"A lot of peeling is just habit," writes Mark Bittman on the the New York Times blog, Diners Journal. "We were brought up peeling potatoes and carrots so we peel potatoes and carrots." In the case of conventionally grown produce, there might be reason to do this. "When fruits and vegetables are grown with heavy doses of pesticides […] maybe it's safer to peel the outside than wash it."
But more of us are turning to organic produce, especially in the summer months when bushels of ripe tomatoes call out from country roadsides. Do we really need to peel farm fresh veggies? The blog Zen Habits points out that in many cases peeling is not only a bother but a bad idea: we're scraping off the nutrients closest to the skin, and in some cases, the best flavor. We turned to Erin Alderson, creator of the popular vegetarian cooking blog, Naturally Ella, for answers.