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Do you peel towards or away?

I have always used vegetable peelers away from me, but I've noticed most cooking show folks go towards themselves with them. I find towards awkward, but that's probably due to my years of going away.

Wondering which technique is actually more common.

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  1. I peel carrots away, and apples towards me. It seems the easiest way to me.

    1. Both. I truly do not believe there's a right or wrong way. I use a traditional peeler and have never gotten used to the "vertical" type which dictates you peel towards. A traditional "horizontal" peeler allows me to go both ways.

      1. Let's see... Potatoes and apples toward and/or around as if I were using a paring knife and carrots mostly away. But I always feel more in control of it when it's toward.

        1. Toward offers the greatest control, so I usually use it for more difficult things with thicker skins, such as apples. Away is fastest, so I use it for easy, thin-skinned vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

          1. For some odd reason I peel potatoes faster with a paring knife than a peeler but when I do use the peeler for carrots I do it away from me.

            1. Both. With a knife I peel toward me, away with a peeler.

              3 Replies
                1. re: mnosyne

                  When i got a Messermeister peeler and did "toward me" , I did myself grievous bodily harm!

                2. re: odkaty

                  "Both. With a knife I peel toward me, away with a peeler."

                  +1 ^ this.

                3. First reaction, away from me, Then read Becca' response and yeah! I do that, then I read IAPC response and yeah and that's exactly what I do. Round objects toward straight objects away.

                  1. Carrots and cukes away. Apples, with a paring knife toward. Butternut squash toward with what I think of as a squash peeler. The handle is Y shaped with a horizontal blade. Potatoes? I can't remember the last time I peeled one, but that would have been toward. Now I just cut out eyes & spots with a paring knife. Beets toward.

                    1. I do the same as everyone else here on any given day; towards or away from me, knife or peeler. Sometimes I don't peel at all, especially potatoes.

                      Tip: restaurant cooks and prep people often have to peel 50# bags of carrots and want to finish as rapidly as possible. I run my peeler up and down the carrot, while holding the top nub and resting the bottom tip of the carrot on the cutting board on an angle; rotate the carrot with your fingertips and wrist as you peel, and you'll be done in no time.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        One day when I was a prep cook, I was peeling carrots, away from me. The chef walked by and said "that thing goes both ways, you know." Hah! Of course he was right, and it's much faster. I still do that for thin skins like carrots, potatoes and cukes. Toward me for apples, eggplants.

                        1. I notice that when I peel away, the result is thinner than when I peel to me, but that may just be me. Given that, carrots and other thin-skinned stuff gets peeled away and potatoes, cukes, etc. are peeled towards me. Peeling towards me also is more controlled, so that's the technique I choose when more control is important.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: susans

                            Somebody laughed at me peeling carrots a month ago. She'd never seen a carrot peeled with combined backward and foreward action, as I turned the carrot.

                            She was surprised how fast I could work that way with no wasted motion.

                            She now peels carrots my way.

                            Try it, you might like it.

                          2. I'm a klutz so I've always figured "away" held less potential for bodily injury!

                            1. If we are talking about a straight peeler, then I peel away from me.
                              If we are talking about a Y-shape or T-shaped peeler, then I mostly peel toward me.
                              If we are talking about a paring knife, then I initially peeled away from me, but learned to peel toward me and have been peeling toward myself ever since.

                              1. I've never acquired the dexterity to confidently use a paring knife for peeling.
                                I nearly always use a peeler, and peel away from me (which usually equates to downward).
                                It's really pretty fast -- carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, squash, ginger, ...

                                But now that I've read this thread, I'll try back and forth next time with the longer vegetables.

                                1. I do it away from me, mostly for safety.

                                  I am no Chef Sakai from the original Japanese version of Iron Chef. That guy would take a razor sharp paring knife and peel it directly into his thumb fast as lightning and never, ever cut himself!

                                  I don't do it for the extra speed. What am I gonna do peel 3 carrots? ... maybe?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I like using the Y peeler and find I do carrots not towards or away but sideways on most occasions but if doing it over the trash it's definitely away

                                    1. toward.....Jacques Pepin once commented on his show that when he was an apprentice his chef would kick him in the butt if he peeled away...