Four Types of Vegetable Peelers and How to Use Them


We all have favorite vegetables and fruits. They’re not only delicious, they’re also good for the health. Some of them have to be peeled to be eaten and to be suitable for cooking.  Knowing the different types of vegetable peelers and how each one is used may help us add more of these super healthy, plant-based foods in our daily meals. That jibes well with the growing shift to healthy foods away from junk foods.

The four types of vegetable peelers and how to use each of them:

FOUR   T Y P E S   O F    V E G E T A B L E    P E E L E R S

  TYPE OF PEELER P R I M A R Y   U S E S
1 Straight Peeler For peeling skin of fruits and vegetables
2 Serrated Peeler For cutting shiny, waxy and slippery rind or skin
3 Julienne Peeler For cutting julienne strips like matchsticks
4 Speed Peeler For quicker cutting; can also do grating and
shaving

A Closer Look at the Four Types of Vegetable Peelers

A lot of convincing medical and health investigations conclude that plant-based foods are best for human beings. Consider the colorful varieties of vegetables in the market and in the agricultural fields that we see when taking a trip to the countryside. Familiarity with the types of peelers to process vegetables helps in knowing the different ways not only to peel them but to prepare and cook them. 

These different kinds of peelers make food not only ready for cooking but more visually tempting and attractive. They also make these fruits and vegetables ready to be cut, chopped, or minced to be added to other ingredients.  The result is a delightful explosion of delicious flavors and gustatory delights that make dining a satisfying daily experience.

1  Straight Peelers

The straight peeler is designed with a sharp, narrow, and long blade.  It is named a straight peeler because the blade runs parallel from the end of the handle. This configuration allows both right-handed and left-handed people to use it effectively with ease.  Like most other peelers, it has a potato eye remover or gouger to remove black spots and pockmarks. There are two variants of the straight peeler:  the Swivel Peeler and the Lancashire Peeler, the one with the blade that does not swivel.

  • Swivel Peelers

Probably the most popular type and the one most household kitchens have is the swivel peeler. It has a long and narrow sharp blade that swivels or pivots to its sides. As you run it along the vegetable’s side, you can peel it along the vegetable’s length or along its side or circumference. Being movable, you can control with your hands how much pressure you apply as you peel away, and how fast.  That also provides control when peeling bumpy areas or tight curved corners, especially as its blade is narrow enough to reach those areas and bends.

  • Lancashire or Stationary Peelers

A variant of the straight peeler, the Lancashire peeler’s blade is stationary,  which some users might be more comfortable with.  The other variant can be quite unwieldy and difficult to use.  The straight peeler is better at paring carrots, potatoes, turnips, zucchinis, and other firmer vegetables and fruits.

2  Serrated Peelers

A serrated peeler has a sharp jagged or saw-like blade that makes paring slippery, glossy or waxy skins of some fruits more manageable and easier. It is also the one to peel softer skinned fruits like peaches and more delicate vegetables such as tomatoes.

Depending on your preference, you can get a swivel serrated peeler or the Y-shaped version.  Serrated peelers have handles that are ergonomically designed that using them  can be more comfortable and convenient.

3  Julienne Peelers

A julienne peeler is a kitchen gadget used to create julienne strips or long, thin strips that look like matchsticks. This kitchen gadget makes the process much more comfortable, and the julienne strips more uniform and consistent in size than just doing it solely by hand and a knife.

It has one straight-edge blade, the outer one, and a second blade, the inner one, with a saw-tooth blade. Both blades are perpendicular to the handle. As the peeler is moved down the length of the fruit or vegetable, the outer blade slices into the flesh, and the second inner blade cuts the slice into strips, resulting in what is called julienne strips.

The julienne peeler is also great for someone who loves making salads, stews, soups, and coleslaws. You can use it to extract zest from the rind of lime, lemon, and other citrus fruits.

Speed or ‘Y’ Peeler

The Speed Peeler, also known as the ‘Y’-Peeler, obviously resembles the capital letter ‘Y,’ hence the famous moniker.  It does not matter if you are a southpaw or a regular right-handed person, thanks to its dual blades that are perpendicular to the substantially long handle. Its design and dual blades make it quick and ideal for paring fruits and vegetables. It can double as a grater and shaver for other food items like a block of cheese.

It usually comes with a wider handle good for a more secure hand grip and a hole at the handle’s end to hang it for easy access and storage. Most speed peelers even have a potato eye remover built into it. 

