The Reason It Isn't Worth Sharpening Your Vegetable Peeler

Keeping your kitchen equipment in tip-top shape is an underrated part of developing your cooking skills. Having clean, well-maintained utensils and culinary tools allows these items to work to their full potential and lets you focus on properly executing your favorite recipes or trying out new ones. But when it comes to your vegetable peeler (a vital accessory when taking advantage of our list of the best ways to cut produce), experienced chefs know you're better off not wasting your energy trying to keep it sharp.

To put it simply, it's just generally not a good use of your time. That's not to say a sharp peeler isn't important. In fact, it's essential; dull peelers are more difficult to operate, raising the risk of injury and making it harder to peel precise amounts without taking off too much. 

But sharpening most vegetable peelers can be a tricky process, because of how closely the blades are typically set together. Those attempting the process need to use a metal file to hone down the blade at precisely the right angle. If you can't get this exactly correct, restoring the peeler's sharpness becomes next to impossible.

Veggie peelers are affordable and worth replacing

Fortunately, there's no need to stress over this. Even the most popular and best-reviewed vegetable peelers usually sell for less than $20, with many quality options under $10. For most people, that makes it a far better use of their time and money to simply replace the peeler when it dulls. This practice is followed by everyday cooks and famous chefs alike, including Ina Garten, who told Food & Wine she replaces peelers and similarly difficult-to-sharpen zesters every year.

If you don't use your vegetable peeler as much as Garten, a few sure signs it's time to replace it include struggling to get the skin off of your vegetables, the blade routinely catching as you use it, or the appearance of rust or visible damage to the blade. Alternatively, cooks can also purchase a self-sharpening peeler; some models are designed to sharpen the blade every time it's covered after use. Regardless of what type of vegetable peeler you buy, you can help maintain its sharpness a bit longer by hand-washing the utensil and avoiding the dishwasher, even if it's labeled dishwasher-safe.

Replacing your old, dull peeler with a new, sharp one may have you feeling like you've been using your vegetable peeler incorrectly this entire time. So, go ahead, busy home cooks: Throw out last year's peelers. In almost all cases, you're better off with a shiny alternative to use for your favorite veggie-packed recipes instead.