When preparing and cooking foods, especially when fruits and vegetables are involved, one of the first steps to do is to peel them. It is a challenging task for some people, particularly if they do not have the right tools. Luckily, peelers were invented to make the job a lot easier compared to using a knife. A peeler is also sometimes called a vegetable scraper. It is a kitchen tool, a distinct type of kitchen knife, that features a metal blade with a slot and sharp edge attached to a handle.
The use of peelers is a great way to prevent food wastage because they peel away only the skin of the fruit or vegetable without too much flesh. Therefore, if you find it difficult to peel fruits and veggies whenever you cook or prepare food, owning a peeler might help you. However, when you go to the store or search online, you will be offered many different types of peelers, and choosing one can be hard.
Today, there are several different types of fruit and vegetable peelers in the market. Some of them are made for specific produce items, while others are able to handle a variety of jobs. If you are thinking of buying a peeler but can’t decide what kind to get, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you a guide on how to pick the right peeler for different tasks.
The Different Uses of Peelers
Before we give you the different types of peelers, let us first find out the different uses of peelers. This way, you’ll be able to see how useful this kitchen tool is, as well as to give you ideas on the different tasks wherein a particular type of peeler might help you.
Peel Vegetable Skins
The main reason for buying a peeler is to peel vegetables. A vegetable peeler is probably used most frequently to remove the skin from potatoes. This is why it is also sometimes referred to as a potato peeler. In fact, many peelers feature a pointed end, which is specifically used for digging out the spots where the potato skin won’t come off, which are also called “eyes.” A peeler is also commonly used to peel whole carrots before cooking them. Even though carrot peels are edible, it is still better to peel them for a better taste.
Peel Fruit Skins
Have you ever bought mangoes from the store and realized how tough they are to peel? It’s because mangoes are quite challenging to hold due to their shape and slippery skin. This is where a peeler becomes useful. All you have to do is to hold the mango firmly with one hand and press the blade of the peeler to its skin to peel it easily. Aside from mangoes, there are many other fruits out there that are quite challenging to peel, and using a peeler is the perfect way to remove their skins efficiently without taking large chunks out of the fruit or risking cutting your hand with a knife. Peelers are also best used to peel small fruits with tough skins, such as apples and kiwis.
Celery is among the most popular nutritious snacks out there. However, running into the difficult-to-manage stringy part of the celery is quite annoying. While they are completely safe to eat, they take away the satisfying crunch of the vegetable. But a peeler can solve this problem. All you have to do is to use a peeler to peel off the outer layer of the celery stalk to remove the stringy threads and enjoy a crispy stick of celery for your snack time.
Make Potato Chips
When using potatoes for salad or when making mashed potatoes, we usually peel off the skins even though they are edible. But you can use these to make crispy potato chips at home. Use a peeler to peel thin slices of potato skins. Then, toss them in olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt. After that, you can layer them on a baking pan and put them in the oven for around 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a very simple recipe made possible by a peeler.
Create Zucchini Noodles
In making zucchini noodles or “zoodles,” it is common to use a spiralizer so that they resemble the strands of spaghetti noodles. However, if you do not have a spiralizer, you can easily make these noodles by using a vegetable peeler. You can use it to shave flat ribbons of zucchini, and it will resemble fettucine. Peel the zucchini lengthwise, then cook them for a few minutes in a saucepan along with some tomato sauce, olive oil, and kosher salt.
Remove Strawberry Stems
The stem is probably the most inconvenient part of the strawberry. Most of the time, people just slice off the top of the fruit and its stem using a knife. However, doing this can cause an unintentional removal of a decent amount of the edible flesh. In addition to that, slicing the top part of the strawberry takes ways the shape of the fruit, making it less appealing, especially when it is going to be used as a garnish or decoration on dishes and cakes.
To remove strawberry stems efficiently, using a peeler is a good idea. Choose a peeler that has a pointed end, which is commonly used to remove unwanted spots from potatoes. Dig it gently underneath the strawberry stem, then twist it to make the stem pop out.
