A julienne peeler is a hand-held kitchen utensil which cuts vegetables into thin, even strips, in a style known as a julienne cut. These julienne strips can be used to dress up dishes like salads and pasta, and they can also be included in stir fries and other cooked dishes. Their even size ensures that they cook evenly while remaining attractive, two important traits in professional food. Many kitchen supply stores sell julienne peelers, and they are also available through online retailers.
The construction of a julienne peeler resembles a potato peeler. A thin blade shaves off even sheets of the vegetable, while serrations cut the sheets into small strips. To use a julienne peeler properly, it must be dragged evenly across a vegetable, ensuring that the size of the sheet remains uniform. If the vegetable needs to be peeled beforehand, as might be the case with thick skinned foods like carrots, a separate tool will be needed for peeling.
Julienne strips are certainly not required in any dish, but they look stylish and they can be more convenient than unevenly sized pieces of vegetable material. In addition to a julienne peeler, cooks can also use devices like mandolines to create evenly sized strips of vegetables, but julienne peelers are faster to use and someone safer, since mandoline blades are notoriously sharp. Julienned vegetables can be used in sushi, as garnishes, in soups, or in stir fries; the imagination is really the only limit.
If you have ever wondered how chefs get those perfect curls of vegetables onto their salads, the julienne peeler is the answer. With some practice, you can learn to turn spirals in vegetables and to use other neat tricks to create spirals and curlicues in addition to straight strips of vegetables.
A good julienne peeler will have a solid handle which is easy to grip, making the peeler easy to use even after long hours in the kitchen. In addition, the blade should ideally have a safety feature such as a guard to ensure that the cook does not julienne his or her hands as well. Because of the small parts, it is generally better to wash and dry a julienne peeler by hand, rather than running it through a dishwasher. In addition to ensuring that all of the parts are cleaned, hand washing is also better for the longevity of the blade, as dishwashers can dull blades.