Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Product Review: Paderno Spiral Slicer

Over the past few months, I've seen this Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer show up on many of the paleo blogs, in contests, and in my Pinterest feed.  I love kitchen gadgetry.  My desire to bring home new kitchen gadgetry is only limited by my teeny tiny kitchen and ability to store things.  I've been intrigued by this spiral slicer and wondered if it actually worked and possibly offer some new textures for vegetables in my everyday food rotation. 
Have you wondered as I did?
This past week,  I couldn't stand wondering anymore and I ordered one.  Have you wondered if this little machine works?  I put it through its paces this past weekend on vegetables I commonly use and it suggests using it on:  Zucchini, Beets, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Carrots.  
When I opened the package, here is what I saw.  

It's a pretty simple device.  The main body has 2 main pieces and then three blades to choose from.  From left to right the blades are:  Ribbon, Small Spiral (Spaghetti), and Large Spiral (Curly Fries).

The slicer can store two blades in the main body.  This is great for storage as you can store the third blade in the cutting position on the main body.  However, I would take the two blades you aren't using out of the storage area while you are using the machine if you don’t plan on using them because juices from the vegetables you process will drip down and will dirty them.  

The storage area for two of the blades.
When I got it out of the box, I set it up as it made sense to me as a left-handed person.  

The right way in my mind, but the wrong way for this slicer.
This is a right-handed machine. It's no wonder lefties live shorter lives.  Don’t get me started about the dull left-handed scissors I was made to use in kindergarten.  Once I turned the machine around, I made sure that the slicer was firmly planted on my counter top.  The feet of the slicer have suction cups.  They have nice little tabs to help you release the suction when you are need to move or are done slicing.  

To operate the slicer, you basically push on the lower handle with your left hand while turning the upper handle with your right.

I started with some zucchini.  I didn't go out of my way to find large specimens of any of the vegetable matter I purchased to test this machine out.  I bought what I typically find at the store.  

I put a zucchini onto the machine and started to turn the handle while pushing the lower slide/pusher handle along and here is what I had:  Noodles!  Be very careful when you put a vegetable on the slicer as the blades are very sharp!

As you slice, the the noodles and ribbons will fall and you'll see a small tube of vegetable coming through the blade.  

Here's an impressive zucchini ribbon.  I'll have to add a picture of zucchini cut with the large spiral blade as for some reason I didn't use it.  

As you cut through a vegetable like zucchini with the small spiral blade, you'll get some half moon shapes like this instead of noodles.  

This happens at any point where your vegetable isn't centered on the small metal circle on the slicing blade either by your placement or because the vegetable isn't straight and most vegetables aren't straight.  If this starts to happen, just stop and re-position the vegetable.  

There is very little waste when you are done slicing.  Here is what was left of a zucchini.  I collected these as I sliced and will do a little stir fry fry with them.  

Next, I tried some beets.  I loaded a beet onto the slicer and tried it out with all three blades. 

I'm not a huge Halloween person, but as I sliced the beets, I thought of several cool scary Halloween ideas to do with beet noodles.  

Here are the beet results.  From left to right:  large spiral, ribbon, and small spiral.  At the top of the picture is what was left of the beet used with each respective blade.

The ribbon blade didn't produce a ribbon of beet but rather chip like slices with a  thickness of about 1/8 of an inch.  I'm not certain if the ribbon didn't happen because of user error, slicer error, or beet error.  I ran out of beets, so I couldn't explore this further.  

When you're done slicing, you'll have beet mushrooms!

I rinsed off the slicer before moving on to radishes.  I cut the greens and root end off and loaded one onto the slicer.

I sliced some with each blade and here are the results.  From left to right:  large spiral, small spiral, and ribbon.  These would all be great new textures for salads or pickling perhaps.  

If you're into garnish, again, the left overs:  cute radish mushrooms.  

