Vegetable peelers

In some homes they live together, organized into the same drawer as friends, laughing about all the vegetables they’ve peeled. There’s Jerry, the oldest peeler, who doesn’t see much action anymore, but he gets along well with the newer model version of himself—Mike. Mike’s new, sharp, and gets lots of use. He’s joined by Jim, a sleek ceramic model peeler whenever there are loads of veggies to process from the farmers market. They live as buddies of varying ages, and they get along because they’ve all done time at the same job.

Other homes may keep them separate. The oldest peelers live in some hard to reach cobwebbed kitchen cabinet, counting down the days until eventual donation while only the newest and still razor-sharp peeler lives in the glorious top drawer for every day use.

I’ve got just one in my home, but I think it may be time to upgrade. Erin told me she uses only one as well—this trusty OXO model (pictured above).

How did you come into owning your vegetable peeler? Was it a hand-me-down, or did you research the internet for the best device based on reviews and cost?

Deciding on the right peeler

If that’s your game, then start your search with the greatest gadget and gizmo grandmaster of them all: Alton Brown. In this Good Eats video, he highlights some great options, explaining their pluses and minuses in wonderfully geeky detail. You might also check out this totally sweet peeler list I found, lovingly written up on

With enough use, the edge of any peeler will eventually dull and become a real pain in the butt to use. The blade will slip around, making it hard for the edge to get a good grip, wasting your time and patience. However, there are two ways around this predicament: you can learn to sharpen your metal peeler, or look into purchasing one with a ceramic blade. Ceramic stays sharper a lot longer than metal, and if it does get dull you can always send it back to the manufacturer to be factory-sharpened.

Additionally, you might consider purchasing a julienne peeler. These neat gadgets contain a row of sharp teeth which are turned perpendicular to the blade, splitting the food as you peel to save time in the kitchen. I used to own this OXO model, but the flimsy teeth bent after a few uses, just as others have mentioned on By the positive reviews, this Swiss model seems to have sturdier construction and is worth further investigation.

A case for owning multiples

How many do you have in your home? An uncluttered kitchen should contain as few unused gadgets as possible. If you own more than one peeler and never use the rest then they are just taking up valuable room in a drawer and should be headed for the donation bin.

Or is there life still in those old peelers? Using the sharpening trick mentioned above, you could hone your aged tools into a more youthful shape, returning them to the top drawer for use. With newly sharpened peelers at your disposal, you really should put them to work.

Find a recipe which uses something like potatoes, eggplant, or zucchini, then buy loads of these vegetables now that they are in-season. Seasonal veggies are abundant & best of all cheap! Gather some friends and family to lend a hand peeling your purchase. When everything is peeled, cook the recipe and share the finished product with everyone as a way of saying thank you for the help. You get bonding and a good meal from a little team effort. How great is that?

Here are some recipes that will give your peeler some mileage while simultaneously using up the season’s bounty.

And if your peeler isn’t smoking from all the use after that, you can always use it to shave off some cold butter.

Happy peeling.

6 comments posted

  1. Posted by Merikay - 09/28/2011

    I can’t believe i’m reading a post about vegetable peelers, much less commenting on it. At our house we have his and hers peelers, since each of us has a favorite.

  2. Posted by Sarah - 09/28/2011

    I have a “Star” Peeler purchased from Joe Ades, who used to peddle them in Union Square in NYC. It is the only peeler I use! NY Times wrote an obituary when he passed…

  3. Posted by Sheila D - 09/30/2011

    I have at least 2 peelers, both older, sitting in a drawer somewhere. I can’t remember the last time I used either one! I just DON’T PEEL stuff. Especially potatoes!!! Stopped doing that years and years ago … after the first time I ate french fries made with the peels left one. :-)
    I mainly buy the baby carrots that don’t need peeling, and never peel eggplant … why would you want to?

  4. Posted by Matt Fetissoff - 10/03/2011

    Sheila: I suppose it’s a matter of taste, texture, and sometimes necessity. My sister hates the taste of apple peel so I’m sure her peeler gets a lot of work in fall. Butternut squash season is coming soon too, and the easiest way to process that wonderful vegetable is with a sharp knife and, you guessed it, a peeler.

    I challenge you to use those old peelers!

  5. Posted by Lucy - 10/03/2011

    We have one very old peeler here. It was invented and patented by my uncle many decades ago, and it is still sharp. He sold the patent to a *major* company and they promptly shelved it. Why produce and sell a superior product which never needs sharpening (or replacing) when you can make repeat sales of an inferior product?

  6. Posted by Jen - 10/27/2011

    I also can’t believe that I’m commenting on a post about vegetable peelers, but I have to rave about the Pampered Chef peeler. I’ve never been to a PC party, and it’s the only thing I own from that company, but I am in love with it. I’ve always had trouble with peelers that rotate too easily or those that don’t have enough bite and end up sliding down the veggie instead of peeling it, but this one is perfect. I received mine as a gift after test-driving a friend’s while helping her cook dinner, and I dread having to figure out how to get another one if something happens to this one.

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