Oranges are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed in many forms. Some people prefer eating oranges whole and peeled, while others like juicing them to drink the fresh squeezed juice. When making orange juice, a common question that arises is whether or not to leave the peel on while juicing.
Pros of Juicing Oranges with the Peel
There are some potential benefits to juicing oranges without first removing the peel:
- More fiber – The peel contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which provides health benefits like improved digestion.
- More nutrients – The peel contains citrus bioflavonoids, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium that can be extracted into the juice.
- More intense flavor – Some people feel the peel adds a pleasant bitterness and aroma to orange juice.
The peel contains plant compounds like flavonoids, polyphenols, and essential oils that give oranges many of their health benefits. Leaving the peel on while juicing can maximize the nutrient content of the juice.
Cons of Juicing Oranges with the Peel
However, there are also some downsides to consider with leaving the peel on oranges during juicing:
- Bitter taste – The flavonoids in the peel contain bitter notes that not everyone enjoys in their orange juice.
- Food safety concerns – Pesticide residues on the peel can get transferred to the juice unless the oranges are organic.
- Difficulty juicing – The peel contains tough cell walls that some juicers have difficulty properly juicing.
- Unpleasant texture – Small bits of peel in the juice can create an unpleasant mouthfeel.
The bitter taste and texture of the peel are the main complaints people have with juicing oranges without peeling them first. This can be mitigated by using organic oranges or thoroughly scrubbing the peel.
Best Practices for Juicing Oranges
Here are some tips on the best practices for juicing oranges:
- Wash the oranges thoroughly before juicing even if you plan to peel them.
- Use organic oranges whenever possible to minimize pesticide exposure from the peel.
- Peel waxed oranges since the wax can impart off flavors.
- Remove any bruised or damaged sections of peel before juicing.
- Use a powerful juicer that can thoroughly grind peels if leaving them on.
- Consider soaking oranges in boiling water for 5 minutes before juicing with peel to soften the peel.
- Sweeten orange juice with a bit of organic honey or pure maple syrup if needed to counteract bitterness.
- Drink the juice immediately after making for the best flavor and nutrient content.
Following these best practices can help maximize nutrition and taste whether you prefer to juice oranges with or without the peel.
Nutrition Comparison of Orange Juice With and Without Peel
Here is a nutrition comparison between orange juice made with the peel and orange juice with just the fruit flesh:
|Nutrient||Orange Juice Without Peel||Orange Juice With Peel|
|Total Carbohydrates||25 g||25 g|
|Sugars||20 g||20 g|
|Fiber||0.5 g||3.5 g|
|Protein||2 g||2 g|
|Vitamin C||124 mg||138 mg|
|Thiamin||0.1 mg||0.3 mg|
|Niacin||0.5 mg||1 mg|
|Folate||30 mcg||68 mcg|
|Potassium||496 mg||521 mg|
|Magnesium||27 mg||39 mg|
As you can see, orange juice made with the peel provides significantly more fiber, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, folate, potassium, and magnesium compared to juice made without the peel. The bitter flavonoids and essential oils in the peel account for many of these nutritional differences.
Potential Health Benefits
Drinking orange juice made with the peel offers these potential health benefits:
- Higher antioxidant levels – The peel contains antioxidant polyphenols that can help neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to cells.
- Anti-inflammatory effects – Compounds in the peel have anti-inflammatory properties that may lower inflammation in conditions like arthritis.
- Improved heart health – The fiber, potassium, polyphenols and other nutrients in the peel can support cardiovascular function.
- Anti-cancer activity – Orange peel extracts have shown anticancer effects in laboratory studies.
- Better blood sugar control – The fiber in the peel helps slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels.
More research in humans is still needed on the specific health benefits of orange peels. But the combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants they provide can certainly contribute to a healthy diet.
Possible Downsides to Consumption
While orange peels can provide nutritional benefits, there are also some potential downsides to consider:
- May interact with certain medications – Compounds in the peel may inhibit enzymes involved in drug metabolism.
- Allergen risk – The peel contains volatile oils that could potentially cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
- Pesticide exposure – Peels might concentrate higher levels of pesticides compared to the fruit flesh.
- Higher oxalate content – Oxalates may contribute to kidney stones in those prone to the condition.
- Unwanted texture or flavor – As mentioned earlier, some object to the texture and bitter taste.
As long as you are not prone to kidney issues or allergies, the possible benefits of orange peels likely outweigh the potential risks for most healthy individuals.
Juicing Without Peels
If you find the texture or taste of oranges peels unappealing, you can still make nutritious orange juice by peeling them first. Here are some tips for making great orange juice without the peels:
- Opt for organic Valencia or navel oranges, which tend to be sweeter.
- Wash the oranges thoroughly before peeling.
- Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin and white pith.
- Make sure to remove any remaining bits of pith, which can add bitterness.
- Juice the oranges as soon as possible after peeling for maximum freshness.
- Consider blending peeled orange segments before juicing to yield more juice.
- Store orange juice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
While peeling the oranges removes some nutrients present in the peel, you still get beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes from the orange flesh. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice can help balance the sweetness.
Should You Juice Oranges With the Peel?
When it comes down to it, whether or not to juice oranges with the peel is a personal preference. Here are some factors to consider when deciding:
- How sensitive you are to bitter flavors
- If you have an orange juicer powerful enough to handle peels
- Any potential pesticide risks from your oranges’ origin
- Your fiber, vitamin and antioxidant needs
- How much time you have to commit to thorough cleaning and peeling
In general, juicing oranges without peeling first yields a tastier, smoother juice that most find easier to drink and enjoy. But leaving the peels on provides a greater concentration of nutrients and plant compounds that can offer health benefits. Organic oranges are always ideal when including peels.
While the peel does add beneficial fiber and phytonutrients, the bitterness and difficulty juicing peels makes them unappealing to many orange juice fans. For the easiest drinking experience, thoroughly peeling oranges before juicing is recommended. But those who don’t mind the texture and taste may find juicing oranges with peels worthwhile for the extra nutritional value. Whether you peel or not, homemade orange juice from fresh squeezed oranges makes a tasty and healthy beverage you can customize to your liking.