How Japan learned to stop worrying and love the peel

By Master Blaster

On more than one occasion, when the family would settle down for a nice bowl of grapes, I would do as usual and pop one in my mouth. Almost assuredly my wife’s face would contort into a grimace. This would soon be followed by a lecture on how the pesticides used on it seep into the skin and cannot be washed off along with pleas to stop this barbaric act.

My wife is not at all alone among Japanese people who refuse to eat the skins of certain fruits. However, in recent years, this trend has been changing according to a survey by Tropicana Japan and Dr “Fruit” Motohashi.

■ Tropicana Survey

Tropicana surveyed 1,002 women about their fruit habits and among those who regularly ate fruit 87% responded that they would eat the peel of certain kinds of fruit. The other 12% said that they don’t eat the skin of fruit at all. And then there was 1% who said they eat the skin of all fruits who were clearly lying just to feel special.

That first 87% was then asked what fruits they ate the skin of. Blueberries were the highest response with 76% of respondents eating the skins, apple came in second with 74%, and grape was third with only 69% of women not peeling.

Dr Motohashi believes this is a recent trend in Japan because people are becoming more aware of health issues and discovering that in addition to the flesh of the fruit, the skin is an excellent source of nutrition. He reminds people that eating peeled apples deprives them of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. We trust him because he looks really confident.

He goes on to say that while this has only been recently studied in Japan, fruit skin nutrition has been well understood for decades in North America and Europe whose residents tend to eat it more.

■ Our Survey

Although it’s probably a move to better health with more and more Japanese people taking on the habit of eating at least some fruit peels, the numbers of the Tropicana survey still seem particularly high compared to personal experience.

So we at RocketNews24 have conducted our own survey. While Tropicana focused solely on women, we asked all genders and age groups.

“I sometimes eat an apple with the skin, but my teeth have gaps and it’s annoying when the peel gets in between. I just don’t like the texture of grape skins.” (Female, 50s)

“I don’t like apple skin because it’s not clean and too hard. Grape skin’s also dirty but has more of a bitter taste.” (Female, 30s)

“I used to never eat grape skins because I was worried about the chemicals. Now, I mostly buy organic and even if I don’t I just take a chance and eat the whole thing. I don’t eat apples much but I always peel pear because the skin isn’t very good.” (Male, 70s)

“I don’t eat apple peels because they just don’t taste very good. I don’t like grape skins because they are too thick. It’s like eating a melon rind.” (Male, 30s)

“I never have eaten the apple’s skin just out of habit and the grape skins are too thick. However, now that I hear it’s healthy I will try to eat apple peels from now on.” (Male, 40s)

“I don’t like grape or apple skins because they’re hard to bite and they taste bitter and sour. I don’t even think of them as part of the fruit.” (Male, 20s)

“Dumbass, eating grape skins is like sucking on the barrel of a loaded gun. Enjoy the poison! Now go take out the garbage and sit next to it. Hopefully they’ll pick you up too this time.” (My Wife, Undisclosed)

Our answers seemed to almost unanimously land in the “no way” category with only a few lukewarm interests in eating apple or grape skins. No one eats blueberries in our survey aside from yogurt toppings or pastry fillings. Needless to say, we don’t exactly roll in the healthiest of circles.

■ Conclusion

This is a rather large assumption, but if we take both the Tropicana and our survey into account it would seem that health conscious women are getting into eating fruit skins en masse. These women are perhaps the best demographic for Topicana’s new series of juice squeezed with the peel starting with “blueberry blend” and “black grape” which just happened to have been released on April 8.

On the other hand, it would seem that many of the people on the streets are still weary of a fruit’s outer coating but perhaps open to change.

Sources: PR Times, Tropicana

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Online Survey Asks, “When Do You Feel Japanese?” -- Which Company’s Employee Would You Like to Marry? Nintendo Tops Rankings in Japan -- Are these grapes growing on a tree trunk? Nope! They’re Jabuticaba, the otherworldly fruit with an awesome name

© RocketNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Our grandkids won't eat grapes without peeling them. I think they were indoctrinated in hoikuen. I eat them with the skin on, but always rinse them well first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My in-laws are the same, but when we buy the delicious California grapes. The skin is usually very thin and trying to peel them would be a nightmare, not to mention a huge mess. I brought from America "all natural Veggie wash" it does the trick, gets all the wax and other impurities off and rinse real good and no problem. It's also a great source of fiber. I always get a nice chuckle at Costco, when they give out Grapes samples and people are struggling to try and get the skin off and most can't and it is something you have to visually see. Many of my Japanese friends also can't understand why I don't peel most of my fruit, especially apples and peaches. Peaches are too fuzzy, but in the states, I never peeled a peach in my life. Sometimes, I don't even peel kiwis (i just like the skin) ok, I'll make an exception with kiwis, some people don't like that much fuzz, but I personally do. I always ask Japanese people that try to lecture me about the dangers of eating the skin and pesticides, do you peel your strawberries or cherries? I get a blank deer caught in the headlights look every time.

