What Happens If You Eat A Lemon Peel?

There's nothing like a fresh-squeezed lemonade on a hot summer day. Lemons are most commonly juiced or squeezed for the purpose of flavoring drinks or to liven up an entree with a citrusy zing. You may have seen some recipes call for lemon zest — or bits of the peel. So what exactly happens when you eat a lemon peel?

While you probably won't peel a lemon and chomp down directly on the outer rind itself, lemon peels can be safely consumed and have a ton of nutrients. Lemon peels contain minor amounts of calcium and potassium, but higher amounts of vitamin C (via LiveStrong). Vitamin C is also contained in the lemon itself, so don't skip the juice if you want to get that immune system boost. The peel also contains high levels of fiber like many citrus fruits, making them a good choice for digestive health.

However, there are some situations where you should be wary of eating a lemon peel. In some cases, the peel may have insecticides or pesticides on the outer layer, so be sure to buy organic and wash your lemons thoroughly before consuming the peel (via Spoon University).

Different ways to eat lemon peels

It's important to also keep in mind that lemons can contain a high amount of oxalates that can be problematic for those who suffer from gallbladder or kidney stones, according to Spoon University

However, there are endless ways to safely work in lemon peels to your daily diet. Experts at Well+Good provide some fun tips for using lemon peels like zesting to sprinkle the pieces into your favorite drink or meal, creating a lemon peel-based olive oil, or a lemon-infused butter. If you have a sweet tooth, consider making candied lemon peels by boiling the peel and letting it sit in saturated sugar water.

Next time you're juicing a lemon for your recipe, hang on to the rind and try using the peel along with the fruit itself. Not only do you get the satisfaction of using the whole citrus fruit and eliminating food waste, you'll also get the extra nutritional benefits — and maybe even discover your new favorite lemon dish!