A spiral slicer (aka “spiralizer”) is a kitchen device used to make decorative slices of vegetables. They can also be used to make long strips of “vegetable spaghetti”, and coleslaw.
They are relatively labour intensive to use. Some people who have purchased them don’t use them much, either because they got discouraged with the technique, or found that they didn’t need or have the time to make the decorative garnishes very often.
You need to use fresh vegetables, not canned, frozen or dried. The vegetables have to be firmer ones such as zucchini (aka courgettes), potatoes, cucumbers, summer squashes, onion, beets, radish, etc.
There are both hand-held spiralizers and mounted ones.
Hand-held ones are inexpensive, and take less storage space. They are, however, slower to operate.
Mounted ones are mounted on a platform of some sort, and have a crank handle. The vegetable gets attached to the handle. You turn the handle, pressing the vegetable against a blade, which does the slicing of the vegetable into spirals. You press constantly while turning.
Some are configured for operation vertically, others horizontally.
Some models will have the spirals fall down into a container below the mounting platform. Others will have the spirals fall off the side of the platform into a bowl or plate you have placed there to catch them.
Various blade choices allow various types of slicing to be done, including thick or thin.
On most models, you can take the blades out of their plastic layer holders and sharpen them.
Spiral slicer blades. © CooksInfo / 2016All models appear to be dishwasher safe.
There are also electric spiral slicers. They are either dedicated units, or, come in the form of add-on accessories that you attach to stand mixers such as those made by KitchenAid®.
Most people require a learning curve to get the hang of how to operate a spiral slicer.
The item going in needs to be at least 2 to 3 cm (1 inch ) wide. Cut veg such as carrots and zucchini into 10 cm (4 inch) lengths first.
All cuts that you make in your prep need to be straight, not slanted.
Very thin pieces of vegetable can be laid on their side and fastened on the centre pin, and turned to make short strands (you won’t get long strands.)
You use one hand to hold the entire device stable. Use the other hand to turn the handle with the palm of your hand while pressing down. Pressure needs to be constant and consistent to produce strands, as opposed to shreds.
There will always be a small bit of your vegetable left when you are done. Put in a container in the fridge for use as a salad topping or in soup, or just eat out of hand.
- Zucchini and cucumbers must be straight ones, not curved ones;
- Older zucchini and summer squashes have more seeds in them that might interfere with the operations;
- Seedless cucumbers are better than regular ones. For carrots, use the wide ends, not the narrow tips.