We still walk to school together, but now we meet on a different corner. He occasionally gives me a small orange or apple or something like that--for breakfast--even though I virtually never give him anything, and even though I assure him I eat something every morning (not necessarily true).
Today, despite moving, he shoved a small bag containing peeled apple wedges at me. In fact, no matter what fruit it is, it's always peeled. Most Koreans don't even eat grape peels, they suck the flesh and spit out the peel, I have noticed.
Despite having atrocious table manners in many respects by Western standards--slurping, chomping, smacking, spitting--they are very fastidious in some ways. Most Koreans eat fried chicken with a ni-pa and po-ka, like some damn Yankee. Burgers and sandwiches are almost always eaten from inside the wrapper. And fruit is always peeled or pared.
Even though the healthiness of any food is purported to be the reason anyone eats it, and even though a substantial portion of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables are in the peels, Koreans insist on peeling them. I read an article tonight in the Dong-A Ilbo which helps explain why:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers need not worry over eating fruit peel since it does not contain a large amount of agrochemicals.
The Korea Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced the results of an agrochemical residue study of 4,776 fruits such as apples, pears, persimmons and grapes sold at large discount stores and open-air markets from 2007 to last year.
It found that 99.8 percent of the fruits contained little or no agrochemical residue. Only nine fruits -- six tangerines, two peaches and one apple -- exceeded the maximum safety level for such residue.
So now I understand. I must show this to Mr Hwang, who really should know anyway, since his brother runs the family apple orchard in the countryside and is surely aware of the safety issues. The article continues:
“The study showed that fruits directly delivered from fruit farms cause no damage to humans even when they’re eaten without washing. We conducted the large-scale study since Koreans insist on paring fruit, unlike people in other nations,” Park [Seon-hee, a manager at KFDA] said.
Comprising 10-32 percent of a fruit’s weight, peel contains nutrients such as polyphenol compound, which helps prevent chronic diseases. When pared, pears lose 10 percent of their nutrients, apples 12 percent, persimmon 16 percent, and grapes 32 percent.
Studies show that apple peel’s red pigment contains flavonoids and anthocyanin, both of which prevent chronic diseases. Grape peel can guard against dementia and that of persimmons against cancer.