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I Don't Peel Potatoes

My mother either taught me or provided me with dangerously wrong information regarding potato skins. She never peeled potatoes and now I don't either.

What about you guys?

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  1. I rarely peel them. Much of the nutrition is in the skin.

    1. If there's any green, it has to go. I trim out the eyes and stem.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GH1618

        Same here- then i scrub well and that's that.
        I actually really like the earthy flavor and the crispy texture of the skins

      2. Only thing to check is whether there is a green layer under the skin. (This is from light exposure and needs to be removed for safety reasons.) If not, it is a matter of personal preference.

        1. I rarely peel them. Unless the skin is particularly scarred or greenish, then off it goes.

          1. I almost never peel potatoes, but I do scrub the hell out of them.

            1. I guess it depends on what kind of potatoes, and what I'm making with them, but on the whole I'd say I very rarely peel them either.

              I normally buy red potatoes, sometimes the new reds, but not always. They're great for roasting and home fries, and so are very rarely peeled. I suppose if I'm making mashed potatoes *for company* I'll peel them only because they look better and tend to be less lumpy. Or if I'm doing a gratin or something along the lines of Pommes Anna, I'll peel them. But I don't normally cook those kinds of things, as we typically try to eat a little lighter. And I don't usually do all of that work unless it's an occasion of some kind.

              [EDITed: for bad typing and horrendous grammar]

              1. Rarely, nay extremely rarely, do I peel either potatoes or sweet potatoes. I like the skins, and I'm a fan of rusticity. I don't often make mashed potatoes, but I don't mind some skins (or lumps) in them; it's what I grew up with.

                1. Really depends on the dish. New potatoes in season have such delicate skins that I would never think of it, whether they're steamed or boiled or mashed.

                  Obviously, the skin stays on for baked. But gratin or home-fried? Gotta peel those mofos, sorry.

                  1 Reply
                  1. almost never. i like the texture disparity.

                    1 Reply
                    1. In an article about potatoes in the Smithsonian magazine some years ago, one quoted expert said that if there's any part of a potato you shouldn't eat it'd be the skin. What he meant was that if it's at all green it's bad for you, and even if it's not its nutritional qualities have been grossly exaggerated, mostly by people's moms …

                      I don't peel thin-skinned potatoes, but Russets and the like get peeled, though I might cook them first. My "secret weapon" for peeling them hot is rubber gloves.

                      1. Imo, people tend to exaggerate the vitamin/mineral content of fruits and vegetables. The skin is a very small part of whatever veg might be peeled. I can't stand the texture or taste of most vegetable skins so, I peel. Realistically, I may be losing a few micrograms of one or another nutrient, but I don't believe it makes a practical impact on my overall diet.

                        1. Generally, new/waxy potatoes I leave the skin on while starchy potatoes (Russsets) I peel when making mash or potato salad.

                          1. I have to agree with the statements about any greenish coloration. This is an indication that the potato contains signficant levels of solanine, and most of it will be in the skin, or within the underlying couple of mm (1/8") of the flesh. A potato like this can be made reasonably safe by peeling, although I would think twice even then. Solanine is a plant poison.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Potato is on the dirty dozen list of vegetables because of all the insecticides on/in the skin. That said, I eat the skin anyway.

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  The "Dirty Dozen" list is one of the products of the Environmental Working Group, one of the many private groups of self-appointed watchdogs that thrive on promoting fear in consumers of all sorts of things, backed by pseudoscience. The EWG has no credibility with me.

                                  It's good practice to wash potatoes and all other root vegetables.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    To be more specific, here is an analysis of the "Dirty Dozen" list and related matters by a panel of scientists:


                                  2. Totally depends on what you are making.

                                    And green will make you sick, so, in that case, you have to peel.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      I can't tell you how many green potatoes I've cooked an eaten over the decades. I only learned about solanine a few years ago. As far as I can remember, they never caused any symptoms. Maybe memory loss? I once looked it up but can't remember the details of the danger!

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        Green potatoes can make you really sick.

                                        Just like driving without seatbelts can kill you.

                                    2. My mom never cooked potatoes with skins unless they were baked potatoes...I always peeled mine too up until about 8 years ago. Now I sometimes leave the peels on baby reds and always fingerlings but still peel the others.

                                      1. At home, I don't peel potatoes for home-fries for breakfast, but for potato salad I peel (unless I'm using small red potatoes). At our restaurant, sadly, all the potatoes must be peeled, no matter what the use -- except, of course, baked potatoes.

                                        1. I nearly always leave the skin on. I can't think of a time I removed it.

                                          1. My understanding is that leaving the skin on when boiling keeps the flavor in. The skin is also easier to remove after the potato is cooked under cold water.

                                            1. I rarely peel them... only if the skin doesn't look very nice or it's an elderly potato that's sprouted eyes everywhere and I have to get rid of them before I use it. Otherwise I just chop it up small so that the skin is in little pieces and go ahead and cook/mash...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                FWIW - a serendipitous discovery made when using small, shriveling, elderly redskin spuds. My goal was to turn them into homefries. To speed up prep, I thought I'd nuke them first. I thought that if I removed the sprouted eyes before nuking, it might dry them out too much. I intended to cut them away once they were cool enough to handle but discovered that they'd burnt off, leaving just a little black twiglet that popped off with a fingernail. Easy!

                                              2. I peel unless they are baked. I just don't like the flavor & texture when peel is left on for mashed, home-fries, gratin, & stews. I do like the flavor of unpeeled carrots in many dishes though.

                                                1. I don't peel them unless the skin is really gnarly looking (sprouted, rotted sections, etc...)

                                                  Even when making mashed potatoes, I don't peel them. I use a potato ricer and the skin stays right inside it.

                                                  1. Normally we don't peel them, but at this time of year for sure we do. Our potatoes (Ontario or PEI) may look fine on the outside, may be perfectly fine on the inside, but usually have black, discoloured areas inside around the eyes which need to be cut away. That being said, winter potatoes mash up well.

                                                    1. I generally do not.

                                                      1. For boiled, roasted and scalloped/gratineed potatoes, the skins make them better. In many recipes, the specification for peeling is more an inheritance from restaurant practice were you have staff who peeled many potatoes in advance so they could be ready for any type of use.

                                                      2. For mashed potatoes, I use a ricer, and the ricer takes care of the peel. So even for that I don't have to peel.

                                                      3. For salad potatoes I might peel. Depends on the potato and the salad.

                                                      Otherwise, one can be free to ignore many recipe instructions to use peeled potatoes.