There are some household items you know you need to replace regularly: sponges, loofahs, toothbrushes, makeup, water filters, pillows. But there’s one common kitchen tool that, according to Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself, you may not realize you need to chuck on the reg.
“Vegetable peelers get rusty, they get dull, and they’re very cheap, so you can just throw them out and buy new ones,” Garten recently told Food & Wine. “Every once in a while I do that.” Garten recommends replacing your veggie peeler annually, along with your zester, according to Food & Wine.
The advice from the beloved chef and cosmopolitan enthusiast is a little unexpected, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Seriously: How much time, forearm strength, and frustration have you spent wrestling with a dull peeler, hacking away at a thick-skinned veggie? Mutilating a potato, cucumber, beet, eggplant, squash, or carrot—and your fingertips, quite possibly—with a blunt blade? Such a pain in the butt! And so unnecessary, as Garten points out. You can find quality versions of the kitchen staple for pretty cheap. And since you can’t sharpen peelers (or zesters) the way you do knives, getting rid of the old one and swapping in a shiny new peeler really is your best bet.
As for what peeler you ought to be using? Garten recommends the Kuhn Rikon Straight Peeler ($ 5, Williams Sonoma), which has earned a coveted spot on her exclusive equipment list. You can also buy it in a colorful three-pack ($ 13, Amazon), which makes it easy to keep a fresh backup on hand. (BTW, that’s Giada De Laurentiis’s pick too.)
For a zester, Garten likes the Cassandra’s Kitchen Zester/Rasp ($ 15, Cassandra’s Kitchen). SELF’s resident meal prepper in chief, Kenny Thapoung, is loyal to the JOFUYU Premium Stainless Steel Lemon Zester & Cheese Grater ($ 11, Amazon). Whatever tool you use, though, make your meal prep a little bit breezier and toss that jagged old peeler like last week’s smelly leftovers.