The best potato peelers

Updated on 26 March 2011 | 0 Comments

Peeling potatoes is the worst of kitchen tasks, but with the right peeler it can be that little bit easier. Alessia Horwich rounds up the best.

I’m a complete slob when it comes to potatoes. After bad experiences with rusty peelers like this that cut into your hand more than the potato, I take my chips with skins on and my mash rustic.

But, as purists across the nation take a sharp breath in, I do know that sometimes you really need to peel.

And armed with the right equipment, it’s a breeze. But which peeler is best?

Up until now I’ve been using…

As a firm believer in the Y-shaped peeler, as opposed to the swivel, my current utensil of choice is this orange monkey peeler.

It’s a novelty peeler, but it gets the job done and because it’s not that sharp, the peelings are extremely thin so you don’t waste precious potato. Brilliant.

A serious peeler

Or so I thought until I got my hands on the OXO Good Grips Y peeler.  Unlike the monkey, there’s no chance of it slipping out of your grasp if your hands are slightly wet. The rubbery handle feels great in your hand, and the grip is comfortable. The blade is sharp, which surprisingly means wider peelings so the whole process is sped up.

 It totally out-peels the monkey, plus at £3.95 it’s cheap.

However, the little plastic hook attached to get rid of potato imperfections isn’t really sharp enough to get the job done well.

Swivel peeler

The Zyliss swivel peeler (£7.49) takes this little add-on to the next level.

It’s got a separate circular blade at the top of the peeler specifically designed for digging out those pesky nobbles or rotten bits.

It’s cleverly designed and gets rid of the imperfection without taking a huge chunk out of the potato. The handle is also shapely, fitting snugly in the palm of my hand. And the blade, made from hardened steel to stay sharp longer, peels smoothly and won’t suddenly slip.

The three-in-one peeler

The Joseph Joseph rotary peeler is enough to turn anyone back to the traditional swivel.

It has three blades mounted on a plastic triangle that sits inside a round casing with an opening for one blade at a time. A small disk in the middle lets you rotate the blades, choosing between a normal peeler, a serrated edge (for tomatoes and soft fruits) and a julienne blade.

Sounds good?

Well, there’s just one problem; it’s really uncomfortable to hold. Grip it with your index finger down the side and the force is going sideways whilst you want to be peeling downwards. Hold it with your fingertips parallel to the blade and one slip towards the blade  could puncture the top of your pinkies. Plus you’ve got to pay for three blades – it’ll cost you £11.88.

It does provide an alternative design for arthritic hands that can’t grip as well, and it is easy to take apart and clean. But as soon as the blades get even a little bit dull, this peeler is going to be too hard to handle.

Ceramic peeler

There is no fear of blunted blades with the Kyrocera ceramic peeler.

Kyrocera (known for making printers) makes its blades from zirconia, a material so strong it’s used in space, which stays much sharper for longer than the regular steel blades and won’t rust. The handle is sturdy and easy to grip, and the peelings are wafer-thin, so no wastage.

Plus, it’s got a fancy rotating head so you can choose to have the blade vertical either way up (perfect for lefties), or horizontal, or any angle in between.

But what’s the point?

It means you can do full-on circular peeling, and finish the whole potato in one go, without breaking the peel. You can also set the angle that best suits the contours of the particular pomme de terre you’re working on, for speedier peeling.

So what’s the down side?

Reviews show the plastic posts on which the blade is fixed are liable to snap if you exert too much pressure on them whilst attacking a particularly tough potato root.

It also doesn’t have a blade specifically for digging out these imperfections, so you can’t get round the snapping plastic problem by removing them first. Well, except with a knife or another utensil, which defeats the purpose really.

Which is the best peeler?

The Kyrocera was the best performer, but with a design flaw that could bring perfect peeling to an abrupt end, and the cost of £13.69, it’s a bit of a risky choice.

So in the end I’ve been seduced by a swivel peeler. The Zyliss is a great performer and the second blade on top alongside the main blade makes for a peeling double whammy, getting the job done in super quick time.

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