Standard vs. Y-shaped veggie peelers

Veggie peelers, sometimes called potato peelers or apple peelers, come in two primary styles. Traditional vegetable peelers are straight, with the blade extending out from a cylindrical handle. Some straight peelers have fixed blades, while others are designed to swivel as you work your way around a piece of produce. Y-shaped peelers, on the other hand, have a blade suspended between two arms that branch out from a handle (they look a little like a sling shot). Both types of peelers typically have flat blades, although some models have serrated blades, which experts recommend for peeling tomatoes, peaches or other delicate fruit.

Both conventional and Y-shaped veggie peelers will get the job done, reviewers say, although editors at MarthaStewart.com say it may be wise to invest in both types, because a straight peeler's "thin blade will remove as little of the surface as possible," while a Y-shaped peeler is better at peeling thick-skinned produce and creating ribbons of cucumber or zucchini. Both types of vegetable peelers can be used by right- and left-handed people, though some lefties say they struggle with straight peelers. Y-shaped peelers, some of which have wide handles, may be easier for those with arthritis to grip. Unlike knives, veggie peelers cannot be sharpened, although some pricier models have replaceable blades.

Experts suggest looking for the following features when choosing a veggie peeler:

  • Decide on a handle type. The most popular peelers have plastic or cushioned ergonomic handles  and not  the metal ones of yesteryear that tended to cause more hand fatigue and to slip loose from wet hands.
  • Look for a swiveling blade. Blades that swivel slightly work for both right- and left-handed cooks, and they  glide more easily over the imperfections on the surface of vegetables.
  • Stainless steel is better than carbon steel. Stainless steel is durable and dishwasher safe. Carbon steel is sharp and inexpensive, but it will rust if left wet. Because peelers are generally inexpensive, only a few models are available with replaceable blades.
  • Get an eye gouger. Especially useful when peeling potatoes and blemished fruit, an eye-gouger on the end of the blade makes it easy to dig out imperfections.

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