Next up, sweet potatoes.  From left to right:  small spiral, ribbon, and large spiral.  Again, the ribbon blade didn't produce a ribbon but slices suitable for chips instead.  What's a little shocking is that all of this came from one average sized sweet potato.  Just 1!

Sweet potato noodles.  Simply mesmerizing.  

With harder vegetables/sweet potatoes, make sure you've cut a wide enough base for the spikes on the pusher piece of the slicer to grab firm hold of the vegetable.  If you don't, the vegetable/potato will slip and the spikes will shred the it.  Pardon the fuzziness of this picture, but when I first loaded the sweet potato, while I had cut the end down, I had not done so enough.  

Next, I attempted carrots.  This is the only area where the slicer failed me or perhaps I failed the slicer.  Again, I used the vegetables that I routinely buy and didn't look for larger pieces.  The carrots I've bought lately, look like this:  

If the vegetable isn't larger than the metal circle mounting piece on the blade, it will not cut.  My carrots were not large enough, so they would not cut.

I measured the metal circle mounting piece on the blade and its just about 1/2 inch. 

I note that the picture on the box shows a gigantic carrot.  I've not seen one of those to buy lately.  

Gigantic carrots required and not included. 
And finally  I tested a cucumber.  Here are cucumber noodles cut with the small spiral blade.  

And cucumber ribbons.

Yes.  Ribbons.  What's neat about slicing the cucumber is that the seeds are cored by the slicer leaving sturdy ribbons or noodles for salads.  
Its a modern art chandelier of  cucumber!
For some reason, I didn't try the large spiral blade with cucumber.  I think its because I used too much of the one cucumber I had on ribbons.  I'll try it next time and add a picture.  

Cost:  I bought my slicer at Amazon for $22.49  For what the slicer can do, assuming it holds up over time, it's not an unreasonable price for a tool that can make my meals more interesting and bring back textures I've missed (noodles).  

Clean Up:  This is the only area I will fault this slicer.  It is not dishwasher safe.  Hand washing the slicer isn't difficult.  Just separate the slicer into its 2 main parts and then remove the slicing blade you used.  The 2 main parts are easy to wash/clean.  The blades have some small crevices that vegetable matter can get stuck in.  Be very careful when handling the blades, as they are very sharp.  
Disassembling for clean up.
You'll also want to have a narrow long implement like a chop stick to eject vegetable matter stuck in the circular metal bit on the blades.  
I needed the chop stick ejector for the harder vegetables:  Carrots, Sweet Potato and Beets
The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  This is a fun little device that can bring some new textures to the vegetables I cook everyday.   Its interesting to me how vegetables can taste different depending on how they are cut.

Here's a pan full of zucchini noodles.  How fun!  While it's hand wash, clean up doesn't take very long.  Assuming it holds up over time, I recommend this slicer.

Here are a few usage tips from my experience with the slicer so far: 
  • Make sure your counter top is dry so the suction cups will take firm hold and not slide across the counter as you slice.  
  • Remove the extra blades from the main body while slicing to avoid getting them dirty.  
  • Look for straight vegetables that have a diameter greater than a 1/2". 
  • Cut down enough of the vegetable to give a nice surface area for the spiked pusher to get a good hold on the vegetable.  
  • Have a chopstick or other narrow long tool ready to eject vegetable matter stuck in the circular metal "holder" on the blade.  
  • Slice Away!  Let your imagination run wild! 
Shameless request/plug:  If you're going to buy this slicer and read my review and hopefully found it helpful and/or you have enjoyed my recipe reviews, consider buying your slicer through one of my referral links.  

Why?  Any proceeds I get go back into the blog in the form of groceries and goodies.  I basically blog what I eat here using my personal grocery budget.  I'm not complaining as no one asked me to start a recipe blog, but anything earned through the blog helps me buy more interesting ingredients/products to test out - like this slicer.  For instance, one reader used one of my links to buy coconut oil recently and I was able to use the certificate I received for the referral towards part of the cost of a pretty roast which is currently defrosting for me to test out an awesome recipe this weekend.  No spoilers!