Super-Nutritious Vegetables and Fruits for Optimum Health

There is no doubt that almost all vegetables and fruits are nutritious.  They are not like foods that are highly-processed with no nutritional value and health benefits whatsoever. Here is a list of the ones that have the highest level of nutrients. They are the fruits and vegetables you should have more of regularly. If you do, you will be benefitted with a stronger resistance to ward off diseases.  It will enhance your mind and keep your heart in tip-top condition.

  1. Sweet Potato: It is an excellent source of beta-carotene which protects vision due to its powerful antioxidant properties. Beta carotene also contributes to the reduction of breast and ovarian cancer risks to women in their post-menopause period.
  2. Sweet Red Peppers: They contain a higher amount of vitamin C than oranges, about twice as much. Vitamin C is essential in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
  3. Broccoli: Broccoli contains a high amount of flavonoids which help our body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress wreaks havoc on our body’s cells, damaging it, which can lead to inflammation.  Adding this vegetable regularly to your diet will help prevent heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Dark Leafy Green Vegetables: Green vegetables are packed with huge amounts of iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. These nutrients enhance our general cognition and memory, or our thinking and recall brain functions, as shown by medical research.
  5. Tomatoes: Lycopene from tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant that reduces the level of cholesterol in the body. It also arrests the onset of prostate cancer and its advanced stages.
  6. Avocados: This fruit is delicious, even without any sugar or milk added to it. Avocado is also considered among the super fruits. This fruit is a good source of monounsaturated fat, which is good for the heart.  It helps to lower cholesterol levels in the body.
  7. Blueberries: Blueberries are loaded with the antioxidant anthocyanin which supports and protects our memory and cognitive functions, especially as we grow older. It cuts down the risk of developing degenerative ailments such as the dreaded Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
  8. Raspberries: Raspberries have a high content of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that helps prevent the occurrence of cervical cancer. It  also has a high fiber content.
  9. Bananas: Bananas provide about 400mg of potassium with just one serving, which assists our body in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Potassium also rectifies the effects of sodium resulting in optimum control of our blood pressure.
  10. Cherries: Having a lower glycemic index than most other fruits, eating cherries will not lead to a rise in blood sugar levels. Cherries also offer some relief from the symptoms of arthritis and gout.

Why Fruits and Vegetables Come in Many Different Colors

The different colors that we see in vegetables and fruits are the manifestations of the phytonutrients present or produced by the plants and nature as protection against bugs, germs, the harmful rays of the sun, and other threats from the environment. Each of these colors indicates the presence in large amounts of certain powerful nutrients.

Let’s take the time to get familiar with what nutrient each color indicates and how we can leverage that information to make the most out of all the phytonutrients provided by these foods to achieve the best of health.

Red Fruits and Vegetables: They have more lycopene, ellagic acid, and other phytochemicals. These phytochemicals fight the effects of cancer. Other significant health benefits of consuming red fruits and vegetables are the following:

  • Arrest and reverse prostate cancer with a daily dose of tomato sauce and juice
  • Watermelon and tomatoes contain bioavailable and significant concentration of lycopene
  • Prevent and reverse the occurrence of cancer of the esophagus

There have been some findings that taking lycopene and beta-carotene as supplements, that is, in synthetic form,  may actually lead to an increased vulnerability to cancer. To play it safe, get your source of phytonutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene from whole, natural foods instead of synthetic substitutes. These phytonutrients from natural sources have been proven to decrease significantly the possibility of developing cancer sign.

Red fruits and vegetables to try: watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, red onions, grapes, raspberries, apples cranberries, cherries, beets, pomegranates

Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables: They enhance the body’s immune function, cut down the risk of heart disease, boost eye health, and many more.

  • Fruits and vegetables that are colored yellow and orange are loaded with vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene and other carotenoids get transformed into vitamin A in the body that promotes better vision and cell growth.
  • Hesperidin, a phytonutrient found in citrus fruits, helps to promote better blood flow. This has many beneficial effects on the body.

Eating an orange daily could help prevent the tendency to get cold hands and feet. And the risk of stroke can be reduced by eating a lot of citrus fruits.

Orange and yellow fruits and veggies to try: oranges, mangoes, papayas, carrots orange and yellow peppers, grapefruit, lemons, sweet potatoes, winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, acorn), yellow summer squash, corn, cantaloupe, golden beets. pineapple, peaches

Green Fruits and Vegetables: Among the healthiest foods we should eat daily, green fruits and vegetables provide us with nutrients necessary for blood and bone health. They contain an abundant amount of isothiocyanates, isoflavones, lutein, and vitamin K. Green vegetables are also a good source of folate.

Pregnant women are advised by obstetricians to consume more green vegetables to avoid congenital disorders and abnormalities.