Dicing onions into small enough or uniform size pieces can be a challenge, especially if you are not an expert when it comes to using knives. But we have a good trick to teach you. After you use a knife to cut an onion into quarters, you can use your vegetable peeler and drag it along the edge of the onion. This will give you thin slices of uniformly-sliced onions. This method is best used for recipes where chunky or diced onions are going to be too big. They are great for pizza and salads for a subtle onion flavor.
These are some of the most common tasks where peelers are very useful. There are other food preparation tasks out there that you can discover where you may find a vegetable peeler handy. In fact, some even use them to carve decorative soaps.
The Different Types of Peelers
After learning about the different uses of peelers, let us move on to the types of peelers. As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are several different types of peelers for fruits and vegetables that you can buy today. Below are the primary types of peelers, how they look, and the type of kitchen task they are best used for:
Jonas / Swivel Peeler
for peeling long veggies like carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, and radishes
Swiss, Speed or Y-Peelers
for large and round produce like potatoes, pumpkins, and apples
all-around peeler, great for shaving chocolate and cheese
for soft fruits and veggies like peaches and tomatoes
for long and thin strips used in salads and veggie pasta like zoodles
for peeling large quantities of fruits and veggies like apples and potatoes
three-in-one with standard, serrated, and julienne blades for different types of produce
Hand, Palm, or Finger Peeler
for an ergonomic fruit and vegetable peeling experience
Jonas or Swivel Peeler
Jonas peelers or swivel peelers are probably the most popular type of peelers available in the market today. These peelers offer a straight handle and a vertical blade that swivels when pressed down on a fruit or vegetable, skimming along their skins to remove them. This type is perhaps what comes to the minds of many people when they hear the word “peeler.” It is best used for long vegetables like carrots, as well as for small but firm veggies like potatoes. This type of peeler also usually features a potato eye remover at the tip.
When using a swivel peeler, you need to hold the produce firmly in your hand and move the peeler back and forward in a straight motion. When peeling a round fruit or vegetable, hold the produce firmly in your hand and guide the peel around it in a spiral gesture. The downside of a swivel peeler is that it can be difficult to use on soft produce like eggplant, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. It can also be hard to use on large vegetables like pumpkins. But it is a great choice for all the basic peeling tasks in the kitchen.
Below are some examples of swivel peelers to help you choose:
- Spring Chef Premium Swivel Vegetable Peeler: This peeler features dual stainless steel blades and a built-in blemish remover. It has a smooth glide technology to prevent peels from clogging the blade. It also has a soft grip handle and an ergonomic design for more comfortable use.
- OXO Steel Swivel Peeler: This has a sharp stainless steel blade that can peel fruits and vegetables easily. It has a sleek design with a brushed stainless steel handle and flexible fins for a comfortable grip. It also features a built-in potato eyer and comes with a blade cover so you can store it safely.
Swiss, Speed, or Y Peeler
Next to the swivel peeler, the second most popular peeler you can find today is the Y peeler, which is also known as the Swiss or speed peeler. It features a horizontal swivel blade and a Y-shaped handle. It resembles a slingshot, and it also swivels with pressure. It is best used for larger and firm veggies like big potatoes, apples, and butternut squash. But it can also be used to peel smaller or thinner vegetables like carrots, asparagus, and parsnips.
To use a Y peeler, hold the produce firmly in one hand, then begin peeling at the bottom, going either towards you or away from you. Y peelers are also best used for creating vegetable ribbons for salads and for shedding cabbage for coleslaw. However, they are quite difficult to use on soft fruits and vegetables and are not as intuitive as the swivel peeler.
Below are examples of Y peelers to help you pick the right one for your needs:
- Kuhn Rikon Swiss Metal Peeler: This is an all-purpose Y peeler that can be used for both soft and hard produce. It has razor-sharp stainless steel blades that can stay sharp for a long period to maximize smoothness and decrease food wastage. It also has a potato eye remover, and it is suitable for both right and left-handed use.
- Amazon Basics Straight Blade Y-Peeler: This Y-peeler has a swivel blade that is great for peeling fruits and vegetables. It has a durable stainless steel blade that comes with a protective cover for storing. It also has a non-slip and soft-grip handle for more comfortable use. It is ideal for peeling potatoes, carrots, pears, apples, and more.
