To keep it real, eat the peel
With these tasty new fruit snacks
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Your mom always told you all the vitamins were in the apple skin, didn’t she? That’s pretty much true: More fiber, vitamins, and nutrients are packed into the skin or rind of fruit than the flesh of the fruit alone. But with a lot of fruits, it’s just not that easy (or tasty) to eat the peel. So we really like that an entrepreneurial mom and her husband have introduced a way for us to have our peel and eat it, too. Joanna and Matt Weiss introduced their line of RIND Snacks earlier this year—delicious sun-dried fruits with the peels left on. They’re a healthy treat for an after-school snack and a delicious addition to your autumn cheese plate.
Here’s the dish. Matt Weiss works in finance, but he’s always been interested in the food business, particularly on the healthy side. That might be the influence of his great-grandmother Helen, a health food pioneer who opened a natural foods store in Flint, Michigan, in the 1920s. But it was a particular eating habit of his wife Joanna that finally spurred the pair into starting a business of their own.
You see, Joanna always eats the skin of a kiwi fruit. While most of us might eschew that fuzzy film, Joanna—practicing lawyer and mother of three—knows where all the nutrients lie. “We’d always been thinking of new food products and trying to find something that we thought people would enjoy. One night we were sitting on the couch after the kids had gone to bed and I had just eaten a kiwi and I said, ‘you know Matt, most of the vitamins and nutrients are in the peel, not all of them, but a lot of them, maybe we should have a company and call it rind and leave the peels on the fruits.’ And Matt immediately said ‘that’s it.’ And he ran with it and that’s how the company was born.”
The couple began testing out different fruits but when the dehydrator blew a fuse in their New York apartment they had to investigate other options. Family and friends got involved, tasting fruits from different suppliers until they finally had their initial lineup, all of them pure fruit that is sun-dried with nothing added: no sulfites, no preservatives, no added sugar, organic, and no GMOs. What they’ve kept—with one exception—are the rinds.
And we’d like to mention that keeping that rind on takes what would ordinarily be food waste and turns it into a usable product. Also, it looks like real fruit—RIND Snacks are as pretty as they are tasty.
There’s kiwi, naturally, so popular it has its own bag, as well as the Orchard Blend, which has persimmons, apples, and peaches, and the Tropical Blend, with kiwi, oranges, and pineapple (the only fruit without its peel). Sweet and nicely chewy, RIND is not only fun to snack on, but it also makes a sophisticated addition to a cheese or charcuterie plate, an unexpected garnish for a cocktail, and can even be chopped to add to baked goods, a salad, or yogurt. And it travels well, making a great addition to a backpack, carry-on bag, or even desk drawer.
Joanna tells us that their children are their best testers: “They each have their different fruits that they’re obsessed with—when a bag opens, it’s like a flock of seagulls swooping in to eat. Our daughter loves persimmon, our oldest son loves the apple and pineapple, and our other son, he’s five, loves the kiwi. The kids love it because it’s sweet, but I, as a mom, love it because I know that it’s good for them.”
We asked about fruits that didn’t make the cut, and Joanna says, “Nothing was awful, but some things are more of an acquired taste. For example: grapefruit. Grapefruit is really good, but it has a really large pith—and that pith is what’s bitter. There’s pith on the orange, but it’s small enough that it nicely balances out the bitter with the sweet. We don’t find that balance with the grapefruit.”
The couple continues to experiment, and are currently working on a new blend that they hope to have out in the beginning of next year. “We’re taking it slow to make sure that everyone’s happy with what we’re doing now before we expand to new things,” Joanna says. “We’re new to the market, but people are really noticing us and enjoying it. We think it’s a snack for everyone—everyone with teeth.”