I used to work at a German pastry shop where I had to peel a few crates of apples everyday for strudel and kuchen, and I was extremely grateful to have a contraption like the one on shown here to help me with the task. Since then, whenever I’ve peeled apples with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, I’ve thought back on that gadget and wondered: Should I get one for home?
Well, I recently took the cast-iron Peel Away Peeler with a suction base from Back to Basics for a spin, and the short answer to my question is this: While the tool doesn’t qualify as a kitchen essential, if you have to peel a lot of apples or potatoes (yes, it does taters, too), this little machine will save you time and effort and amuse you in the process. It can handily shave the peel off an apple or potato in about four seconds, and there’s something satisfying about watching the peel fall away in a long skinny strip as you crank the handle.
I was interested in the machine as a peeler only, but it also has an attachment that lets you simultaneously peel, core, and slice an apple into perfect 1/4-inch-thick slices. You can use the attachment to slice a potato into a spiral for curly fries as well.
When you first pull the little contraption out of the box, it’s somewhat bewildering, but if you set aside five minutes to read the instructions and familiarize yourself with its anatomy, you’ll be peeling away in no time. Just be sure to heed the manufacturer’s advice and use firm fruit only. During my apple-peeling trials, the peeler never stumbled, but when I tried a ripe pear the blade sank into the flesh and got stuck. I suggest you avoid soft apple varieties, such as McIntosh, as well.
The peeler is $24.95 at Cooking.com.