Sometimes I am very lazy, and this laziness prevents me from trying new things. Many times I have opened a recipe, realized it required the peeling of something that is "annoying to peel," and peaced out, never making that food.
It's too bad, because most things are pretty easy to peel once you know how to peel them. Peeling tomatoes with a paring knife is a frustrating task, but blanching the skin off of them is as easy as boiling water.
To prevent future laziness from denying me tasty treats, I went in search of the best way to peel all of things -- well, a lot of things-- as dictated by Pinterest, your one-stop-site for the "right" way to do anything.
I found a lot of good stuff. Some techniques are pretty basic and have been around a while (like the blanching tomatoes thing), but some were brand new to me (like a crazy egg-peeling tip). All are worth knowing.
We'll start with the most common.
Blanch Your Tomatoes
Searching for "peeling" and "tomatoes" brought me to this article, and though it's nothing new, it's very useful. I had seen this technique at least a hundred times, but never actually tried it.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Score your tomato on the bottom with a very sharp paring knife. Don't go too deep; just break through the skin.
Lower the tomato into boiling water for 15-30 seconds, or until the skin starts to pucker. Plunge that baby into ice water for about five minutes; you want the tomato to be completely cool.
This was oddly satisfying, kind of like peeling off your skin off after a sunburn, only much less gross and much better for you (assuming you eat the tomato).
Peel Garlic with a Cocktail Shaker
Garlic is great and I want it in everything. I like the jarred, minced garlic from Trader Joe's but sometimes I want a whole clove, you know? Peeling each, individual clove is a bit annoying, if only for the smell it leaves on your hands for days and days, but this way (via Holiday Sparkle) will let you peel a whole head in about a minute or less.
First, you're going to want to smash the head with a cutting board or other blunt object. This will leave you with a whole bunch of cloves still in their skins.
Take this whole situation and put it in some sort of container. I like using a a cocktail shaker. (Don't worry. The stainless steel doesn't really hold the scent; just wash with warm, soapy water.)
Holiday Sparkle says you only have to shake for ten seconds. I shook for twenty and only half of the garlic was peeled, but that could be because I am a weakling.
I threw the rest back is and shook for another twenty seconds. Then the job was done.
You are now free to smush, chop, or roast these bad boys.
Boil the Skin Off a Potato
Some people like skins in their mashed potatoes. I am one of those people. But if you aren't like me and want some skinless taters, try this little method courtesy of Dave Hax. (I don't think that's his real name.)
Let's try it at home! As Dave instructed, simply take you potato and cut a thin line around the middle.
Boil that tuber for about half an hour (or more or less depending on potato size, really) and then plunge it into some ice water for five seconds.
Pull it out and gently tug the skin off.
Mine didn't come off as cleanly as Dave's, but it did come off. I guess that's all that really matters.
Peel Eggs in a Glass Jar with a Bit of Water
Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln this blew my mind.
If you are anything like me, you love deviled eggs but are frustrated by the peeling portion of their preparation. I've tried it all: That baking soda thing. Baking them. None of these methods are fail proof. (Or maybe it is I that is not fail proof?)
Things got a little better once I read this Food Lab article and started adding the eggs to already boiling water, but they still didn't peel cleanly every time. So when this blog told me the secret to perfectly peeled eggs was shaking them in a GLASS JAR with a LITTLE BIT OF WATER, I scoffed. I scoffed so hard because how could that be true? How could that be the "hack" I had been waiting for?
But I gave it a go, and I'm glad that I did. According to A Thrifty Mom, all you need to do is shake and swirl an egg in a glass jar with about an inch of water and all will be revealed. I was told I could use a pint glass and my bare hand, but that did not work.
So I put some Cling Wrap over it, but that didn't work either.
I needed a glass container with a lid. I didn't think I had one but then I remembered all the pickles in the fridge. I consolidated some Clausen's and tried once more.
I shook and I shook (for about forty seconds) and just when I was about to give up, MAGIC.
There it was, the shell completely separate from the egg, and all in one piece.
What black magic was this?
I tried it again just to be sure and achieved pretty much identical results. My mind is officially blown.
Make a Strip of Mandarin Orange Segments
I usually prickle at articles with titles like "You've Been Wiping Your Butt Wrong Your Entire Life!" but my interest was piqued when a blog called "Jewel Pie" proclaimed I was peeling mandarin oranges like a chump. (Okay, those weren't her exact words, but others said as much.)
How could I possibly be messing this up? Mandarin oranges are the easiest oranges to peel. That's why kids love Cuties.
It turns out, my failure lay in not unraveling my citrus fruit into a single strip of beautiful segments. No one had told me that was the goal, but that's no excuse in the eyes of Pinterest.
The method is simple, but requires a knife, so perhaps it's not for the Cuties-specific demographic.
To begin, cut off a little bit of each end to the fruit.
Then, make a thin slit down the side of the orange, taking care to not cut past the peel.
Carefully unroll the peel, and voila.
I mean, I guess it looks kind of cool, but I don't really see how this method is vastly superior to the traditional peeling-with-your-hands method.
Peel Kiwis with a Spoon
When I first moved to Los Angeles from a small town in Mississippi, I was impressed by all the new foods that had been previously unavailable to me, especially the fruits. (Okay, I was most impressed by elote, but that doesn't fit this specific narrative.)
Kiwi was a particular favorite, though I disliked having to ask my mother to peel them for me. If I had only known this trick (via Steamy Kitchen), I could have done it myself! There's a bit of knife use, but only a bit, nothing a plucky seven-year-old couldn't handle.
Like the mandarin orange technique, this one begins with cutting off the very ends of the fruit.
Then insert an ordinary dinner spoon in between the flesh and the skin. Work the spoon around until the kiwi is freed from it's fuzzy shell.
Peel Mangoes with a Pint Glass
It pains me to admit this, but Buzzfeed is one hundred percent correct about the fact that I have been "peeling mangoes wrong my whole life." Because I have. (I don't peel a ton of mangoes, because my lips break out into tiny hives if they are touched by the skin so eating one is very risky business, but it's still nice to know the "correct" way.)
This was my second favorite technique. (The egg thing is #1!) It's pretty impressive if you've never seen it before. Heck, it's kind of impressive if you have seen it before. All you have to do is cut the majority of the fruit away from the seed...
Then let the pint glass do it's thing!
Isn't that the coolest?
That's all I've got for now. If you would like to pin any of these yourself, just head over to my xoClaire board on Pinterest! But before you go, tell me: do you have any tips and tricks for peeling various produce? Did you know about that egg thing? Do you also have problems with mango skin?
Claire is talking about mangoes on Twitter.