There are many vegetables and fruits that require peeling or not depending on their use. They include cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, apples, and pears, to name the obvious. To peel them, rinse first in cold water and dry with a clean cloth or paper toweling. Then layout a length of waxed paper, or newspaper if you want to be economical, to catch the peelings. Use a swivel-bladed peeler, going from top to bottom of the vegetable while turning it. The stem and root ends of vegetables may be trimmed away with a small paring knife.
Potatoes when they are peeled are apt to change color as soon as exposed to the air. Thus, if the potatoes are to be peeled in advance of cooking, it is best to let them stand in cold water until ready to use. Apples and pears, too, change color quickly when exposed to the air and should be peeled at the last minute. If they must be peeled in advance, toss them lightly with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Tomatoes and peaches are handled similarly; the preferred method of peeling is to drop them into boiling water for exactly twelve seconds. Drain them immediately—but with care so as not to bruise them—in the sink or in a colander. You will now find that with the aid of a small paring knife the skin pulls away easily.
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