Imagine the scene. You’ve got a whole family of mouths to feed and a big sack of potatoes. All you have to do is peel the skin.
But horror of horror, your peeler doesn’t work. It’s blunt. And no matter how hard you try, that skin isn’t coming off!
So to avoid all that, let’s learn how to sharpen your peeler and see what to do with any other spuds that may be left over.
How to sharpen your potato peeler
If the aforementioned horror has happened, and your peeler is blunt, there are two main options.
1. Flip it over
As long as you haven’t been using both sides of the peeler, then this is the option for you. First remove the blade and find the blunt side, then simply flip the blade round, place back in the peeler and use the sharper edge.
2. Sharpen the blade
For an even simpler answer to blunt peelers, get a cheap pairing knife and run it across the top blade of the peeler; in both direction on both sides. The metal on metal action will have you peeling potatoes quickly in no time.
How to peel a potato without a peeler
What if you can’t find a peeler or you have broken yours? Well then there is another way to peel potatoes without any tools at all.
First, make a small incision around the circumference of the centre of the potato, then boil it till cooked right through. Remove the spud and place in ice water. Leave for 5 to 10 seconds.
Remove the potato from the ice water and with both hands, twist the skin ever so slightly then pull it. The skin will come off with ease.
How to peel without your hands
Some people have problems with dexterity and find peeling spuds a difficult task. But thankfully, there is help at hand.
If you have one potato left after peeling and cooking, then you may want to take a look at this trick. Because believe it or not, a potato can power a small clock.
You’ll need two potatoes, with a galvanized nail inserted into each one. Then put a short piece of copper wire into each potato, as far away from the nail as possible.
With an alligator clip, connect the positive terminal of the battery compartment to the copper wire in potato one. Then connect the negative terminal to the nail in potato two. To finish the circuit get a third alligator clip and connect the nail in potato one, to the copper wire in potato two.
As if by magic, you’ll have a functioning clock, powered only by a potato.
Whether you’ve peeled your potatoes, with a nice sharp blade, a little water based trick or a clever gadget, you are ready to cook. But just keep an eye on your potato clock to make sure they don’t burn!
These days there is a gadget for everything, but some are more useful than others. The laptop desk that attaches to your steering wheel is a certainly rather stupid idea, and the less said about the iPotty the better.
But there are plenty of gadgets that make life easier, and in the cold winter months that’s just what we want.
So to make the festive season go smoothly this year, here are our top winter gadgets. Enjoy!
Say no to chesty coughs this winter
In the months that end with ‘R’ the air is moist due to low temperatures. This can cause damp, which in turn can cause mould spores and dust mites, both are bad news for your health.
With a dehumidifier however that risk is diminished. It works by collecting moisture either via a fan, electric current on crystal and turning it into water. Simply dispose of the water, and job done.
Fire the fast way
Chopping wood is always a hard task, but especially in the depths of winter. No one wants to stand in the cold swinging a rather dangerous axe around! That is where a log splitter comes in handy.
Simply put, log splitters make better fires. This is because wood that has been split into smaller pieces burns better. The oxygen needed to keep a fire going has more access to the wood as there is a larger surface area, and this in turn means a brighter, warmer fire.
Instead of a sharp point being swung at speed, a hydraulic or foot operated log splitter works with a splitting wedge, meaning you don’t have to strain your back and you can split more wood than you could by hand.
Impromptu roast dinner anyone?
With winter bills rising, we’re all looking for ways to save money, and a halogen oven will slash bills. Based on a 1300w 12 litre halogen oven cooking a chicken in 40 minutes, you’ll only have to spend 9p on electricity!
You may be wondering how a chicken can cook in 40 minutes? Well, because of hi tech halogen bulb technology and a fan to ensure all of the bowl gets heat, a halogen oven is able to cook tasty food fast.
How do you like your spuds in the morning?
Stews, roast dinners and soups are the epitome of winter warming food – and potatoes are often an important part of the meal.
When shivering and in need of a winter warmer, like the traditional Welsh dish of cawl, peeling potatoes can be a time consuming task. And for those with joint problems, it can be painful too.
But an automatic potato peeler uses a rotating blade to quickly take the skin off your spuds. Meaning those with poor dexterity needn’t be in pain, those that get cold hands needn’t get numb fingers and those who have a huge Christmas dinner to make, can get on basting the turkey!
