An orange peeler is a kitchen tool which is designed to make peeling oranges very easy. This little gadget can be very handy for people with arthritic hands and nerve damage who have trouble peeling oranges and handling other fruits, and it can also be useful in a commercial kitchen, where physical contact with food is not, as a general rule, encouraged. Orange peelers are available at many kitchen supply stores, and if the thought of a single-use kitchen utensil bothers you, you can also improvise with a knife.
Generally, an orange peeler is curved, to fit the hand, and it includes a small spur which is designed to score the peel of the orange, along with a broad, flat blade which is used to pull segments of the peel off after they have been scored. If you have deft hands, you can also use the spur to pull off some of the white membrane of the orange, if you find this part of the orange not enjoyable.
While the orange peeler might seem like sort of a silly kitchen tool, it can be very useful. Some people, for example, dislike peeling oranges because they don't like the feeling of orange residue on their fingers after the peeling process is over, while others think that using tools to peel fruit is simply more hygienic. For people with clumsy fingers and nails which are too short to make the initial scores necessary to peel an orange, the orange peeler can become a necessity.
In addition to using an orange peeler to peel oranges, it is also possible to use a knife, preferably one which is not terribly sharp, because you will want to grip the blade for better control. When using a knife as an orange peel, the blade should be tightly held just above the tip, creating a small spur which can be used to start scoring the peel, and then the hand can be slid back along the blade to expose more of it, allowing you to wedge the blade under the scored sections to pry them off.
Because this kitchen tool is fairly simple and usually inexpensive, you don't need to put a great deal of thought into choosing one. If you buy an orange peeler with a finger loop, however, you may want to confirm that your finger can actually fit inside the loop, as otherwise it may be awkward to use. You may also want to avoid orange peelers which feel flimsy, as brittle, thin plastic can snap against a pithy orange.