The Essential Apple Peeler Gizmo

This is my apple peeler gadget:

I don’t know if this thing has a proper name. It seems like something you’d find in the back of a barn somewhere to crank start machinery that no one uses anymore. And in truth it probably was invented 160 years ago and hasn’t changed since. But don’t let the lack of a shiny plastic case or bluetooth capability fool you: this tool is a great little timesaver for the modern homestead when it comes time to deal with apples.

Here’s how it works:

(Since I made this video I’ve realized that the peeler thingy works even better if you load it blossom-end towards the blade, the opposite of how I demo’d it. I’ve also learned it will do potatoes, if they are fairly evenly shaped. Cool.)
So if you have a lot of this:

And you’d like to turn it into this:

Then you might want to consider picking up your own apple peeler thingy.

A few notes: while I love my peeler gadget, it is not an example of the most robust construction I’ve ever seen. When I was doing pounds and pounds of apples, I got in the habit of keeping a small screwdriver at my workspace because it needed periodic adjustments and tightenings.

You’ll also notice I use my thumb in the video to hold the base of the slicer blade in place until it has firmly “bitten” into the apple. I found this really helped stop the blade from slipping out of alignment when it met the apple. After a few pounds, you learn how to most efficiently line up the apple and work the peeler to get the most consistent results.

Even with a few adjustments, it was so much faster than hand peeling and slicing. This tool helped me power through 80 pounds of apples without losing my mind. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

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To Do In The Northwest Edible Garden: November 2011

Comments

  1. I stumbled across one of these a year and a half ago at the thrift store. For $6, I'm embarrassed to admit that I wandered the store for a bit to decide if it was worth the money and the kitchen space. Eventually, I figured why not give it a go. It is, I have to say, pure genius, and I feel kind of silly for pondering it as long as I did. Apple pies, crisps, sauce, and butters have never been easier. Completely worth it, even at a higher price.

  2. Have one, don't like it and gave up on it. Husband bought it for me. He likes gadgets. I just find it very relaxing to sit and peel and slice.

  3. I LOVE my apple peeler thingy! DH "claims" that we had one years ago and I threw it out (he must have been drinking or something as I would NEVER throw something like that out), so I bought mine at a thrift store also. Don't remember how much I paid for it, but whatever it was, it was well worth it!

  4. Note to self. Must hit the many thrift shops in our town and put the word out. Brilliant tool. I love it.

  5. I have a plastic one I got off amazon for around $10. Best one I have ever used! Got a lot of great reviews on there too.

    I wish I could sit and enjoy hand peeling apples! lol.

  6. On your advice, and looking at 150+ apples remaining on our tree, I picked up one of these little gizmos. Even at the super expensive (but wonderful) cooking store on the square in Sonoma it only cost $19.95.

    Now I had a bit of trouble with the directions, but my more technologically proficient hubby had a good deal of fun with it. (He usually tries to stay clear of this urban farming stuff.) In 10 minutes we had 10 apples and the apple crumble is baking now.

    Thanks for the tip!

    Birgitt

  7. tornadogrrrl says:

    My household believes the proper name for that device is "apple mangler".
    And we LOVE ours.

  8. Because of your video, I ended up with one. I paid the whopping price of 28.00 at Lee Valley in Canada. (great gardening stuff too) We just used it for the first time to slice up enough apples to make 7 – 4 cup bags of apples to freeze and have about three cups left to make a crumble tonight!! Thanks Erica.

  9. We are on to our second one of these. We call it an 'apple slinky machine'.

  10. I was wondering if you or any of your readers have suggestions on which brand of “Apple Slinky Maker” (as my mom used to call them!) works the best. I have one but it must be a dud – even with regular adjustments it is a nightmare to work! The thinner metal parts bend, the “eye” of the blade slips and I am constantly worried about cutting myself. It’s easier and less tearful to just do my apples by hand at this point.
    Also, do you find that the thinner slices of the Slinky apples get too soft during canning? The ones I did this year just turned to mush, but that might be because I live in Michigan and our 2012 apple crop was horrendous!

  11. Growing up, my mom used to make pink applesauce (peels on). Tasted great, really no difference whatsoever to conventional applesauce.

    Can’t get away with peels on for pies and such, but worth thinking about for sauce.

  12. Another Erin says:

    My husband and I bought one of these at a yard sale on the cheap. I remember working at a local museum and an older couple bring their antique one for the little kids to see work, and they would line up and take turns turning the crank. I used mine for an apple pie recently, and my husband immediately took over peeling duties because he thought it was a lot of fun – anyone want to whitewash my fence? Anyway, there is something to be said for the simplicity of a peeler or a pairing knife, but I do enjoy this gizmo. When not in service it sits on my kitchen window as decor in my rustic home. I’m also lending it to an elementary school teacher for her class on making apple sauce.

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