Logical Reasons to Eat Skins, Stems, and Tops of Fruits and Veggies

The folks from Naturally Savvy (a popular healthy living website that educates people on the benefit of living an organic and non-GMO lifestyle), shared some very insightful information the other day on the Care2 website (www.care2.com).

Naturally Savvy’s article (www.naturallysavvy.com), “Why You Should Eat the Skins, Stems, and Tops of Most Vegetables” explains that skins, stems, and tops of fruits and veggies carry even more nutrients than the fruit or vegetable themselves. (Who knew?) It’s just logical to use them.

Their bottom line: If you are already buying beautiful, fresh, and perhaps even local and organic produce, then why waste a quarter to a half of it? Unless you’re composting, you’re getting rid of essential veggie nutrition that could be beneficial to you.

Vegetable stems including kale, collards, parsley, and Swiss chard, are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and nutrients. This is because the stem is the component that is rooted in the soil. The skin of most fruits and vegetables (such as apples, oranges, potatoes, squashes, and even kiwi) contain antioxidants, fiber, and other health-promoting properties.

Vegetable tops including beets, carrots, or any other vegetable that sprouts a leaf or is green contain added vibrancy and nutrients, so be sure to hold on to them. They are powerful antioxidants and do a thorough job of protecting your gut as well as all vital organs.

The above information isn’t really a surprise, right? But sometimes it’s hard to come up with tasty ways to serve this stuff. So to help us more consistently utilize those skins, stems, and fruit and veggie tops, Naturally Savvy suggested some different ways to put them to use:

STIR FRIES: Slice them on the diagonal and they are a great add-in to stir-fries. Broccoli and Swiss chard stems are just a couple examples. Toss these in at the beginning along with your onions and celery. This way they can soften and absorb the delicious flavors of the other veggies.

SOUP STOCK. Collard, kale, or parsley stems are great additions to soup stock. Let them steep in the water for an hour or so and then remove them from the stock. They will infuse all of their nutrients into your soup stock.

ZESTS. The skins from citrus fruits contain bioflavonoids which are amazing antioxidants. Sprinkle the zest of an orange or lemon into a cookie or muffin recipe. You’ll get not just added vitamins and phyto-nutrients, but extra flavor as well.

SMOOTHIES. Put the stems and skins of any fruit and vegetable through your juicer including collard, kale, broccoli, chard, carrots, beets, and apples.

BAKED SIDE DISHES. Bake your potatoes and squash with the skin on. Potato skin, for instance, has potassium, iron, and vitamin C that infuses into the vegetable fiber when baked.

SAUTEES. Use the tops of beets and stems of Swiss chard to make a wonderful and colorful sautéed side dish. Beet-root tops are loaded with calcium, magnesium, and iron.

To conclude, here’s Naturally Savvy’s recipe for an easy and delicious way to start using more stems. Who knew something so logical could be so tasty?


3 cloves garlic

2 large bunches whole beetroot tops or Swiss chard

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Fold green leaves in half lengthwise and cut away the leaf from the inner ribs or stem.

  2. Chop up the stems into small pieces and set aside.

  3. Pile about 5-6 leaves on top of one another, and roll into a tight roll.

  4. Starting at the top and cutting across the leaves, slice the leaves into needle thin strips.

  5. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

  6. Add the garlic and sautee for a few seconds.

  7. Add the stems, season with salt and pepper and sautee for 5 minutes or until soft.

  8. Add in the green leaves and cook until they are bright green, and are just short of their wilting point.

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  •   www.naturallysavvy.com
  •   www.cottageatthecrossroads.com
  •   www.goodtoknow.co.uk
  •   www.pookaswhatsfordinnergluttenfree.blogspot.com
  •   www.food52.com
  •   www.thelemonbowl.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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