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Vegetable Peelers

Monday, 2 March 2009 | Tags: ,

If you like carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and more, you're probably very familiar with using vegetable peelers. A bunch of new designs have come on the market recently, so we checked them out to see if one peels better than the rest.

The Basics

  • Peeler designs have traditionally been straight, but there are more specialized designs on the market now, including:

    • Straight/swivel peelers have a blade that extends from the handle and swivels, which allows it to move more easily over the uneven surfaces.

    • Y-peelers have two prongs that split away from the base of the handle with the blade attached between them.

    • Countertop peelers attach either with screws or a vacuum suction base to a counter and cranked by hand. They can usually core, peel, and/or slice your fruits and vegetables.

    • Electric peelers can come in many shapes and sizes, from a simple straight peeler with an oscillating blade, to a countertop peeler as described above. Consider an electric model if you peel large amounts of fruits and vegetables.

  • The peeler handle is important:

    • Metal handles can be uncomfortable and difficult to hold.

    • Wood handles should be non-porous hardwoods for better food safety and durability.

    • Plastic or silicone handles are typically food-safe and can be ergonomically shaped to fit your hand. Many also have a non-slip grip.

  • The blade material will make a difference to your tool’s longevity:

    • Metal blades are the most common but can dull and rust over time and potentially taint food. Look for a stainless steel metal blade, which is the most durable.

    • Ceramic blades don’t rust and won’t taint food. They’re very sharp but also brittle, which means they’re a bit more delicate than stainless steel and can potentially chip.

  • The blade edge style can be straight or serrated:

    • Straight-edge blades are multi-purpose and can peel just about anything but the most delicately skinned fruits and vegetables.

    • Serrated edge blades can remove the thin and delicates peels from tomatoes, peaches, etc. but are not as versatile as straight-edged peelers.

  • The “eye” gouger is an important feature for removing potato eyes or other undesirable surface blemishes.

Other Considerations

  • Peelers are pretty versatile: you can also use them to shave hard cheeses or chocolate, make vegetable ribbons for salads, peel apples, pears, kiwis, and other fruits, and even peel tomatoes before cooking them.

TEST CRITERIA

We visited a potato farm and recruited some farmers to help us test our peelers. We tested:

  • OXO Good Grips swivel peeler (stainless steel blade, plastic non-slip grip): $7.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Kuhn Rikon Swiss ceramic Y-peeler (hard plastic grip): $14.98
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Chef’n palm peeler (stainless steel blade, soft rubberized grip): $6.50
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Starfrit Rotato Express (electric, with extra blades): $25.99
. . Amazon.co

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Peel Test

  • The electric Starfrit seemed to take a lot of potato off with the peel.

  • The ceramic blade on the Kuhn Rikon Y peeler wasn’t as sharp as the stainless steel, and it was hard to get used to using it. It also took a few extra swipes to do the job.

  • The OXO Good Grips was the most ergonomically comfortable and in one swoop you took just the right amount of peel off.

  • The Chef’n palm peeler was awkward to use and didn’t peel very well at all. It took a lot of extra work to get the skins off the potatoes.

OUR TOP PICK

The more traditional design of the OXO Good Grips swivel peeler won top marks with us and our testers. It was the easiest to use and did the best job and removing just the right amount of peel.

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