A few years back, I asked one of my best friends to bring a fruit salad to a potluck. She did not skimp. Not a 100% cantaloupe sort of situation (we all know that fruit salad), this mélange was Platinum Level: There were berries (!), grapes (!), and pineapple, too. May there have been cherries? I imagine so!
But the kiwi chunks gave the whole party pause—because the brown skin, with its stubbly fuzz, remained on each and every piece. Having been conditioned to accept only completely bald kiwi pieces, the majority of us laughed at this friend, who didn’t even know to peel the kiwi. Had she ever eaten a kiwi? What nonsense! What naiveté! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Turns out we mockers were the ones who deserved to be laughed out of the room. Because kiwi skins are perfectly edible. You can bite right into a kiwi like it’s an apple or a peach or, if you’re this kind of person, a tomato! (My brother has even been known to do this with a red bell pepper.)
When I informally polled the Food52 team to see which of us peel our kiwis, I received a mix of responses: Emily has gone her entire life without ingesting the fuzz, while Grace” literally never knew kiwis were supposed to be peeled.” (“You think you understand the world and then you life is flipped-turned-upside-down by a kiwi,” expressed a Food52er who shall remain anonymous.)
But yes, you can eat a kiwi “out of hand” (an expression we like to reserve for stone fruit season) and let the green juices drip down your chin. (Green juice is so in right now, is it not?) Kiwis, when you don’t peel them, will give bananas a run for their money: Stick a kiwi in your bag, then chomp into it before you hit the gym or during your commute home.
No utensils necessary. No need to “sloop” while you drive. Will you ever take a paring knife or a vegetable peeler to a kiwi again? (The exception: elaborate fruit tarts.)
Kiwi: The Chinese Fruit Named for a New Zealand Bird by Lindsay-Jean Hard
Hardy Kiwi: Small in Stature, but Built Tough by Lindsay-Jean Hard
I know kiwi skin is edible because I’ve consumed several whole kiwis at this point, but also because I believe Dan Nosowitz, who professed his love for consuming kiwi skin (and the peels of other fruits and vegetables often falsely deemed “inedible”) for The Awl back in 2014.
Dan recommends removing a bit of the fuzz before biting in: Simply run the kiwi under water, then use a paper towel, dish towel, or your fingernails (particularly satisfying) to scrub off some of the prickle.
Sure, a bit of bristle may remain but, as Dan reasons, “how many people reading this post have a beard or enjoy kissing people with beards or both?”
And he says that unless the peel of a fruit is classified as inedible—we’re talking mango, passionfruit, pineapple, lychee, avocado, or dragonfruit, according to Dan—well, then, “you should eat it.” Leave your eggplants, your potatoes, your carrots, and your apples be!
And that watermelon rind? Turn it into jam.
Do you peel kiwis? What about potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and carrots? Tell us in the comments below!