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What is an Orange Peeler?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By truman12 — On Jun 16, 2012
If you are going to be peeling just one or two oranges you might not need an orange peeler, but try peeling a hundred in a row and you will be very glad for it.

I used to work in the kitchen of a very fancy country club and we offered fresh squeezed orange juice at the Sunday brunch. We had to peel upwards of a hundred oranges before every service and the task always fell to me. It was a bad job no matter how you looked at it but it would have taken two or three times longer if I had not been using an orange peeler.

By chivebasil — On Jun 16, 2012
I have a combination orange peeler and orange zester. I rarely use the peeler side but the zester comes in handy for all kinds of things. Using the zest, or the outermost layer of the skin of citrus fruits is a great way to give a bright but subtle citrus flavor to just about any dish.
By gravois — On Jun 15, 2012

My dad has very bad rheumatoid arthritis and he has difficulty doing things with his hands. But he loves to eat oranges and starts off most of his days with a fresh orange. About a year ago his pain got so bad that he had to stop peeling them himself until I just happened to come across an orange peeler in a kitchen store.

It is a really simple, straight forward gadget and if you did not have pain there would probably be no reason to use one. But it works for him and in its own little way it has restored some of his dignity. He can do what he wants and eat what he likes without relying on other people. I know that sometimes he feels helpless, but in this he is still independent.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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