Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

A few words about fruit and veg

A few words about fruit and veg
Some Italian traditions go beyond explanation. No one quite knows why, but in Italy, fruit and vegetables are almost always eaten with the skin off. If you’re served fruit whole, you’ll always be given a knife to remove the skin. Everything from carrots and cucumbers, to apples, pears and sometimes even peaches, if it’s got skin, it’s usually removed.

So what could be behind such a strange tradition? After all, the skin of fruit and vegetables is usually rich in vitamins and minerals – sometimes even more than the fruit itself. Well, some people think it harks back to the days when fruit was eaten straight from the field. Peeling it would remove any dirt or damage caused to the fruit while growing – not to mention any traces of bird poop. In the modern era, concerns over pesticides offer a similar rationale.  

Knives may be used for removing the skins of fruit, but for vegetables, peelers prove much more efficient. The sight of a skilled chef removing skin in just a few twists to create a single spiral and chopping a vegetable into perfectly formed sticks of equal length in moments is something to behold.