March 18th, 2015

Ask Lori: Should I Peel Cucumbers or Leave the Skin On?

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Ask Lori: Should I Peel Cucumbers? Groovy Green Livin

I’ve been asked many times how I come up with topics to write about. Cucumbers for example-how did this make it to the top of the list? Here’s the answer: Readers submit questions all the time and I do my best to respond. I’ve mainly been responding via email. A week or so ago I was meeting with a colleague and she suggested that I use some of the fantastic questions submitted for blog post topics. And so here we are. Keep those fantastic questions coming. You never know, they could end up the topic for “Ask Lori” .

QUESTION: Should we be peeling the skin off cucumbers or just leave it on? I don’t know if pesticides were used in the growing of the cucumber so I’ve been peeling off the skin. What do you think? 

Did you know that cucumbers belong to the same family as melons? The first cucumbers are believed to have come from India. They’re fairly easy to grow here in the Northeast. I grow them every year in my garden.

Cucumbers are low in calories and high in vitamin K, anti-oxidants and potassium. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.

I recently started eating  most vegetables whole, raw and with the peel on.  Sometimes they don’t look as pretty , but the taste is sweet and delicious. The peel stays put so I can reap the full benefit from the veggies-lots of fiber and nutrients.  Nature made them that way, and let’s face it- peeling is a pain.

There are a few situations where you SHOULD peel cucumbers:

  • If the outer skin or peel has a bitter taste.
  • When the cucumber isn’t organic and could be laden with heavy doses of pesticides. Cucumbers are listed as one of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”. The Dirty Dozen is a  list of 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticides detected on the parts you eat, after typical washing.
  • If your digestive system can’t handle peels.

If you have an organic cucumber leave the peel on. You’re peeling away layers of nutritional value.

Vitamin K and unpeeled cucumbers

Eating an unpeeled cucumber adds to your daily vitamin K intake. Eating 1 cup of unpeeled cucumber provides you with 17.1 micrograms of vitamin K, while peeled cucumber slices contain only 8.6 micrograms.

Cucumbers and Vitamin C

Add unpeeled cucumber to your diet as a source of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid.  Each 1-cup serving of peeled cucumber contains 2.9 milligrams of vitamin C.

BOTTOM LINE: It sounds as though my reader’s cucumbers were not organic. I would suggest peeling the skin off since they are listed as one of the “Dirty Dozen” and trying to buy organic cucumbers in the future.

Do you peel your cucumbers?  Are you willing to try eating them with the peel on?
photo credit: cucumbers en route to pickledom via photopin (license)


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7 Responses to “Ask Lori: Should I Peel Cucumbers or Leave the Skin On?”

  1. […] continue reading this post → […]

  2. My mom always peeled stripes on cucumbers. I think it was to lessen the bitter taste from the skin. I still do that for my kids sometimes! I’m looking forward to growing our own again this summer!
    Micaela @MindfulMomma recently posted..Beverages With Benefits – Trends From the Natural Products ExpoMy Profile

  3. Taking that extra precaution if eating non-organic produce is a great tip! I so love cucumbers!
    Sara recently posted..March Break fun in the Greenbelt!My Profile

  4. I do that too sometimes, Micaela! I think they look pretty that way and you get some peel (and the nutrients) without it being overpowering. But I usually slice them really thin and leave the peel on.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted..Cheap Plastic Toys Don’t Inspire Ocean ConservationMy Profile

  5. Good to know. I’m not usually a peeler of vegetables but I recently started peeling cucumbers for salads. I’ll have to rethink that.
    Green Bean recently posted..Gardening in a Changing ClimateMy Profile

  6. This may be a silly question, but after clinking on your link to the EWGs “Dirty Dozen” list, I found that cucumbers don’t actually appear. Have they since been removed because they are no longer considered one of the dirty dozen? I buy organic wherever I can but when not as easily available, I feel like I’m peeling away so much goodness!

  7. Hi Sinta, That’s not a silly question! The Dirty Dozen list does change from year to year. Cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables move around. This is based on new testing done annually. Hope that helps!

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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