Broccoli and other cruciferous green vegetables are proven to strengthen the immune system, and dark, leafy green vegetables, such as kale, enhance good mood.

The exotic fruit kiwi belongs to a category of food known as “superfoods.” It can mitigate numerous kinds of ailments such as the common colds and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as well as a powerhouse for the prevention of stroke and heart attack.

Consumption of kiwi fruits brings down the triglycerides in the blood and cuts down the risk of blood clots resulting in the protection of our cardiovascular system. To top it all, kiwi can prevent damage to our DNA and can significantly minimize the danger of macular degeneration of the eyes which could lead to loss of vision.

Green fruits and vegetables to try:  avocado, asparagus, arugula, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collard greens, edamame, green apples, green beans, green grapes, kale, kiwi fruit, peas, romaine lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, zucchini

Blue and Purple Fruits and Vegetables:  Blue and purple colored fruits and vegetables contain huge amounts of phytonutrients such as anthocyanins and resveratrol.  Extensive studies have been done on this as regards the anti-cancer and anti-aging properties of these foods.

The berries’ bioactive phytochemicals help repair the damages due to oxidative stress and inflammation. The red cabbage which is purplish in color is considered as among the best superfoods that provide the highest level of antioxidants.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables to try:  blackberries, blueberries, eggplants, figs, plums, prunes, red cabbage (purple in color), red grapes (purple in color)

White and Brown Fruits and Vegetables:  Although these vegetables are not as brightly colored as the ones above, they also contain phytonutrients making them a healthy choice as well. They are the vegetables that protect against some types of cancers, keep the bones strong, and are good for the heart.

Garlic and onions belong to the allium group of vegetables that has potent anti-cancer compounds known as allicin and quercetin. White button mushrooms contain phytonutrients that suppress breast cancer cell growth. They also inhibit the production of estrogen in women in their postmenopausal period to prevent breast cancer.

White and brown fruits and vegetables to try: cauliflower, daikon radish, garlic, jicama, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes.

Want to Get an Electric Vegetable Peeler?  Here are a Few to Consider…

There are people who simply want to have the best of both worlds.  Such as homemakers who want to have both a manual and an electric peeler for their fruit and vegetable processing.  Here are a few ones whose features you might find right up your alley as far as accessorizing your kitchen is concerned. 

It’s forward thinking and the willingness to try out different ways of doing something.  And sometimes photos and images say much more than mere words.  On second thought, both words and pictures would provide you with the best and more complete information.  So, here goes…

Starfrit 93209 Rotato Express – Electric Peeler

This electric peeler can be plugged in or powered by batteries.  That means more flexibility in using it when there’s power outage or taking it along with you on a weekend vacation someplace. Although it is a countertop model, it is compact enough and so easy to set up if you need to bring it along on a vacation.  You can use it to peel potatoes, apples, cucumbers, pears, or citrus fruits. It has a non-slip base that keeps it steady when used. It stands approximately eleven inches tall and about five and a half inches wide and weighs a little over a pound. 

Pelamatic SL Orange Peeler Professional

The Pelamatic SL Orange Peeler is the one for those who want to be able to choose how thick the rind or skin to be peeled. There are fruits with thick rinds that when just a thin layer is peeled would make it more enjoyable to eat, with a bit texture left.  The unit has some important parts in stainless steel which makes it more durable and rustproof. 

Compared with other electric tabletop peelers in its class, it peels considerably faster.  For oranges, the gadget peels the skin from top to bottom, and then makes a second peeling going up this time.  It results in a nicely and optimally peeled orange in just a few seconds.

One-Touch PowerBlade PeelerWinning Features:

Now, what if you want a peeler which is a cross between an electric peeler and a handheld manual peeler, one that looks similar to a Y-Peeler.  You might think it would be just a bit smaller than a tabletop version, which would still be big.  

But it’s not. It is actually a portable vegetable peeler that is battery-powered and is a handheld gadget.  The beauty and advantage in this gem of a vegetable peeler is this. No machine or man-made device can ever match or replace the ability and precision with which we use our hands.  Our hands and fingers and all the intricate movements we can make with it are directly wired to our brains.

So, the vegetable or fruit is held by your left hand. Your right hand has the ‘One-Touch Powerblade’ peeler. You apply just the optimum amount of pressure and the precise tiny movements of your hand and fingers as you manuever the  handheld electric peeler to peel the vegetable. All the while your left hand is also turning and holding the vegetable.

The whole process and required movements are done and controlled by you, while the gadget simply peels the vegetable. So, with your bare hands and the One-Touch PowerBlade handheld gadget, peeling a vegetable can be much easier, quicker, and more precise and much closer to how you want it done.

