I wanted to prepare a vegetable salad as a side dish for lunch, took out a couple of vegetables from the ref, and then grabbed my vegetable peeler from the drawer. I held the zucchini and started to peel it and . . . shucks! It needed sharpening. I searched my kitchen drawers and could not find any other peeler nor an appropriate sharpener. I thought a kitchen hack could do the trick. That started me on a google search for a quick solution. Somewhere down below is that workaround.
How to sharpen a vegetable peeler in four steps. Briefly, mark the edges of the blades, insert a rolled cardboard piece under them, run a small rasp file along the length of the first blade’s cutting edge about ten times. Then sharpen the second blade with the same procedure.
There are a couple of other ways and workarounds to sharpen a vegetable peeler much quicker. We will get to them later.
Vegetables, fruits, food ingredients, cheeses. These are some of the foods we need to cut, slice, dice, and process to enjoy them or incorporate them in a sumptuous feast. Or to prepare and cook up a quick meal. We have to maintain and sharpen them regularly so that whenever we need them, they are sharp enough and ready to be used immediately.
Four Easy Steps to Sharpen Your Vegetable Peeler
Step 1: With a marker, color the edge of the first blade of the vegetable peeler.
Step 2: Roll a piece of cardboard and place it under the blade to keep it steady.
Step 3: Using a small-sized diamond flat file, position it on the cutting or sharp edge of the first blade, and raise it up a little to match the angle of the bevel of the blade. Stroke the file along the length of the blade in one direction about 10 to 12 times.
Step 4: Switch to the second blade by turning the vegetable peeler 180 degrees. Color the second blade with the marker and repeat step 3. Try to peel a small vegetable to check if it has been sharpened enough.
How to Sharpen a Vegetable Peeler the Easiest Way
Vegetable peelers have small blades and holes that using regular files, or a sharpening gadget, may not just fit through the holes to get in contact with the blades.
Using a Knife
Use a small kitchen knife and hold it in your right hand. Hold the vegetable peeler with the other hand. Then start moving the knife’s blade across one of the two blades of the vegetable peeler.
Do it along the entire blade’s length from left to right repeatedly. Then repeat the same procedure on the vegetable peeler’s other blade.
You may try to lightly run a finger across the blade to know if it is sharp enough to be used. If not, repeat the procedure. After sharpening the peeler. Clean it with liquid soap and water, then wipe it dry.
Using a Honing or Sharpening Block
Rub the convex side of the vegetable peeler’s blade against the edge of the honing block several times. The vegetable peeler’s blade should be placed perpendicular to the edge of the honing block. As an extra step, you could do a follow-up sharpening by angling the peeler to one side so that one of the blades is in contact with the block’s edge. Do the same sharpening motion and repeat on the other blade.
Or you may choose to sharpen it on the flat or top surface of the honing block. Since the curvature of the blade will not make it possible to sharpen both cutting edges of the blade simultaneously, position one cutting edge first and make sure it is touching the surface of the honing block. Then run it across the honing block repeatedly in one direction. Then do the same procedure to the second cutting edge of the blade.
Taking the Rough Edges Out of Garlic Peeling
Garlic is one of the spices that need to be included regularly in our diet. The biggest reason to do that is that it contains a lot of good stuff, and can help protect you against a lot of debilitating diseases.
Garlic, though, can be difficult to peel. If you google how to peel garlic, you will find a lot of content, both videos and walk-throughs, and steps. Garlic is actually more nutritious when crushed and then left for some time to release its potency. It can be eaten raw, especially as a garnish, or an added ingredient in some recipes. That may be something hard to follow. That burning sensation in the mouth would have you drinking lots of water just to get rid of that acrid taste and burning sensation.
Using a Garlic Crusher and a Paring Knife
Since garlic must be crushed or sliced into tiny bits or cut up into small pieces to release its healthy enzymes, you would want to peel the tough and tight skin in a much easier and convenient way. Here’s how to do it.
If you have a garlic crusher, use it. But don’t crush the garlic cloves thoroughly. Just enough to break some of the tough skin up. You will notice that parts of the skin have broken up. If the garlic cloves are big, then you can easily pick up with your fingers a portion of the now loose skin and peel it away.
For smaller garlic cloves, use a small knife or the edge of a teaspoon. Lift up the loose parts of the skin, and peel them away. You save time having to grapple with the knife to cut off the top of each garlic clove to make the skin quickly come off or peeled away.
Healthful Reasons Not to Peel the Skin of Some Fruits and Vegetables
For many different reasons and occasions, it may be next to impossible to do extra work in preparing your food. Arriving home late at night and having to prepare dinner is one. Feeling under the weather is another. Or having to give more time to important obligations and that extra time for food preparation might compromise it.
