If you’re trying to cut down on carbs, eat a healthier diet, or simply make eating vegetables more exciting, a spiralizer (Japanese Turning Slicer) is a must-have kitchen gadget. Read our best spiralizer round-up to find out the best machines for the job.
What is a spiralizer?
Spiralizers turn your five-a-day into improbably long noodles at the turn of a handle – like a julienne peeler that keeps on giving.
You can use a spiralizer to make attractive salads, slice radish for sushi, or most likely replace noodles and spaghetti with low-carb alternatives.
The most popular veg to get the spiralizer treatment is the courgette – which is transformed into “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). Leave the skin on for extra nutrients, or peel first for paler zoodles that look more like the real thing.
The long, pale ribbons can be served up raw or sautéd. Once covered in bolognaise sauce or dropped into a soup, they’re easily mistaken for pasta.
Other popular spiralized veg include beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. With the right spiralizer you can turn an entire cucumber into one long spiral that could probably reach to the end of the street – a great trick for getting children to eat more salad. You can also spiralize hard fruits such as apples.
Spiralizers are affordable, as kitchen gadgets go. The only real downside is that they take up cupboard or counter space. If you’re low on storage, look for a small one… If you get the spiralizing bug you can always invest in a big one later.
How do they work?
Most spiralizers put your vegetable on an axis and then you turn a handle to spin the veg and push it towards the cutting blade. The machine has a very sharp blade (fingertips be warned) and then, depending on what size spirals you require, a set of little sharp teeth just before the blade that cut the veg into strips.
Another thing to look for is what size strips the spiralizer cuts. Some basic ones can only cut small veggies into a single thickness of spirals, but the best spiralizers come with several options, from thin noodles to wide spiral strips.
Also most spiralizers leave a “chef’s bonus”: a long, thin core from the centre of the veg that doesn’t get cut. Much as it’s nice to nibble these as you cook, it’s worth looking for a machine that spiralizes as much of the veg as possible – with thin vegetables like carrots, a wide core going uncut feels like a waste.
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