A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Japanese Apple-Peeling – what shape do you end up with?


When peeling an apple with a knife the trick is to keep the skin between the knife and your thumb

When peeling an apple with a knife the trick is to keep the skin between the knife and your thumb while rotating the apple

By Avi Landau

While I was growing up, my grandmother used to tell me to eat my apples unpeeled. She explained that the skin contained vitamins and lots of fiber – and claimed it was the most nutritious part of the fruit. So while she, because of some gastric disorder or another would always peel any fruit or vegetable that she`d be eating, she taught me to take mine, like most Americans,  intact.


When you peel an apple into one strip of skin, what shape do you end up with?

And it was the same of course for most other fruits – back home, we always ate peaches, plums, apples, grapes and pears with the skin – usually biting right into the whole fruit (I remember how my old professor, the innovative film-maker Ken Jacobs, used to bite into unpeeled oranges as if they were apples!

Despite the fact that the skin DOES contain a lot of fiber and nutrients, I wonder now whether or this was really a good thing for us to be doing. We did wash the fruit, of course, in cold water – but did that get rid of all the chemicals that the farmers had sprayed on them? I highly doubt it.


Almost halfway there !

Then, when I arrived in Japan, I found that the Japanese peel and cut up, just about every fruit they eat- even grapes! They were astonished by the way I would bite into apples just as they were. One doctor friend of mine recommended that I wash my apples with hot water and dish-washing detergent if I wanted to eat them the way I did – and that even if I did, I wouldn`t be able to remove the wax or all the pesticides.


Still in one piece!

Using soap on my apples did not sound very appetizing, so I tried my hand at apple-peeling – and found that I did not have the patience for it. My Japanese friends taught me a good trick, though: keep the strip of skin between your thumb as you rotate the apple. Now besides being a mere treat for taste-buds ( and they ARE a real treat since Japanese apples are the most delicious in the world) apple-eating has become a challenge – and a test of patience, as I try to remove the skin in one long strip.

Try it. You get this shape








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