I think in part for many Japanese, they often don't enjoy fruit as we do, for one, it's harder to get good fruit and second, it's always to expensive, fruit is so cheap and plentiful in the states. California one of the largest fruit exporters in the world. We have a multitude and a huge variety of luscious fruits. In Japan, fruit is seen almost like a snack and Japanese usually eat oranges, grape fruits, bananas and apples as their main fruit source, everything else is exotic and has to be peeled. My kids eat everything and of course, I teach them to wash everything well before eating and they don't waste anything.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I started using soap to wash apples because I do like to eat the peel, and, no, you don't know what chem substances are on the skin, especially in a country where they think it normal to peel them (i.e., they may use stronger chemicals).

Grapes I don't buy so often, but I both peel and don't peel.

Eat a whole carrot if you really want to see the J-peeps jump in shock! Never eaten raw, never ever ever eaten as a whole root.

Bass4Funk -- I'm interested in what wash you bought. I use regular Japanese over the counter soap that says on it it is good for dish washing and vegetable washing. Rinse and no soapy taste...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is a conclusion in the article, but here is the one I drew:

Never mind the poison. The peels are nutritious, just try to forget about the poison, then you can blame your cancer on something else.

If you want a campaign to get people to eat the peels, you need to organize a group to somehow get farmers out of the stranglehold agriculture groups have put them in so they are no longer bound to spray their produce with poison to gain access to markets controlled by the groups.

And I am not inclined to believe the stuff is just on the surface and can be washed off with some product. But peel a grape? No. I just don't eat them!

0 ( +0 / -0 )


It's called "Veggie Wash" I bought it at Whole Foods, but you can buy it from Amazon. Great stuff natural and the produce have a light citrus oder, but of course biodegradable and NO chemicals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The same sort of fruit-veggie wash is available in Japanese supermarkets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It used to drive me crazy when people peeled fruits that needn't be peeled. I turned blue in the face explaining the benefits of eating the skin and practically forced people to try it. Many people said the skin was bitter even before trying it but I seemed to have convinced a few of them. It's just something their parents told them and they refuse to give up. If you think goya tastes good, I don't see how you can hate apple skins because they are "bitter."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mocheake, before I even read your comment I had this almost exact same argument just now with my wife. She even said well you do not like goya so I do not like grape skin. For me I can not even see the comparison. Some are just dead set on not eating grape skin because just because.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The skin is an integral part of the culinary experience. The contrast of the chewy texture and slightly bitter flavor against the soft and sweet inside is a joy to the palate. Some people just don't get it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Funny thing about food; you eat it according to your elders. I've never skinned anything but meat and potatoes and potato skins are pretty foreign to me. I think this is just a matter of experience, if vegetable peels became something people pay a premium for, the thought that peels are safe would filter down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Thanks! (and speaking of funk, I just caught Maceo Parker- great show, great musicians).

joe Peters-

I have only seen regular soap, directions for use with veggies, but not all-natural stuff like Bass's. What have you seen?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese grapes aren't all that tasty, the skin actually seems thicker than the smaller Greek grapes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cleansing with an effective, suitable fruit and vegetable cleanser can certainly help eliminate surface toxic chemical residues because you simply can't remove all the contaminants with just water. To make matters worst, most produce is waxed after harvest to withstand the long journey to market and to protect against the many hands that touch it. Wax seals in pesticide residues and debris, which makes them even more difficult to remove with water. So to reach the contaminants buried beneath the surface of your vegetables and fruits, you need a cleanser that also removes the wax. In the end peeling a piece of fruit or vegetable is sometimes an option, but it strips away nutrients.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


To make matters worst, most produce is waxed after harvest to withstand the long journey to market and to protect against the many hands that touch it

I don't think that statement is applicable to the vast majority of fruit grown in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my opinion Japanese people have the most difficult and irritating palate of any nationality on the planet. Most Japanese people are very unwilling to try new foods or new tastes more than once and they'll revert to their default eating habits as soon as they're able.

I have stopped trying to convert Japanese people to eating food entirely instead of wasting half of it by peeling etc. (That is what bothers me, food and money waste)

Those with a broad mind will try what you're doing and enjoy it, but most will stick to their own way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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