Or it can be for a much simpler, and obvious reason. Like it may not be necessary. Some vegetables have such thin skin that it won’t matter whether it is peeled or not. The welcome news is that there are so many nutrients and good stuff in the skin, sometimes much more than in the flesh itself. Science has proven that they are loaded with various nutrients that it would be such a waste just to throw them away.
Good Source of Dietary Fiber
The flesh may have more fiber than the peel, considering that the skin comprises a small percentage of the total volume or mass of the vegetable as a whole. And there are soluble fibers and insoluble ones, which are both present in vegetables. A large percentage of the insoluble fibers, which can, understandably, help keep us regular, are concentrated in the peel.
Extra Flavor and Texture
The concepts of texture and contrast are parts of the whole idea of aesthetics and design, and those concepts can be carried over to the art of cooking. Part of the pleasure of biting into a slice of unpeeled cucumber is the crunchiness of the skin, the softness of the flesh, and its aroma. Biting into an unpeeled apple offers the same sensation, in a more subtle way, as the apple’s skin is much thinner. But our taste buds can distinguish and appreciate the subtle difference in texture.
Other vegetables have skins so thin it does not really matter whether it is peeled or not. To a certain degree, it may be better because you are not saddled with having to make a choice.
There are fruits whose skins are a different color than their flesh. When left unpeeled and added into a viand or salad, its skin would provide color and contrast, lending more visual appeal to it.
Fruits and Vegetables You Can Enjoy Without Peeling the Skin
It is now common knowledge that the skins or rinds of fruits and vegetables contain healthy stuff such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other nutrients. Some of them, though, cannot be eaten. Below are a few s of those vegetables and fruits. Sometimes we do peel the skin out of habit or convention. But in light of this knowledge, it will encourage us to enjoy the skin as well. It could add extra texture and more flavor to our eating.
Apple Skin: Apple skin contains vitamin C and triterpenoids which prevent cancer. Its skin also contains quercetin which is one of the medications for heart problems.
Banana Peel: The peel contains lutein, which is an antioxidant that promotes healthy eyesight. It is also a source of serotonin, a chemical that balances the mood and helps manage depression.
Beets Skin: Beet’s skin is loaded with folate that is good for the prevention of anemia and a source of antioxidants that have anti-aging properties. Beet can be roasted or boiled without peeling the skin.
Carrots Skin: Carrot is another one of those vegetables whose skins are so thin that they can be eaten raw or cooked without getting rid of the skin. Carrot contains fiber and pigments healthful for the eyes and skin called carotene.
Cucumber Skin: Its skin contains nutrients that provide protection against colon cancer and reduce the occurrence of constipation.
Guava Skin: The skin of guava helps control high blood pressure and treatment for diarrhea and constipation.
Mandarin Orange Peel: Mandarin is among the many citrus fruits which have more vitamin C and antioxidants in the peel than in its flesh inside.
Parsnips Skin: Parsnips are loaded with nutrients that reside just underneath its peel, so peeling it can be such a waste.
Peach Skin: Its skin is full of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Pear Skin: As with carrot, much of its nutrients are found just a little beneath the skin. The cancer-fighting vitamin C and the cholesterol-lowering pectin are both present in pears.
Potatoes Skin: The skin of potatoes is rich in potassium. And seventy percent of a potato’s iron content is in its skin.
Tomato Skin: The skin of tomatoes is so thin that peeling it away may be challenging and may result in a lump of mash that doesn’t look appetizing. The good thing about tomatoes is that it can be eaten raw or cooked. The tomato is full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene, which help prevent chronic diseases.
Watermelon Rind: Both the rind and the flesh of the watermelon provide health benefits. The rind is a good source of vitamins B6 and C, and citrulline which is an amino acid good for lowering blood pressure.
To Peel, Or Not to Peel
In the kitchen when cooking, we will sometimes be faced with having to decide either to peel the fruits and vegetables or to leave them unpeeled. Some cooks prefer taking off the skin of some vegetables and fruits in their cooking. Others may prefer to leave the skin of the fruits and vegetables intact, knowing that they contain lots of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and beneficial phytochemicals good for the body.
For the rest of us who are okay with peeling and leaving unpeeled their vegetables and fruits, depending on their recipe or preference, it would be helpful to know when to peel the skin always, when it should not, and when it does not matter.
Fruits and Vegetables That Should Always Be Peeled
- Hard winter squashes
- Citrus fruits
- Onions, garlic
- Tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, avocados)
Some fruits and vegetables though can be left unpeeled when processed as preserves, pickles, or marmalades
Fruits and Vegetables That Can Sometimes Be Peeled
There are a lot of vegetables and fruits that we peel, probably out of habit. Most of them also be eaten unpeeled, with the skin still on it. Two examples are cucumbers and eggplants. But some people may have difficulty digesting them with the skin on.
