As you may or may not remember, when the Accidental Locavore put peelers that julienne to the test, I promised to test some of the many peelers I had when I got my hands on some eggplant, a vegetable that always gives me grief when it comes to losing its skin.
That day is here, promoted by a request from Frank for a batch of eggplant parm and a lot of beautiful eggplants at the farm. I decided to run the test with only the Y-shaped peelers, since there were only two eggplants and close to a dozen peelers. First up was everyone’s recommendation, the Kuhn Rikon Original. While it’s good on potatoes, fuggedaboudit with eggplant. One down.
Even worse was “the cheapie” winner of the julienne contest. Maybe it’s ok on Asian eggplants but it wasn’t anywhere near passable with the Italian variety. Two down and I’m starting to feel a little discouraged (and thinking Frank’s days of eggplant parm may be limited), so I decided to move onto the more expensive models.
The Uberchef did well in the julienne test, and has been great with potatoes and carrots, but eggplant? Amazing!! I kept peeling the first victim because it was so easy! I think it was because the peeling blades have tiny (and very sharp) teeth. The eggplant had met its match!
Thinking it might be all about the serrated blades, I went for the final challenger, what I called the artsy one. This was a set of three that I bought at MOMA because I liked the packaging and the idea that each one was for a different purpose. “Use the black one and you will easily manage to peel even the thinnest of skins.” And they were right! The black one went through the second eggplant as quickly and easily as the Uberchef. Suddenly, I’m not minding peeling eggplant!
Since I had run out of eggplant and was a little curious about some other hard to peel produce, I grabbed something I would never ordinarily just peel – a peach. With peaches and tomatoes, the easiest way to peel them, especially if you need to do a few of them, is to cut a shallow X into the bottom, put them in boiling water for 30 seconds and the skins (usually) just slip off. But in the spirit of experimentation, I gave it a shot with my two winners. While not quite as easy as with the eggplant, they both peeled the peach pretty easily and quickly. It’s something to consider if you only have one or two to do.
My verdict: If you only have room (and budget) for one, the Uberchef is definitely worth hunting down. For things like eggplant, tomatoes and peaches, having the serrated blades is the way to go. Since none of my classically shaped peelers had serrated blades (and they’re the reason I was testing peelers in the first place), I didn’t put any of them to the test and may just clean them out of the drawer, keeping artsy, cheapie and Uberchef close at hand.
Update: Since I cleaned the drawer of all the crappy peelers, the Uberchef was right there when I needed to peel a cucumber (which it did easily) and then, because I could, I julienned my cuke straight into my salad—genius!