6 Best Peelers | March 2017
- includes hand thumb knife
- easy to operate
- built-in storage compartments
- includes free corer-slicer
- strong suction base
- comes with recipe booklet
- quickly removes potato eyes
- comfortable rubber handle
- replaceable blades
A Few Words On Peelers And Peeled Foods
The kitchen tool you likely picture when you hear the word "peeler" is likely one made in the style of the Jonas Peeler, first designed in 1953 by a Swedish craftsman. This swivel peeler features two edged surfaces set into a pivoting piece of metal that rests at one end of an ergonomic handle.
It is one of the easiest tools to use, and made the peeling of fruits and vegetables not only easier, but also safer, faster, and more efficient too. But it was far from the first peeler ever used in a kitchen. Earlier examples of peelers include the Y-peeler and the French made Economoe, which features a fixed knife like blade set at a precise angle.
Peelers come in many shapes and sizes, but all are designed with the same basic purpose in mind: their job is to remove the thin surface layer of a piece of edible flora while preserving as much of the inner material as possible. Anyone who has ever tried to peel a vegetable or piece of fruit with a knife will tell you that peelers do a remarkable job of leaving behind the majority of the foodstuff.
Peeling certain foods is an essential step prior to their consumption: you can't eat citrus rinds, for example, or the papery exterior of an onion. Other foods have skins that can be eaten, yet which taste better and can be more easily prepared and cooked when the skin has been removed -- examples in this category include starchy tubers like potatoes and yams, and vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, and many more.
Still other foods are perfectly suitable for consumption with their skin intact, such as an apple or peach. Yet there are still often good reasons to peel these and other fruits. First, peeled and sliced fruit is perfect for use in fruit salads or for handsome presentation on its own. Second, by removing a fruit or vegetable's skin, you can safely remove most of the potential pesticides or fertilizers lurking on the food, making it safer to consume edibles not grown using organic practices.
Choosing And Using The Perfect Peeler
If you only need a peeler for removing the skin from rigid vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or parsnips, then you will be well served to stick with a basic handheld peeler. A fine peeler in the Jonas style can be had for less than ten dollars, with it in fact difficult to find options in this style priced higher than twenty dollars.
If you are a serious chef -- a home gourmet or a professional cook alike -- then you might want to consider stepping up to a more advanced, heavy duty peeler. There are myriad mechanical peelers on the market, most of which use the same basic approach to the process. A hand crank operated peeler usually features cups or spikes that hold a piece of food firmly, while the turning motion of the crank rotates the food while moving the blade along a horizontal access, thereby creating one long, continuous peel as the tool quickly skins the fruit or vegetable.
For those with hands or wrists weakened or suffering rotation issues caused by age, injury, arthritis, or other afflictions, there are several decent electric powered peelers available. While these units might not allow for the same level of control as a handheld peeler, they make the process of peeing a fruit or vegetable remarkably easy.
If you frequently cook with onions yet loathe the laborious (and often eye searing) process of skinning them, then consider a peeler that is purpose built to remove the outer layers of an onion. These devices can peel onions of many different types and sizes in mere seconds, and are a great choice for the chef preparing large batches of soups, sauces, and other onion rich dishes.
The Peeler As An Aesthetic Accessory
The way a food looks has a direct impact on the way it tastes. At least, our brain thinks it does. Researchers have proven over and over that food that looks great is actually perceived as tasting better. The opposite is also true, unfortunately.
Be it as simple as a sprig of parsley placed atop a bowl of soup or a presentation as elaborate as ice cream garnished with beads of fruit formed using frozen liquid nitrogen, the aesthetics of a meal matter. Let's discuss a few examples of "fancy foods" that are easy to make using a good peeler.
A peeler that removes the rind of a citrus fruit in long strips not only leaves you with a great looking piece of fruit perfect for use in deserts, salads, or atop roasted meats, but also leaves you with citrus twists perfect for adding to a cocktail as a garnish.
French fries or scalloped potatoes always taste great, but spiral cut fries or shoestring fries will be perceived as even better. Many peelers can be used to cut many vegetables into swirling shapes, so using them can help you can serve the most elegant zucchini or cucumber your guests have ever seen (or tasted).
And when it comes to making a salad, your veggies will look even more ravishing when spun into deft little spirals than they well when julienned. No one has to know how easy the prep process was thanks to your fine peeler.