Peeling Delicate Fruits and Vegetables
When peeling fruits and vegetables, there are some that may require different ways or techniques to peel them. Although a regular peeler can be used to peel fruits such as carrots and potatoes, for instance, others require a totally different approach. Tomatoes and peaches, as examples, must be placed in a container of boiling water for some thrity seconds to loosen the skins.
Peeling Thick or Heavy-Skinned Fruits and Vegetables
Citrus, melons, and hard squashes are considered heavy-skinned fruits and vegetables. They are all peeled using the same basic technique. First, look at their end parts, the top side or the bottom side. Look where it is more convenient to make the first cut. Upend the fruit or vegetable if the bottom end looks more manageable. Then cut away a portion to reveal the flesh underneath. Position it well and make it steady. Then with a sharp knife, proceed to cut it down the sides and take off the peel as you complete the cutting around it.
Alternatively, larger melons and squashes would be easier to peel by cutting them in halves or quarters.
Peeling Root Vegetables
With the use of sharp peeler or paring knife, root vegetables are much easier to peel. The onion’s skin can be easily removed by cutting the onion bulb in half, then peel the skin from one end to the other end.
Another way to peel it is to cut off the top and the bottom, which makes it easier to pick off the skin from those cuts. Then peel away the skin carefully with your fingers or with the help of a paring knife.
Some vegetables, like asparagus and broccoli, may require simple peeling to make the hard parts that are usually cut out and discarded to be edible when cooked. Just peel away the outer skin of the asparagus before cooking. For broccoli, peel away the tough outer skin of its stem to make it more tender upon cooking.
More About Healthful Foods We Would Want in Our Diet
Blueberries, Strawberries, and Cranberries These are excellent sources of vitamins, soluble fibers, and phytochemicals. It has been found that consuming a lot of phytochemicals or flavonoids can contribute to the reduction of the risk of certain heart conditions.
Dark, leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, collards, mustards, radish, cabbages, and spinach, including other vegetables in the amaranth family of vegetables, are excellent sources of fiber, calcium, other minerals, and vitamins A, C, and K
Sweet Potatoes and Squash: These are loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, calcium and many other minerals, and much more. These naturally sweet foods may be consumed and enjoyed without adding sugar, butter, cream, or salt, which are typically taste enhancers added to potatoes.
Beans and Whole Grains: These foods are considered nutritious and are good sources of low-fat protein. They provide the insoluble fiber that brings down cholesterol levels, a soluble fiber which gives a feeling of fullness, and lots of vitamins and trace minerals such as manganese, which may be lacking in many diets. Whole grains such as beans retain bran which contains loads of nutrients, although their protein content is lower. Quinoa provides lots of protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, although it is not a grain.
Nuts and Seeds: They are excellent sources of minerals and healthful fats, although their calorie content may be quite high. Nuts and seeds that are shelled are better since it takes some time to crack them open, slowing us down to eat and enjoy them.
Salmon, Sardines, and Mackerel: These three kinds of fish, as well as other fatty fish, are full of omega-3 fatty acids that are believed to cut the risk of heart disease and stroke.
With regard to the issue of mercury contamination of fish, the advantages and benefits gained from eating fish outweigh the dangers of compromising your health from mercury. To make sure you do not get to eat fish that may have been contaminated with mercury, avoid eating the kinds of fish that belong to the higher groups on the food chain such as swordfish, trout, and king mackerel. They may contain higher levels of mercury compared to much smaller types of fish such as anchovies, sardine, and smelt.
The Nutrient-Loaded Pericarp of the Mangosteen and Its Other Health Benefits
Excellent Source of Antioxidants: Mangosteen is loaded with lots of antioxidants and vitamins. On top of that, it contains a large amount of an antioxidant called xanthones, which is a naturally-occurring compound. Both alpha mangosteen and gamma mangosteen are present in the fruit. In fact, about twenty identified kinds of Xanthones are in this fruit, specifically in the pericarp layer, or part of its rind or peel.
Xanthones contribute to the reduction of oxidative stress in the body caused by the presence of free radicals. By eliminating the free radicals, the antioxidants are able to protect the body from illnesses such as the common colds and flu, and to the more dreaded ones, like heart disease, and cancer.
Strengthens Immunity: The Xanthones and vitamin C present in mangosteen work together to enhance and maintain the body’s immune system. While Xanthones fight the free radicals, vitamin C enhances the production and function of the white blood cells.