The Lancashire peeler got its name from the part of the United Kingdom that is known for potato farming, making it the original potato peeler. It features a straight handle, a fixed blade, and a pointed end for removing the eyes and blemishes of potatoes, as well as pineapples. Originally, Lancashire peelers had strings wrapped around the handle, but these are no longer seen in the newer versions.
A Lancashire peeler is used similarly to a swivel peeler. You hold the produce firmly and then move the peeler up or down in a straight gesture. It is a versatile type of peeler that you can use for firm fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, and beets. It is also excellent for ginger and citrus fruits, as well as for shaving chocolate and cheese. However, it is not recommended to be used on soft fruits like peaches and tomatoes. Using it for a long period might also strain your wrist.
Below are some examples of Lancashire peelers to give you more options:
- Rosle Stainless Steel Round Handle Peeler: This peeler is ideal for peeling fruits and vegetables. It has a fixed blade with two slots, making it great for both left-handers and right-handers. Its handle is made of stainless steel, but it is comfortable to handle. It is also dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
- Mercer Culinary Vegetable Peeler: The blade of this peeler is made of professional-grade stain-resistant steel. It features a molded and slip-resistant handle made of polypropylene for safe and secure use.
A serrated peeler can come in both straight or swivel blades and Y-handle models. It features a serrated blade, which is a tiny version of a bread knife blade. It cuts gently into the flesh of fruits and vegetables without squishing them. This makes it a perfect choice for peeling softer fruits and veggies like kiwis, tomatoes, eggplants, and more.
To use a serrated peeler, place the blade on the skin of the fruit or vegetable and push it down gently to catch the skin. This type of peeler prevents food wastage as it peels only the skin and not the flesh. However, it is not a versatile peeler as it is only best for soft produce. When used on hard fruits and veggies, the teeth of the peeler might catch on them, making it difficult to use.
Below are some examples of serrated peelers to provide you more options for finding the right one:
- OXO Good Grips Serrated Peeler: This peeler has a sharp, serrated, and stainless steel blade. It can peel the skins off waxy and slippery fruits and veggies easily. It is very ideal to be used for peeling plums, peaches, and tomatoes. It comes with a soft and non-slip handle for more comfortable use. It is also dishwasher-safe for easy and fast cleaning.
- Kuhn Rikon Serrated Piranha Peeler: This peeler features a vertical blade that can easily peel smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables easier and faster. The blade is made of stainless steel, and it bites into the skins of the produce to peel them off smoothly. It has a plastic handle that is ergonomically designed for easy grip and comfortable use.
A Julienne peeler is used to make uniform julienne slices fast and easy. It is quite similar to a serrated peeler, but its blade has bigger edges that are spaced wider apart to make perfectly sized julienne strips. It is the type of peeler that can turn a vegetable, like a carrot or zucchini, into thin strips to be used as a veggie pasta or in a salad. However, the downside of a julienne peeler is it can’t be used for simply peeling vegetables and not putting them into strips.
Below are examples of julienne peelers to help you pick:
- Lurch Germany Julienne Y Peeler: This peeler can help in cutting fruits and vegetables into decorative julienne strips. It has Japanese blade technology for easy-glide peeling. Its handle is also ergonomically-shaped for more comfortable use. This product is BPA-free and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
- Rosle Stainless Steel Julienne Peeler: This peeler cuts decorative strips from vegetables, which are perfect for salads and garnishes. It has a round handle that can be used with both left or right hands. The handle is also filled with high-grade epoxy cement, making it watertight. It also anchors the head of the peeler securely, giving it good weight and balance.
A mechanical peeler can either be hand-cranked or electric. It is used for peeling oval-shaped fruits or vegetables, such as apples, beets, pears, and potatoes. You just have to fix any firm produce to its blade, then turn the hand crank or flip a switch, and it will automatically peel it in one long spiral strip. Most of them also have suction cups to attach to your countertop and avoid slipping. It is very easy to use and ideal for those who have problems with their hands or wrists. However, mechanical peeler takes up a lot of space in the kitchen, and they are more expensive.
