It's a game-changing piece of gear

By Rebecca Firkser
Updated April 24, 2018
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Credit: Photo courtesy Amazon

Say you have a mountain of fruit and vegetables to peel. When you reach into your kitchen's utility drawer, which tool do you grab to get rid of all the skins? Before you say anything, let me tell you what your answer should be: a y-peeler. I am the president of my local chapter of the y-peeler fan club, and that’s because these gadgets are the best peeler on earth in terms of price point, comfort, and utility.

Y-peelers are cheap. While I’ll defend shelling out your cash on the good stuff when it really matters (chef's knives and vanilla extract), I firmly believe you can get what you need at your local grocery, kitchen supply, or hardware store (though it my experience, those places tend to jack up the price on kitchen gear), or snag a multi-pack online. A Kuhn Rikon 3-pack of y-peelers is just $9.90 on Amazon and $9.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond. Don’t be fooled by what look like dinky plastic handles. The beauty of a y-peeler is that you don’t actually need the squishy comfort handle, because your fingers will fit comfortably just at the base of the “y.”

Whether you’re peeling fruits or vegetables, soft-fleshed or firm, a y-peeler will get the job done quickly and with little mess. As I’ve lost too many carrots to my trash can, I like to peel produce over a garbage bowl or cutting board. You can peel up and down while holding the produce in your hand, or if you’re working with a larger fruit or vegetable, you can lay it flat on your work surface and peel left to right—play around a bit to find out what you feel is the most comfortable. Once you’ve found the best way to hold the produce you’re peeling you can focus on speed. The speed with which you can peel is made even easier by the y-peeler’s wide blade; stick peelers really seem to only allow for the very center of the blade to do the word.

As you work your way around the curvy bits of an apple or eggplant, the y-peeler’s blade bends with you, so you’re not just hacking away. Press firmly on the peeler and you’ll easily be able to peel away more surface area and depth, ideal for thick-skinned produce, like broccoli stems and butternut squash; gently drag the peeler along an orange or lemon as you prepare a cocktail and you’ll get a nearly translucent pithless slice of zest.

Pick up a y-peeler the next time you pass one at the store. You already know they cost just a few bucks, so there’s minimal commitment involved if you don’t like it (but you will, trust me). Give it a try the next time you make a batch of applesauce or sweet potato fries, and if you really hate it, you can give it to me, I could always use another.