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Chowline: Apples – To Peel or Not to Peel?

My little boy loves apples, but he refuses to eat them unless they are skinned and cut into little pieces. Is he still getting the same nutrition as eating them with the peel?

Take heart – apples are not only delicious, they’re a healthy, nutritious, low calorie part of a balanced diet. So the fact that your son enjoys eating apples is wonderful.

However, if you could find a way to incorporate the apple skin into his apple slices, your son would get the additional nutritional benefits derived from eating the apple peel. That’s because the skin of the apple is where most of the fiber and other nutrients are found.

In fact, a medium unpeeled apple has nearly twice the fiber, 40 percent more vitamin A and 25 percent more potassium than a peeled apple, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database.

Known as the official state apple of Ohio, the Melrose apple tends to be large with good flavor and texture. Photo: The Ohio State University

In addition, apple skins contain:

  • Ursolic acid, which may increase muscle strength and help burn calories, and in turn aid in weight loss, according to a study by the University of Iowa.
  • Quercetin, a compound that acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory, according to a study from the University of Maryland Medical Center.
  • Triterpenoids, which are compounds that a study from Cornell University suggests, may inhibit some cancer cells.

To introduce apples with the skin on to your son, try offering him different varieties. While most people are familiar with Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples, there are over 7,500 types of apples to choose from. Over 50 varieties are grown in Ohio.

One popular Ohio-grown variety is the Melrose apple, which was bred at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Known as the official state apple of Ohio, the Melrose apple tends to be large with good flavor and texture.

Offering very thin slices may also make the skin more appealing. Peeled or unpeeled, enjoy lots of apples! October is National Apple Month and a great time to benefit from fall’s bountiful harvests.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

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