For hands that don’t ache, a fire that burns well and fully functioning lungs our gadgets will see you right. And if you do want to research halogen oven recipes online, avoid the steering wheel lap desk, the M1 is for driving after all.
The colder months are upon us which means a change in the menu. It’s out with the salads and in with stews, roasts and shepherd’s pie. But while the thought of winter stodge might get your stomach rumbling, peeling all those potatoes can prove time consuming.
So let’s see if we can make light work of scraping the spuds. Here’s our guide to peelers – which potato peeler is the best?
Also known as the Lancashire peeler, this type of peeler, resembles a knife but is much safer because the sharp edge is hidden behind a guard. The French version, the ‘économe’, has two sharp edges, one that peels the skin, and one that’s angled to regulate depth.
Swiss designed swivel peelers have a fixed handle with a moveable blade. This enables the peeler blade to follow the surface of the vegetable or fruit.
Swivel and fixed blade peelers are great for carrots and parsnips, but for potatoes they can be time consuming as they don’t cover a huge area.
Funky kitchen gadgets are becoming more and more popular, and the crank operated peeler is no exception.
The user turns the crank, and the fruit or vegetable, which is held in a vice, is pushed along a blade and the skin is peeled.
As they are designed primarily for apples, this type of peeler may not work so well on potatoes. But there is no doubting the funkiness of the device. Unfortunately it can only peel one spud at a time, and let’s face it, who wants to wait longer than necessary to tuck into that bowl of warming stew?
Bio: Since the 1950s, this witty no-nonsense spud has been pulling more shapes than a disco dancing packet of crisps. His role in the Toy Story trilogy turned him into a Hollywood star, but this hasn’t changed him. He still loves Mrs Potato Head and is prone to throwing body parts when annoyed.
Bio: Whether she is keeping her husband in check or looking for her lost eye, she has the same short temper as Mr Potato Head. Not quite as old as her hubby, she is perhaps the most well known female potato in the world. And like her husband, has Toy Story to thank for her Hollywood fame.
Bio: Spud is one of those lovable idiots. With a thick Scottish accent and a rather odd interview technique, this tattie spends his Edinburgh days wasting his life away. Often seen with pals, Renton, Begbie and Sick Boy when not being detained at her majesty’s pleasure.
Bio: The talented and instantly recognisable mime potato/robot of classic TV show, Catchphrase. He may have been the sidekick to Roy Walker (and more recently Stephen Mulhern), but Mr. Chips always steals the show with his animated antics. Remember “Say what you see, if you see it, say it!”
Bio: Not actually a spud, but they make the list for their infamous, and slightly unhealthy love of mash potato. Badger, was a notorious troublemaker, often seen hurling balls of mash at his human co-stars, much to the joy of children of the 90s who see them as cult heroes.
Can you think of famous potatoes or spud based characters we may have neglected?
With some kitchen gadgets it’s a case of, once you have ‘em, you simply can’t live without ‘em.
We’ve rounded up our all time top 5 kitchen gadgets that are a must-have for any modern kitchen.
1.) The toaster. What, after all, would we do without toasted bread? It just goes with everything – whack some jam on it, or baked beans, or Marmite, or just simply spread some butter on and enjoy.
2.) The Kettle. Hot water in seconds, brilliant. The world’s economy would grind to a halt if tea and coffee took more than minutes to make. Thank you kettles for keeping our bellies warm and our minds alert.
3.) The automatic potato peeler. Cooking is fun. Peeling potatoes isn’t. Why spend hours doing the tedious bit when you can bung all your potatoes in the automatic potato peeler, flip a switch and watch in wonder as the skins disappear? You’ll find one of these in every professional kitchen, so why not have one in yours – it’s something you’ll never regret.
4.) The mincer. It’s great- you buy your own beef, making sure you get a really good cut, put it through the meat mincer and you’ve got excellent quality mincemeat – just like that. It’s so much better than the stuff you buy in the supermarket – or even from your local butcher. Trust me, once you’ve tried it you’ll be hooked.
5.) The bread maker. If you could bottle the smell of freshly baked bread then you’d be a millionaire, but in the meantime there’s simply no substitute for the real thing. A bread maker is therefore the ideal gadget. Just stick in your ingredients, hit a switch to say exactly what type of bread you would like and… voila! Freshly baked bread on demand.