Below are some mechanical peelers that might help you in choosing the best one:
- Manual Mechanical Apple Peeler: This mechanical apple peeler is made of stainless steel. It is used to peel, core, and slice apples and other produce simultaneously in just a few seconds by turning the handles. Its base has a strong suction cup to prevent it from sliding on the countertop.
- Electric Fruits and Vegetables Peeler: This peeler will help you peel fruits and vegetables with just a push of a button. It comes with 18 replaceable blades and a plastic knife. It is a durable product that is safe to use and made of high-quality materials. It can peel various fruits and veggies, such as potatoes, apples, pears, mango, cucumbers, and more.
A rotary peeler is a round peeler that has three styles of blades in one, which is standard, serrated, and julienne blades. To use it, you just need to choose your desired blade by rotating the hub of the unit until the blade you like is fully exposed. Since it has different blades to choose from, you can use it to peel a variety of produce. However, while it may seem so convenient, it can be cumbersome and awkward to use, and it is not suitable for peeling large produce.
Below are examples of rotary peelers to give you more ideas:
- 3-in-1 Vegetable and Fruit Peeler: This rotary fruit peeler is made of high-quality materials. It is smooth to use, and peels fruits and vegetables fast and safely. It can be used to peel or shred fruits and vegetables, while one blade can be used to cut veggies into long strips.
- GANNK 3-in-1 Vegetable Peeler: This peeler features standard blades for hard peels, serrated blades for soft peels, and a julienne peeler for making strips of veggies. It has a non-slip grip on the handle for more comfortable use.
Hand, Palm, or Finger Peelers
This type of peeler can be slipped on the finger like a ring, or it can be held in the palm of the hand. It features a blade that is contained inside a plastic cover that sits in the palm of the hand. It provides a comfortable and ergonomic way of peeling fruits and vegetables. You just need to slot the ring onto your finger and glide it up and down the produce.
The best thing about hand peelers is that you can peel a fruit or vegetable without having to hold a handle. However, while it is comfortable and ergonomic, the challenging part of using it is that you can’t see the part that you are peeling.
Below are some examples of hand, palm, or finger peelers to help you pick:
- Silicone Finger Grips Peeler: This peeler is made of soft rubber and features a stainless steel blade. It has an ergonomic design that can fit the palm well. It is suitable to be used on most fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, cucumbers, apples, carrots, and more. It is very easy to use and much safer than other types of peelers.
- Chef’n Palm Peeler: This peeler is quite fun to use. It has an ergonomic design that fits well in hand. It can keep your hand safe from the blade, and it is also very easy to store in kitchen drawers. It is also top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Peeler
In addition to learning about the different types of peelers and their uses, there are other factors that you need to consider in order to choose the best peeler that will cater to your needs. Below are some of them:
Blade Quality: No matter what type of peeler you pick, choosing one with a high-quality blade is very important. It’s because cheap or dull blades will require more pressure from your hands when using them, and it will make slipping more likely.
Handles: You also need to pay attention to the type of handle that the peeler has. Metal handles for peelers are often uncomfortable. Wood handles, on the other hand, may provide a haven for bacteria. It is ideal to choose peelers with plastic grips that are shaped to fit the hand comfortably. In addition to that, plastic peelers usually have a lot of colors, allowing you to choose what will best fit your kitchen.
Price: The price of a peeler is also among the important deciding factors when buying one. Inexpensive and simple peelers are very easy to find in the market. However, some of them might be dull or uncomfortable to use. There are also more expensive ones with interchangeable blades. However, some only forget the other blades in the drawer and are never used, which is a waste of money. Therefore, if you are only looking for a peeler for common produce like potatoes, apples, and the like, then purchasing a simpler peeler is the best choice.
A fruit and vegetable peeler is indeed one of the best kitchen tools to have that will make one of the most challenging cooking and food-prepping tasks easier. In addition, peelers are also much safer to use compared to other types of knives that put you at risk of being cut, especially when peeling firmer fruits and veggies. Choosing the right type of peeler mainly depends on what you will use it for, but it can also be great to have one of each type to ensure that you will be able to conveniently peel various fruits and vegetables with ease. We hope this post helped you learn more about how to pick the right peeler for the job.
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