Skip to Content

Why don’t people eat kiwi skin?

Kiwis are a nutritious and delicious fruit that have a unique and vibrant green flesh speckled with tiny black seeds. However, one part of the kiwi that often gets discarded is the fuzzy brown skin. Many people simply scoop out the green insides and throw away the skin, but is this necessary? Here’s an in-depth look at whether kiwi skins are edible and why most people choose not to eat them.

The Case for Eating Kiwi Skin

There are a few reasons why it may be beneficial to consume kiwi skin:

  • It contains high amounts of fiber – The skin of a kiwi contains plenty of fiber. A 100g serving provides around 20% of the recommended daily intake. Fiber is important for digestive health.
  • It has more nutrients than the flesh – The skin offers slightly more nutrients per gram than the inside flesh. Specifically, it contains more vitamin E, folate, and polyphenols which act as antioxidants.
  • It may have probiotic potential – Some research indicates the skin contains bacteria that could provide probiotic benefits to support gut health. The strains seem to survive digestion better than other fruit skin bacteria.
  • To reduce waste – Choosing to eat kiwi skins reduces food waste. The skins are entirely edible, so throwing them away is unnecessary.

Reasons People Avoid Kiwi Skins

With the potential benefits, why do most people still peel kiwis and skip eating the skin? There are a few main reasons behind this choice:

Texture and Mouthfeel

The fuzzy, somewhat hairy texture of kiwi skins is different than the juicy, soft inside flesh. Some find the fibrous, gritty skin unappealing in the mouth.

Flavor

Kiwi skins taste more bitter and sour compared to the sweet, tangy flesh. People often describe their flavor as unpleasant or astringent.

Convenience

It takes more time and effort to thoroughly wash and chew through the tough skins versus simply scooping out the insides.

Appearance

The contrast between the bright green inner flesh and brown exterior also factors into preference. The green color is more appetizing to most.

Unaware it’s Edible

Many people may simply not realize kiwi skin can be eaten. They assume it must be peeled like an orange or banana.

Nutrition Comparison of Kiwi Skins vs. Flesh

Here’s a table looking at the nutrition differences in a 100g serving of kiwi skins versus the flesh:

Nutrient Kiwi skin Kiwi flesh
Calories 44 61
Fiber 2.1g 1.4g
Vitamin C 85mg 92.7mg
Vitamin E 1.5mg 0.1mg
Folate 25mcg 17mcg
Polyphenols 140mg 54mg

As you can see, the skins contain a bit more fiber, vitamin E, folate, and polyphenols. The flesh has slightly more vitamin C and calories.

Tips for Preparing and Eating Kiwi Skins

If you want to start including more kiwi skin in your diet, here are some tips:

  • Wash thoroughly – Use a gentle brush or cloth to remove any residues. Be sure to wash if they’re not organic.
  • Peel thinly – Try peeling off just the fuzziest outermost layer for better texture.
  • Slice or chop – Cutting skins into smaller pieces makes them less fibrous and easier to chew.
  • Blend into smoothies – Mixing chopped skins into fruit smoothies is an easy way to consume them.
  • Dehydrate into chips – Dehydrating sliced skins makes them crispy and chip-like for snacking.
  • Boil into jam – Boiling skins into a jam or chutney concentrates the sweetness.
  • Pair with strong flavors – Combine with sharp cheeses, spices, or sweeteners to balance the bitter taste.

Are Pesticides a Concern with Kiwi Skins?

Some people may avoid kiwi skins due to concerns over pesticide residues. Since the hairy skin is the part directly exposed to pesticides during growth, it may contain more traces compared to the inside flesh.

However, kiwis are still considered a low pesticide crop. In fact, over 90% of conventional kiwi samples tested below detectable pesticide limits (Smith-Spangler et al., 2012). Organic kiwis may offer even greater peace of mind for minimizing exposures.

Washing kiwi skins thoroughly helps remove any surface pesticide residues. But peeling conventionally grown kiwis and consuming only the flesh is still an effective way to further lower risks.

Allergies and Oral Allergy Syndrome

For some individuals, consuming kiwi skins could trigger an allergic response. People with known kiwi allergies should be cautious and ask their doctor before adding skins into their diet.

Kiwi skins contain higher amounts of potential allergens like calcium oxalate crystals. The skins are also more likely to cause oral allergy syndrome, an itching or irritation of the mouth and throat after eating certain raw fruits and vegetables.

Cooking kiwi skins may help reduce these compounds and minimize allergy risks. But those with sensitivities may still want to avoid kiwi skins altogether.

Conclusion

Kiwi skins are an edible part of the fruit that offer additional fiber, nutrients, and potential probiotic properties. However, many people still choose to avoid them due to their fuzzy texture, bitter taste, or convenience factor.

Eating the skins can reduce food waste, but it’s understandable that they simply aren’t preferred by many. There are also valid concerns over pesticides and allergies to consider.

If you want to experiment with kiwi skins, go for organically grown fruits and be cautious if you have a known allergy. Preparation tips like washing, peeling thinly, chopping, and pairing with strong flavors can make the skins more palatable.

But there’s no need to force yourself to eat them either. Scooping out the sweet, soft green flesh and composting the skins is still an excellent option. Kiwis with or without their fuzzy jackets provide great nutrition.