Vegetable peelers make removing the outer skin or covering off vegetables like carrots and turnips quick and convenient. Knives can do the job too, but vegetable peelers involve a process that is safer and more precise if you use them the right way. They can also be used for everything from peeling the tough outer membrane of celery stalks to shaving slices of hard cheese.
Peeling Carrots or Turnips with a Vegetable Peeler
Grip the thick top of the carrot or turnip with the leaves and stems firmly in your hand, but leave the top portion directly facing you exposed. Hold the carrot or turnip so that it forms a 45 degree angle with the kitchen counter. Press the blade of the vegetable peeler against the top of the carrot or turnip until the edge of the blade pierces the surface. Pull the vegetable peeler down against the length of the carrot or turnip.
The strip of carrot or turnip skin should fall off on its own once the vegetable peeler has cut down the length of the carrot or turnip. If it sticks to the vegetable peeler, carefully pull the outer skin off the blade and discard it. Continue cutting the outer skin off the carrot or turnip by using the same lengthwise motion. Rotate the carrot or turnip in a clockwise motion as you peel until the entire carrot or turnip is stripped of its outer skin. Clean the carrot or turnip in cold water and rub your hands over the exterior. Wash the vegetable peeler using a sponge in warm soapy water. Allow the vegetable peeler to dry on a rack before putting it away.
Keep your fingers away from the blade of the vegetable peeler while you are peeling the skin off the carrot or turnip. Place one hand on the handle and the other under the carrot or turnip so that you have a firm grip without leaving your fingers exposed.
Peeling the Outer Tough Membrane of Celery Stalks with a Vegetable Peeler
Wrap your hand around the concave side of the celery stalk so that the convex side is facing you and the leafy end is farthest away from you. Press the vegetable peeler against the celery stalk until the blade cuts into the surface of the celery stalk. Slide the vegetable peeler against the length of the celery stalk and cut away the tough outer membrane.
Carefully remove the strip of tough outer membrane from the blade of the vegetable peeler and discard it if the strip does not fall off on its own. Repeat the same process until you have peeled the tough outer membrane off the entire convex portion of the celery stalk. Clean the peeled celery stalk thoroughly in cold water. Rinse the vegetable peeler with a sponge and warm soapy water. The vegetable peeler should be dry before it is stored in a drawer.
Shaving Thin Slices of Hard Cheese with a Vegetable Peeler
Hold the back of the hard cheese firmly in your hand by wrapping your hand around the base of the cheese. Place the blade of the vegetable peeler against the top edge of the diagonal side of the hard cheese or the side you would like to slice. Draw the blade of the vegetable peeler down against the length of the cheese.
Carefully remove the slice of hard cheese from the blade of the vegetable peeler. Repeat the process for additional hard cheese slices. Remove cheese and oils from the vegetable peeler using a sponge and warm soapy water. Replace in drawer when dry.
- Hard cheeses are firm enough to be cut with a vegetable peeler. Softer cheeses like blue cheese or Camembert cheese do not usually have the firm consistency to allowing slicing with a vegetable peeler. A cheese knife is optimal for these types of cheeses.
- Press harder against the side of the hard cheese for thick slices. Pull down against the hard cheese with the vegetable peeler using a very light hand for paper thin slices.