The Great Peeler Showdown

by Anne Maxfield on October 19, 2015

Accidental Locavore Eggplant and PeelersAs 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.

Accidental Locavore Uberchef PeelerThe 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.

Accidental Locavore Reject PeelersMy 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!




Because You Never Know When You’ll Need to Julienne

by Anne Maxfield on March 2, 2015

Accidental Locavore Peelers to TestFor a long time now, the Accidental Locavore has been wanting to put a pack of peelers through their paces, but for some unknown (unseasonal?) reason, hasn’t remembered to buy an eggplant or two to really put the peelers to the test. In the meantime, a few peelers that reputedly julienne have appeared in my kitchen. Since I needed some carrots peeled and julienned to pickle for some future banh mi, it seemed to be a perfect opportunity to see if any of them performed as promised.Accidental Locavore MOMA Peeler

  1. The “artsy” one: I picked this set up at the Museum of Modern Art. It’s a set of three, beautifully packaged, two peelers and a julienne. According to the package “These are the three best stainless steel vegetable peelers in the world!” so I needed to try them out. The julienne one was easy to use and made great strips of carrot. Two minor drawbacks: you need the pink (carrot) peeler to actually peel the carrot, and washing it was a little tricky as bits of carrot got stuck in it.Accidental Locavore Uberchef Peeler
  2. The Uberchef: This was a Christmas gift from my cousin (a good cook and fabulous jam maker). It has dual blades so you can peel and julienne with the same tool. It’s nice and sharp with a really comfortable (ergonomic) handle. It easily peeled the carrots, but took a little practice to get the julienne working well. When it did, it made nice long strips, similar to the “artsy” one. Cleaning it was pretty simple. Now, had I actually gone to the website and read the instructions, it might have worked (and cleaned) a little easier, but who reads instructions?Accidental Locavore The Cheapie Peeler
  3. The cheapie: In Saveur there was a blurb about this 20 cent Vietnamese peeler that did everything. Intrigued, I went on eBay and found one for about $4. It peels, slices, juliennes, grates ginger and makes ripple cuts—probably more than that, but it’s all in Chinese or Vietnamese, so who knows? It peeled the carrots easily and julienned them perfectly. This was the only one to make slightly round julienne, which is what I think of when I think of the carrots in a banh mi and it was the easiest to clean.

My verdict: The cheapie. If you come from a culture where there’s a lot of shredding of carrots, you’ll come up with a simple tool to do it with. This one made the nicest shaped julienne and was by far the easiest to use. I like the fact that it was multi-purposed and look forward to trying out all the other features. The runner-up would be the Uberchef, because of its dual purpose, and comfortable handle (and something tells me it would be really good for shaving chocolate or Parmesan). And the artsy set? I’ll probably keep around mostly because I like the packaging.