Published September 1, 2005.
An apple processor peels, cores, and slices. But can any model do all three tasks well?
The task of peeling 5 pounds of apples—let alone coring and cutting them into 1/4-inch slices—is daunting. And if there was ever a place for an apple-processing gadget (most of which are designed to handle all three tasks), our Deep-Dish Apple Pie was it. So we rounded up six models—and a bushel of apples—and headed into the test kitchen.
One by one, the peelers faltered, as testers found most to be more trouble than they were worth. The clamp-style models—too narrow for all but one of our countertops—lost out to those with a suction base, which also had the benefit of keeping the mess at the center (rather than the edge) of the work area. Once we'd managed to stabilize the models, performance of core tasks was hit-or-miss. When peeling, the gadgets either skimmed the apple's surface or removed the peel along with a deep gouge of flesh. Slicing and coring proved even rougher—literally: Crisp apples had a tendency to crack or break, while mushy apples were processed to, well, mush.
One model, however, surprised testers by peeling, coring, and slicing every apple we could throw at it. Sleek and efficient, this model seemed like it would rival even the handiest test cook. But there was only one way to find out. We pitted the test kitchen's best peeler (armed with a peeler, knife, and cutting board) against a test cook wielding our favorite peeling machine. The knife-brandishing test cook finished five pounds of apples in just 12 minutes. Not too shabby. The mechanized gadget? Just under four minutes.
Naysayers suspected wastefulness, but the two finished piles of apples weighed in within a few ounces of each other. We're sold.