Normalizes Blood Pressure and Strengthens Heart Health: Blood pressure is regulated optimally due to the high percentage of potassium, copper, magnesium, and manganese present in mangosteen. Potassium, in particular, arrests the harmful effects brought about by excessive consumption of salt. Mangosteen also helps in keeping the heart rate healthy, cutting down the risk of coronary attacks. Furthermore, the cholesterol level in the body is reduced, contributing to normal blood pressure and prevention of heart disease.
Fights Inflammation: Ailments in the body usually start out with inflammation, and mangosteen can help in preventing that. Mangosteen helps arrest the production of histamine and prostaglandin that cause inflammation. Inflammation can result in colds and flu, swelling, and other diseases.
Provides Protection to the Skin: The risk of contracting several types of skin diseases can be meaningfully reduced by mangosteen’s powerful nutrients. Its strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties are attributed to its high levels of Xanthone. Vitamin C further boosts that capability. The appearance of acne is also controlled and inhibited.
Since mangosteen has most of the components to maintain healthy skin, it also helps to delay the onset of skin aging which is the result of oxidative stress in the body caused by free radicals. Catechin, which is also an antioxidant in mangosteen, further contributes to the prevention and delay of the appearance of wrinkles on the face and other signs of aging.
Are There Good Stuff in Vegetable Skins
We started out talking about the steps to sharpen a potato peeler. And that presupposes that potatoes are enjoyed with the skin peeled away. But most of the time, the skin of vegetables and fruits are just as nutritious as the pulp or meat inside. Other vegetables and fruits have skins that are loaded with more nutrients and medicinal properties than the flesh inside. The insides are usually more delicious and may be more digestible when eaten.
But recent studies and investigations about natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and mushrooms have shown that sometimes the skins contain much more nutrients. Which means strengthening our bodies much more to fight off diseases. They also provide us with enzymes that can boost our immune system and make us generally healthier. That results in our body’s stronger resistance to the damaging effects of pollution and toxins that can affect our health.
Many of the nutrients and supplements that have been proven to strengthen our body and promote good health are also found in the following vegetables. and fruits.
Yellow Ginger: Curcumin in turmeric is what imparts that distinctive yellow-orange color to yellow ginger. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which are important. Inflammation is the first step that can lead to serious or more severe diseases. The occurrence of inflammation inside our body should be inhibited and overcome by eating foods rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as yellow ginger.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms may understandably be mistaken as veggies in our cooking, but they are actually fungi. Some are edible, and some are poisonous. And there are a few varieties that are rare and expensive due to its potent medicinal properties. Including unprocessed mushrooms in the diet can decrease the risk of the development of heart disease, obesity, and other ailments. Examples of medicinal and healthy mushrooms are Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Shiitake, and Ganoderma.
Broccoli: Broccoli can be eaten cooked, half-cooked, and raw. If eaten raw, it must be digested or masticated well to release its powerful nutrients into the body. Broccoli provides the optimum amount of vitamin K and C, Potassium, Folate, and fiber.
Kiwi Fruit: Kiwi fruits are not only deliciously exotic but contain phytonutrients that protect the body’s DNA, promote cardiovascular health, and provide protection against macular degeneration (for better eye health). Although some people peel its skin, it can actually be eaten. The skin of the kiwi fruit is loaded with anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic nutrients to aid in our body’s development.
Blueberries: Blueberries are valued for their high content of phytonutrients that is important to maintain optimum health. They help reduce DNA damage. And they are delicious taken whole or enjoyed as a juice.
Lingering Thoughts. . .
The satisfaction of choosing what food to prepare, ingredients to add, cooking, and serving them on the table can make you feel good inside. It can be fun, enjoyable, and challenging all at the same time.
Part of that “busy-ness” or activity entails making choices and decisions, planning, and attending to some menial tasks. One of those numerous routine tasks is making sure your kitchen gadgets are well maintained, such as sharpening your potato peelers. And there are also not so tough choices to make, like throwing away the peeled skin or making some good use of it. It’s not a choice or a decision that would make profound changes in your life. But it is not bad to be a little bold in doing something different once in a while, or eating something prepared in an unbelievable way.
The pleasure in dining is also about enjoying different kinds of foods and ingredients prepared and cooked in different ways. So, it would be exciting to do some experimenting or to develop your own recipes, or just have an incredible time trying out different combinations of ingredients. Like peeling away the skins of fruits and vegetables make us enjoy them without the skin. Then the peeled pieces could be added to a recipe for a different take of that recipe. Others prefer to have certain fruits eaten with the skin on for added texture. And when cut into pieces, these can garnish recipes to add a hint of a different texture and flavor, again to jazz up these old recipes for some variations.
In a capsule, these peels that would eventually make their way into the garbage bin, especially those that contain loads of good stuff, can actually be saved and incorporated into other dishes. That way, its healthful benefits are not totally lost.