Do you have to peel your vegetables? The simple answer is, No.
Or more specifically, it’s up to you.
A lot of recipes call for removing the skin of produce, and really it has become a natural step in cooking. The two traditional reasons why we peel our vegetables are bitter taste and harmful residues (pesticides and herbicides). However, we work hard to avoid both.
First of all, QuintaMKE does not use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. In fact our land owner, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, is certified organic. Pesticides that end up on the skin of fruits and vegetables don’t belong in our food. And actually, peeling this kind of produce doesn’t make it safe, because some pesticides are designed to be absorbed through the skin.
With naturally grown produce you don’t need to peel and you don’t want to, because the skins contain the highest concentration of nutrients. In carrots, Vitamin C and niacin are most concentrated in the peel.
Next, the bitterness. We generally believe that a bitter vegetable is a bitter vegetable. And more often than not, a vegetable is bitter because the farmer chose a variety to withstand shipping and handling. We choose varieties based on flavor, not shippability. Our carrots are surprisingly sweet and our baby beets have a tender skin.
For things like carrots and beets that are grown in the dirt, we recommend spraying thoroughly or even scrubbing with a brush (there are even brushes made specifically for vegetables). And we recommend tasting and testing your veggies before slicing and dicing. After that, it’s up to you whether or not to peel.