An exception may be that medical equipment mostly for operation with precision way above that of human capability.  But that’s an entirely different story.

How to Make Julienne Strips with a Julienne Peeler

Part of a successful food presentation at significant and important events is the way each dish is presented.  Slicing and dicing and all other kinds of cutting techniques are used to make fancy shapes and different sizes of food as decoration and garnish. They absolutely look great, making each recipe or dish a delight to behold and savor.

Let us start by learning how to execute a julienne cut.  And carrots are great to demonstrate clearly how it is done:

Step 1:  PEEL & TRIM: Using a Y-shape, straight, or julienne peeler, cut off the ends of the carrot, both the narrow tip or bottom end and the top broader end. Discard them into a trash bin.

Step 2: MAKE SMALLER PIECES: Divide the carrot into two inches long pieces. Actually, how long it should be will depend on the total length of the carrot and the required length of the matchsticks for the recipe. The important thing to remember is to create uniformly sized pieces ideally to create julienne pieces of the same thickness and length.

Step 3: CREATE A FLAT, STABLE SURFACE:  With each carrot piece, cut a thin slice enough to create a flat surface to provide stability when doing the slicing.  That is achieved by rolling the carrot on that flat side. The piece of carrot is now stable on the table, which will prevent both the carrot and the knife from accidentally slipping. Do the same procedure on the rest of the cut carrot pieces.

Step 4: BEGIN SLICING: Cut the carrot along its length into slices that are 1/8-inch thick. Finally, arrange the slices for cutting by stacking the slices upwards. Finally, from the top of the stack of sliced carrot pieces, slice along its length into 1/8-inch thick strips. The result should be matchsticks of uniform length and thickness. 

Getting a Mandoline for Amazing Possibilities

You may have seen julienne slices of foods so thin and so nicely done and wonder why you can’t do that with your own trusty portable hand peeler. It can do julienne strips but not as great looking as the ones you saw in a culinary magazine, or the one you gushed over in a posh gathering you recently attended.

Those finely crafted julienne creation may most likely have been processed using a mandoline.  No, it isn’t a misspelling of the word “mandolin” without an “e,” which is a musical instrument.  It is a kitchen gadget that functions basically as a hand peeler does, but there are many more advantages and functionalities to it that you just can’t expect from a smaller, hand-held Y-peeler, or julienne peeler.

The mandonline is a kitchen gadget that can make it possible for anyone to create unbelievably thin and incredibly even and uniform slices. It is not a gadget that can be used with one hand.  It requires a flat surface to place it on for stability and safety, like on top of a work table or an island counter. It is usually made up of detachable parts that have to be set up for use, after which it is then dismantled for storage.

The mandoline has a flat surface with a razor-sharp blade which is adjustable for cutting thick and thin slices. High-end, more expensive models include attachments and a set of different blades for julienne cuts and shreds, wavy cuts, waffle cuts, and a host of others. Most models are designed with a holder that protects the hand from being accidentally hurt by the blade. Professional cooks who use mandolines put on metal mesh gloves to prevent their hands and fingers from getting hurt.  Such a powerful and versatile kitchen gadget that slices and cuts should be handled and used with utmost care and caution.

Click here to see images of the mandoline.

Some musings . . .

With the increasing awareness about pursuing a healthy and stress-free lifestyle and eco-friendly living, choosing the right kinds of food is a big part of it.  Knowing what types of food promote better health and at the same time maintain the integrity of our environment will all redound and impact our health and well-being.  It is up to us to make the right choices.

Using a variety of kitchen and cooking gadgets to process our foods contribute to making us like and even enjoy eating the foods we may not necessarily like for some difficult to explain reasons. It may not be the only way to do that, but we have the creativity to think of other ways to do it.

Adding nourishing foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and mushrooms, for instance, is great for our health, but it can either enhance or compromise the food’s or recipe’s taste. Processing ingredients, like slicing or cutting them up into smaller pieces, will enable us to take those kinds of foods or garnishes we may never be able to stomach if eaten as is. Like garlic. You wouldn’t eat a whole of it raw. It may be healthy for the body, but something one may not be able to do for long.  By cutting it up or juicing it makes its health benefits available to us.

So, it is great to have different ways to slice, grate, shred, or mince a vegetable, fruit, or any other foodstuff that would make our food not only visually appealing but pleasant to our taste buds. Preparing and cooking food and feeding ourselves can be an enjoyable and satisfying daily experience. We cannot and will not allow it any other way.

Bon Appetit!

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