Need to peel a large bag of potatoes? Bring it on!

By Maki Yazawa
May 10, 2021
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During my first job in a kitchen, I worked endless hours peeling potatoes and carrots. The task, though seemingly simple and easy, required more attention and precision than I initially expected. Worried that I would accidentally shave off the top of my finger with the wrong slice, my potato-peeling speed wasn't as fast as it should've been, admittedly. 

When it comes to making dishes that require a large number of peeled potatoes (or any other vegetable or fruit), the job often requires an unnecessary amount of patience and effort to create the final result. However, according to a recent TikTok video, this mundane kitchen task shouldn't be as difficult, and more importantly, not as dangerous as it often becomes. 

TikTok user @thatdudecancook explains that peeling potatoes for dishes like scalloped potatoes or French fries can be done more efficiently and safely using a simple household item—a fork! The user shows that by simply stabbing the top end of the potato with a fork you can more easily grip the spud for peeling. 

The Test

To test out whether or not this seemingly easy hack could remedy my potato-peeling woes, I peeled a large bag of potatoes two different ways. The first, more traditional method involved peeling the potato as you usually would: grip the potato with one hand while peeling with the other. Then came the TikTok method, where I used a fork for added stability; meanwhile, I peeled the potato with my other hand. 

Using a Y-peeler for both methods and similarly sized potatoes, I timed peeling potatoes for one minute using the different techniques and noted the results. (Very scientific, I know.)

The Results 

When peeling potatoes the traditional way, I found that I could peel approximately five potatoes in one minute. Concerned about accidentally missing the spud's surfacing and landing on my exposed fingertips instead, I found that I wasn't able to work as quickly as I would have liked. I was more focused on the accuracy of my cuts than on my speed. Unfortunately, peeling a large bag of this starchy veggie for a family-sized portion of mashed potatoes would likely take an exceptionally long amount of time and patience. 

Putting the TikTok hack into action, I stuck a metal fork in one of the potato's pointed ends of the potato. Using my Y-peeler, I used short, swift motions to peel the potato quickly and efficiently. I started at the fork's base and worked my way to the other end of the potato, covering more ground with each stroke. I found that I wasn't as worried about where the peeler landed, and I could peel much faster than I normally would. In one minute, I was able to peel eight potatoes, which is almost 1.6 times as many potatoes as the previous method. 

Though the TikTok method was faster and more efficient, I did find that my cuts were not as precise. I discovered that in my scraps, I had bits of potato flesh mixed in with the peels. To counteract my unnecessary food waste, I made sure to compost my excess trash. Though the hack isn't as concerned with precision, I felt comforted knowing that my fingers were out of harm's way and found that I worked faster on the task when using the fork for stability. 

Additional Time-Saving Hack

While working at a restaurant, I discovered yet another potato peeling hack to save time and a messy kitchen. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface and peel your potatoes above it. Once you're done with the task, you can easily pick up the scraps using the parchment paper to transfer to your compost bin. If the potato peel pile becomes too large, reuse the parchment paper to transfer the leftovers between batches as you go.