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May 30, 2011 11:08 PM

peel before or after cooking

does it make that much difference if you peel things like carrots or potatoes before or after you boil them?

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  1. I always peel mine before because i don't want to handle them while they are hot but lots of people including Cook's Illustrated advocates after at least for potatoes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      Yeah, surprise, Cook's changed their mind on that one, at least for mashed potatoes. They found a new new best better way yet again.

    2. I don't think I've ever seen a cookbook suggesting peeling after boiling.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        It's fairly common in US books and magazines - I think it started with the perception (true or not) that the most vitamin-rich part of the spud is the peel.

        1. re: buttertart

          Ah...... health reasons.

          Explains why not in cookbooks this side of the Pond. :-0

          1. re: Harters

            Britons never never never shall be slaves.

        2. re: Harters

          Darina Allen recommends it in her cookbooks, and she's Irish. I once did it her way, ouch. But Delia recommends peeling before, not because of taste or health but just because it's easier to peel first. So there we go.

          Funnily enough, the other day I was at a friend's house - he'd invited me for lunch. He had almost no cooking equipment or utensils and wanted to make shepherd's pie. I ended up doing a lot of the cooking work. One thing he didn't have was a peeler. I cut crosses in the potatoes, cooked them and, once cooked through, put them in cold water. They peeled a bit like tomatoes - but not as easily. It worked but I'll keep this method for emergencies.

        3. Either way, the supposed nutrients in the skin are going to be leached into the water. Speaking only of potatoes, I do peel after I boil, because the skin literally slips off, and I feel a bunch better about myself, a. because I'm lazy and hate peeling potatoes, and b. because I left the skins on, even if I know it doesn't make that much difference!

          1 Reply
          1. re: mamachef

            I usually microwave unpeeled potatoes for "boiled" applications, to tell the truth.

          2. Peeling carrots is optional - a scrub will suffice since carrots don't actually HAVE an outer skin.
            The bulk of the chemical fertilizer residue in potatoes is in the skin. I would think it is therefore better to peel before cooking but let's face it, many potatoes are consumed with their skins, and those peeled before boiling lose starch to the water and can become waterlogged.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              Good point, greygarious. Myself, I consider that the more fertilizer and preservatives I ingest, why, the more fertile and well-preserved I'll be. :) Not that the fertile part is relevant.

            2. I'm neutral on the carrot question, but peel potatoes in their skins because said skins slip off so nicely once the spud's boiled. If I'm worried about losing nutrition, I'll steam them instead of boiling.