    Peeled asparagus

    Molly Watson

    Peeling can make some parts of fruits and vegetables we often throw away perfectly (and deliciously) edible, like the tough ends of asparagus or broccoli stems.