HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Do you peel towards or away?

CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 11:55 AM

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Becca Porter RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 12:03 PM

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

    1. monavano RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 12:06 PM

      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. inaplasticcup RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 12:09 PM

        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. BananaBirkLarsen RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 12:21 PM

          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. chefathome RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 02:18 PM

            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. o
              odkaty RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 02:28 PM

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

              3 Replies
              1. re: odkaty
                mnosyne RE: odkaty Sep 12, 2011 05:00 PM

                Me too!

                1. re: mnosyne
                  mnosyne RE: mnosyne Sep 14, 2011 11:39 AM

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

                2. re: odkaty
                  petek RE: odkaty Sep 13, 2011 06:40 PM

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

                  +1 ^ this.

                3. Quine RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 02:32 PM

                  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. c
                    calliope_nh RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 02:50 PM

                    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. bushwickgirl RE: CanadaGirl Sep 12, 2011 05:52 PM

                      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
                        MazDee RE: bushwickgirl Sep 13, 2011 05:16 PM

                        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. re: bushwickgirl
                          jvanderh RE: bushwickgirl Sep 14, 2011 06:22 AM


                        2. susans RE: CanadaGirl Sep 13, 2011 12:45 AM

                          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
                            shallots RE: susans Sep 13, 2011 05:34 AM

                            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. meatn3 RE: CanadaGirl Sep 13, 2011 06:18 PM

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

                            1. Chemicalkinetics RE: CanadaGirl Sep 13, 2011 06:25 PM

                              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. r
                                racer x RE: CanadaGirl Sep 13, 2011 09:24 PM

                                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. Hank Hanover RE: CanadaGirl Sep 14, 2011 12:14 AM

                                  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. re: Hank Hanover
                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: Hank Hanover Sep 14, 2011 11:42 AM

                                    Like this?


                                  2. scubadoo97 RE: CanadaGirl Sep 14, 2011 06:26 AM

                                    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. u
                                      uman RE: CanadaGirl Sep 14, 2011 08:55 AM

                                      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...

                                      Show Hidden Posts