In the world of healthy eating and juicing, avocados are king. With healthy fats, fiber, and a delicious creaminess unlike any other food, these tasty fruits are a powerhouse of goodness. But many people are stumped when it comes to avocado skins. Some say they are pure poison while others say that’s silly talk. So, what’s the truth?
Can you eat avocado skins? Yes, you can eat avocado skins, but not all types are palatable. Avocado skins contain fiber and other important nutrients, but smooth-skinned varieties are much easier to eat plain. For rough-skinned avocados, you can blend and pulverize to mix with other fruits to cover the bitterness and tough texture.
Avocado skins may not be on the menu of your favorite restaurant, but that doesn’t mean they’re off limits in your own kitchen. There are some caveats to this, however, so read on to find out if you should eat avocado skins, how, and why. Plus, I’ll cover some of the health risks you should keep in mind if you decide to try this interesting use of an old favorite.
Are avocado skins poisonous?
For livestock, yes avocado skins can be toxic. But you’re not a chicken or a cow, so don’t worry. In fact, not all animals are even affected by the toxin persin. It’s mostly birds and large farm animals such as goats, sheep, cows, and horses that should beware. Dogs and cats may end up with mild tummy upset, but it’s not common.
And humans? Healthy humans don’t usually have any problems processing persin from avocado skin.
What type of avocado skin can you eat?
You can eat avocado skin of the three types listed below. Others may be edible. You’re limited only by your bravery and your knowledge of specific species.
The avocados available in most American grocery stores are the Haas variety. This is the type most people imagine when they think of avocados. The Haas variety of avocados have leathery, tough, dark skins that usually get thrown out. Most people either eat their avocados with a spoon or they scoop the flesh out and toss the pit and skin.
While this is certainly understandable, people are inadvertently throwing away the healthiest and best part of the fruit. While it’s not technically the skin of the avocado, it’s a part that sticks to the skin and therefore ends up thrown away.
There is a thin layer of extra-healthy flesh just below the skin. When eaten the typical American way, that dark green layer is usually lost with the skin. Huge mistake!
The dark green parts that stick to the skin are full of antioxidants like flavonoids, chlorophyll, and phenols. These awesome tidbits are thought to help fight cancer and heart disease.
To get these antioxidants, change how you eat your avocados. Instead of scooping or cutting, peel the skin away. It takes a gentle hand, and it won’t work on super soft avocados, but it’s well worth the patience and effort.
Of course, you can skip the painstaking method and go for the easy route. Toss the skins and fruit right into your high-powered blender to get the most out of every last bite of avocado. Just pop the pit out and throw the rest in the blender, including the rough skin. Add your favorite fruits and veggies and walk away with a super smoothie.
Topa Topa Avocados
The topa topa avocado is a smooth-skinned variety from Mexico. It has a very large seed, but that doesn’t stop anyone from taking a huge bite of this yummy flesh, right through the skin.
The black skin of the topa topa is very thin, making in-hand eating pleasant and easy. That means this is a portable avocado that doesn’t require a knife or spoon to get to the good stuff.
Some people don’t like the flavor of the topa topa, but I think it tastes just fine. If you can get this variety in your area, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. The topa topa is absolutely delicious in a smoothie with bananas and blueberries.
Another smooth-skinned variety of avocado is the Mexicola. It’s a lovely dark, almost purple-colored fruit with a rich and creamy flesh. They look a lot like plums, but don’t let that fool you. The Mexicola avocado isn’t sweet, but it doesn’t have the bitterness of the Haas avocado skin either.
A nice bonus to the Mexicola avocado is the fact that the leaves are also edible. This is because the Mexicola is related to the Bay Laurel, which is where bay leaves come from. That said, it’s extremely important to note that not all avocado leaves are safe to eat. In fact, most are toxic, even to humans. Don’t eat avocado leaves unless you are 100% certain they came from a true Mexicola tree.
There are many varieties of avocados, but most aren’t seen in typical grocery stores. If you happen to live near a region the other types are grown, you can ask local growers if the skins are edible. For the purposes of this article, we’re only discussing the three most common types. For more information on the huge variety of avocados, check out this comprehensive list from the University of California.
Can I blend avocado skins?
Yes, blending avocado skins is possible. In fact, it’s probably the easiest way to eat them. Many people don’t care for the flavor of Haas avocado skins, and if they can stand the flavor, they usually don’t like the texture. Those leathery skins are made tough!
But a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, can reduce even the toughest Haas skin to a nutritious liquid in no time.
Of course, if you can’t stand the taste or texture, or you can’t get over the idea of eating avocado skins of any variety, you can still get a ton of nutrients by scraping the living daylights out of the skins before eating the flesh.
Keep in mind, however, that the thin-skinned topa topa variety and the Mexicola variety aren’t easy to peel. You might as well get the pit out and just put the whole fruits, skin and all, into the blender.
Can you eat avocado pits?
Right along with the question of eating avocado skin is whether it’s safe to eat an avocado pit or seed. The answer is, once again, yes, it’s safe. However, like the leaves of many avocado plants, the pits can contain some nasty substances.
In large quantities, avocado seeds can make your stomach hurt. It would take a lot of them though, so it’s okay to prepare an avocado pit once in a while. Lots of people like to put them in smoothies. I’ve also seen people grind and dry them to use in other dishes. These high-fiber seeds can be a boon to your health, as long as you’re not allergic.
Are avocado peels toxic? Avocado peels are not toxic to humans if consumed in small quantities. They are toxic to birds and many large animals such as cows, horses, and goats. Several varieties of thin-skinned avocados do not have toxic skins.
Can you eat avocado skin raw? It is safe to eat small quantities of avocado skin raw. However, be sure to wash the skin thoroughly. For rough-skinned varieties, you may wish to blend or pulverize the skin first as it can be tough to chew. Thin-skinned varieties can be eaten like plums.
Avocado skins may not be your first choice in a healthy meal, but they can certainly be a nice addition to a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not accustomed to eating the skins or seeds of avocados, ease into it. Try a small slice of avocado skin blended well in your next smoothie to see how you like it. If you don’t have any adverse reactions, you can try a bigger slice the following week, for example.