The julienne method of cutting food creates uniform strips. Sometimes called “shoestrings” or “allumette”, many people use this method with potatoes to create french fries. The dimensions for properly julienning are precise: 3 mm wide, 3 mm deep, and 3 to 5 cm long. For the basic home chef, a julienne peeler is a quick and easy way to make julienne. Cooks most commonly use julienne for vegetables, though chefs can use it on meat. Once julienned, cooks can dice the strips of food to create small uniform squares.
Why Julienne peelers?
Some recipes require julienne foods. When frying or baking vegetables, the uniformity of julienne ensures that each piece cooks to the same desired consistency. You can use julienne slicers to create noodles from vegetables, such as zucchini noodles. Julienne is also prominent in stir-fry recipes.
Types of Julienne Peelers
While the hand-held julienne peeler is the most recognisable style, it is not the only type of julienne peeler. Mandoline slicers offer an alternative to creating julienne. The downside is that they have a higher risk of injury if used without proper safety gear, and they take up more space in the cupboard than a hand-held julienne peeler.
The blade on a julienne peeler is the same across the board. One side of the blade is flat to cut across the surface of the food, creating the initial thin layer. The other side of the blade features spaced teeth, which cut the thin layer into strips. The handle is usually positioned vertically below the blade, though some have the handle off to the side, much like a classic vegetable peeler. Examples of hand-held julienne peelers include theOXO and Kuhn Rikon julienne peelers.
A mandoline slicer may be the more efficient kitchen tool overall, as it often comes with multiple blade types and is adjustable. The Benriner Japanese mandoline slicer includes four different blades, with three sizes of serrated blade to create julienne. Other types, such as the Kuhn Rikon julienne mandoline, only have one style julienne blade, which is not removable or adjustable.
Using a Julienne Peeler
Prep the vegetables before using the julienne peeler. Use a regular peeler to remove the skin from vegetables if desired, and trim the edges to create uniform slides. Save the excess trimmings, if possible; the edges and unused pieces of food can go into soups, stews, or stocks. You do not need to cook vegetables before julienning.
Julienning with a Hand-held Peeler
Once you finish the prep, secure the vegetable either in hand or on a flat, non-skid surface. Place the flat side of the julienne blade against the vegetable, with the toothed end on top. Apply pressure and pull the blade from top to bottom of the food to create precise matchsticks. It may take a few tries to get the right amount of pressure. Different foods require more or less pressure depending on the firmness.
Julienning with a Mandoline Slicer
Never use a mandoline without the hand guard; while cut-resistant gloves provide protection, they are not a mainstay in most kitchens. Carefully slide the vegetable down the slope of the mandoline toward the blade.
Caring for a Julienne Peeler
If the hand-held julienne peeler comes with a blade cover, use it. Store the peeler in a safe space well out of reach of children or pets.