A viral video explains why.

By Tim Nelson
Updated April 28, 2020
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If you’re among the many stuck at home and cooking more than normal these days, you’ve probably become reacquainted with some kitchen implements you forgot you even owned. But I can bet that none of your discoveries have been quite as mind-blowing as one British man’s discovery that we may have been using vegetable peelers wrong all this time.

According to Today, a British chap named Tim Smith hit upon the startling revelation that using a vegetable peeler is not a one-way street, as a viral tweet shared by British author Giles Paley-Phillips indicates.

That’s right: instead of swiping a vegetable peeler in one direction, it turns out that (at least in some cases) you can save a lot of time by swiping down a carrot and then right back up. Root vegetables are, in fact, a two-way street. It’s simply astounding stuff, as evidenced by Smith’s look of absolute awe as he casually tosses aside both peeler and carrot aside.

Because this is the internet, Smith’s kitchen lifehack was greeted by both surprise at the revelation and surprise that people didn’t already know about it.

Before you drop everything and rush to peel a root vegetable, it’s worth noting that not every peeler is created equal, however.

“Not all peelers peel this way, it depends on the brand and design,” the Institute of Culinary Education’s Frank Proto told Today. “To tell if your peeler can peel in both directions, you’ll need to check the blade—both sides of the blade are sharp, whereas on peelers that only peel in one direction, only one side is sharp."

Sounds obvious, but it makes sense. Proto also notes that round foods like apples and potatoes will be harder (if not outright impractical) to peel this way, so try to stick to carrots and other longer stuff like zucchini and eggplant.

Still, there’s a decent chance you can shave seconds off of your prep time with a peeler that cuts in both directions. So as long as that blade is sharp on both ends, don’t be afraid to go against the grain.