The Kitchen Tool Ina Garten Replaces Constantly

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Facing down a pile of butternut squash for warm soup or a stash of spuds for mashed potatoes can feel like a rite of passage. But, when your vegetable peeler can barely penetrate potato skin, that challenge is enough to ruin your evening. Rather than blaming your kitchen skills, we recommend turning to chef and home cooking expert Ina Garten for advice: Replace your peeler! And keep replacing it each year. 

The affordable tools deserve the same energy and attention as any other piece of equipment. "Vegetable peelers get rusty, they get dull, and they're very cheap, so you can just throw them out and buy new ones," Garten explained to Food & Wine.

Garten gives her peelers and zesters the boot once they start to fail. For her, that's after a year of use or so, but you may need to adjust based on how often you're using the tools and how carefully you're cleaning them. Though, technically, you can sharpen the dulled blades, most home cooks are better off with a clean, rust-free slate.

New year, new vegetable peelers

Before you start a new shopping tradition, there are a few things to keep in mind as you select your next trusty tool. First, start by taking stock of your old peeler. Do you enjoy using it? If the answer is no, you may be using the wrong shape for your peeling style.

For some, swivel peelers, which have long, narrow bodies, ergonomic handles, and rotating vertical blades, reign supreme. But increasingly, home chefs are copying the pros and opting for the y-peelers, which have wider bodies and horizontal blades. A favorite among line cooks, y-peelers are affordable (the beloved Kuhn Rikon brand sells a 3-pack for less than $20) and, for some, easier to control.

As for the blade itself, you can buy a serrated or straight edge. A ridged tool is especially good at gripping and peeling delicate produce like tomatoes and peaches, whereas a straight blade glides through daily vegetables like potatoes and carrots. You may want to even consider stocking up on one of each.

Use a peeler like Ina Garten

Once you've refreshed your kitchen tools, it's time to get back to cooking — looking forward to the fact that you'll get a deep satisfaction from gliding through prep tasks. In fact, after taking Ina Garten's advice, this is the perfect time to put your new kitchen tool to use as you follow her best hacks for roasting vegetables.

After dinner is sorted, we recommend taking your peeler for another spin as you consider cocktails and dessert, too. Add an aromatic lemon twist to martinis (and even alongside an after-dinner espresso) by slicing off a wide strip of the rind. Then, for added decadence, shave sweet garnishes for cakes and whipped cream. Follow the Barefoot Contessa's pro tip for effortless chocolate curls and use the sharp new tool on slightly warmed baker's cocoa to get the desired effect.

To ensure 365 more days of easy shaving and peeling before you purchase your new annual tool, make sure to rinse and dry your equipment quickly after each use. This helps fight off the dreaded rust. As with most kitchen tools, double-check manufacturer recommendations before tossing the metal in the dishwasher, too.