The task of peeling 5 pounds of apples—let alone coring and cutting them into 1/4-inch slices—is daunting. And if there was ever a place for an apple-processing gadget (most of which are designed to handle all three tasks), our Deep-Dish Apple Pie was it. So we rounded up six models—and a bushel of apples—and headed into the test kitchen.
One by one, the peelers faltered, as testers found most to be more trouble than they were worth. The clamp-style models—too narrow for all but one of our countertops—lost out to those with a suction base, which also had the benefit of keeping the mess at the center (rather than the edge) of the work area. Once we'd managed to stabilize the models, performance of core tasks was hit-or-miss. When peeling, the gadgets either skimmed the apple's surface or removed the peel along with a deep gouge of flesh. Slicing and coring proved even rougher—literally: Crisp apples had a tendency to crack or break, while mushy apples were processed to, well, mush.
One model, however, surprised testers by peeling, coring, and slicing every apple we could throw at it. Sleek and efficient, this model seemed like it would rival even the handiest test cook. But there was only one way to find out. We pitted the test kitchen's best peeler (armed with a peeler, knife, and cutting board) against a test cook wielding our favorite peeling machine. The knife-brandishing test cook finished five pounds of apples in just 12 minutes. Not too shabby. The mechanized gadget? Just under four minutes.
Naysayers suspected wastefulness, but the two finished piles of apples weighed in within a few ounces of each other. We're sold.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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