How to Peel Difficult Fruit

posted by Andrea | 03/22/2011

Have you ever tried peeling an orange but the skin didn’t come off as well as you planned?

That’s because cutting fruit is one thing — peeling is another. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to get to the “meat”, but knowing a few tricks of the trade can make life a lot easier.

First, before trying to peel anything it’s a good idea to wash the fruit since small insects, pesticides, dirt, or other residue may be on the skin and is easily transferable from your hands back to what you plan to eat.

Second, have a few basic kitchen tools available such as a sharp paring knife, peeler, and a wood or plastic cutting board. These three things don’t necessarily constitute success but they will help in most cases.

Third, set up a compost bucket ready to receive the scraps. Cleaning as you go along will keep your work space open and allow you to make a better presentation.

Now, with those tips in mind, here are a few commonly eaten fruits with stubborn skin, and suggestions on the best way to peel them.



They have a very rough exterior that needs to be cut just right so pieces aren’t served with the fruit.

  • Using a paring knife lop off the top and bottom both a half-inch inward.
  • Stand it up. Notice several brown spots or eyes on the top around the edges? They continue downward through the side of the pineapple.
  • Position the knife just behind the eyes in the fruit and begin cutting off the skin from top to bottom. Then remove the rest.
  • Slice or cube however you like and enjoy.



It’s not unusual for the skin of a kiwi to be eaten, but since most people prefer it removed here’s the best way to do it.

  • Slice off a small section of both ends.
  • Make a slight incision that reaches just below the skin from the stem across the kiwi to where the flower was but not all the way around (360 degrees).
  • From one of the exposed sides insert a spoon under the incision between the skin and the fruit.
  • Keeping the spoon close to the skin turn the kiwi clockwise until the fruit is separated from the skin.
  • Slide the fruit out and enjoy.

NOTE: Using a peeler works but will take longer and probably remove more fruit than necessary.



To peel a mango it’s best to cut it first.

  • Place the mango on a cutting board and notice it has a wider side, which is where the seed is positioned.
  • Align the knife parallel to the seed about half an inch out so when cutting, the knife will pass without touching the seed.
  • Make an indent with the knife and then cut.
  • Doing the same on the opposite end will give you three chunks: two halves and the pit.
  • Cut the halves in two {the long way} and using your fingers peel the skin off.
  • Using your fingers peel away the skin from the pit section and remove any usable fruit with a knife.



  • Use a paring knife to cut around the avocado the long way from the stem to the other side and back again, creating two halves.
  • If the avocado is ripe the skin should just peal off using your fingers.
  • If it’s still not working cut the avocado halves in two and then try to peel.



Peeled tomatoes are needed in many recipes. If they are still firm, this should be easy.

  • Make a small ‘x’ incision at the bottom of the tomato without cutting too deep.
  • Boil the tomato for thirty seconds.
  • Remove it and place in a bowl of cold water to momentarily cool.
  • Remove and peel the skin by pulling the corners of the ‘x’.
  • If peeling is still a problem boil for another 10 -15 seconds and try again. NOTE: This process also works on fruit like peaches.

Here are a few more tips and photos for working with tomatoes.

Oranges, Grapefruit, etc:


This is thee easiest and most efficient way I’ve found to peal these kinds of fruit.

  • Hold the fruit in one hand with the stem facing upward.
  • Position the knife blade next to the stem and make a vertically shallow 360 degree incision around the fruit.
  • At the stem, turn the fruit 90 degrees and do the same.
  • Position the knife below the stem near the center of the orange.
  • Make a shallow horizontal incision 360 degrees from that point around the orange.
  • Lift up one of the tabs with a finger (or edge of the knife) pealing it off and continue removing the others. They should come off easily unless the orange is over ripe.
  • Cut up the fruit or enjoy as it!

So now the next time you have a make a delicious fruit salad — use a few of these tips to quickly and easily peal and prepare your fruit!

Jakob Barry writes for a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring home improvement projects together. He covers various home improvement topics including green gardening tips and kitchen remodeling.

{top image credit}


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  2. promises


    For a


    promises Reply:

    Oops! As I was saying…

    For an avocado – if you cut it the way that you said and have two halves, you can use a soup spoon and easily scoop out the whole half of the avocado. That’s what works for me! (and I learned it from Emeril’s show!)


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks! I suppose if Emeril says that’s the best way…then I better try it!!


    Jakob Barry Reply:

    That’s true, Promises.
    For scooping it out like when spreading it on bread or making guacamole I do that too. But for peeling, like if you need some nice avocado shaped slivers, say, next to a serving of scrambled eggs, this would be useful. Either way, it’s all good, especially when its with avocado.