The Ultimate Tools for Fruit Prep

We have the gadgets you need to make the most of your seasonal produce.

Spring is already in full swing and the start of summer is fast approaching. With the warm weather comes an abundance of peak-season fruits. In this week’s buying guide, we’re shining a spotlight on the gadgets that help you make the most of your seasonal produce. A corkscrew-style pineapple slicer, a compact cherry pitter, and a sharp rasp-style grater—these gadgets are favorites in the test kitchen all year long, but the summer is when they really stand out. Whether you like your fruit wrapped up in a free-form tart, blended into a smoothie, or on top of chia seed pudding, we have the tools you need.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

This sturdy, well-designed mini colander is just the right size and shape for rinsing small amounts of food such as fresh produce or canned beans. It expands easily to a 3-inch height and collapses to a compact 1-inch-tall oval for easy storage. The snap-on base covers the drainage holes, so it can be filled with water for deeper cleaning or act as a drip-free serving bowl. We like the oval shape; it’s easy to direct the clean produce or beans into a storage container or bowl. It’s also easily cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher. Finally, though we don’t recommend using it to drain large amounts of cooked vegetables or pasta, the silicone is heat-resistant and it can be used in a pinch for small batches.

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This thin, lightweight plastic model was easy to hold and lift but was also stable on the counter thanks to its grippy rubber sides. It’s dishwasher-safe, and while it got a bit scratched by the end of testing, it was otherwise intact, resisting warping, cracking, or staining and retaining no odors. Testers liked cutting on its textured plastic surface and appreciated that one of its sides had a small trench for collecting juices from roasts or wet foods.

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The blade on this paring knife is identical to that of our original winner; it’s just as sharp, thin, and nimble as ever, and it’s capable of making ultraprecise slices and incisions. Its plastic handle is easy to grip and accommodates large and small hands easily. In addition, the handle doesn’t add too much weight to the knife overall, allowing for agile, effortless use.

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This no-frills Super Benriner model is a cult favorite among restaurant cooks and home cooks alike, and for good reason: Its razor-sharp blades can handle even the toughest produce, and it can be set in a seemingly infinite range of thicknesses, effortlessly churning out paper-thin or chunky slices and julienne. (There are no fixed thickness settings, but most testers saw this as a positive trait, since it allowed them to customize the thickness so broadly.) It’s big enough to handle larger produce but still relatively compact for easy storage. And though it has only a simple rubber bumper, it rarely budges, thanks again to its sharp blade, which requires so little effort to slice food that the mandoline never fights back. Its simple plank shape allows you to use it vertically or to hook it over a bowl. Just don’t expect much from its hand guard, which is pretty much useless.

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This Microplane grabbed the top spot thanks to its great performance and its soft, grippy rubber handle that was slightly more comfortable and secure than that of our old winner. Otherwise, their grating surfaces are identical, so they both shredded cheese, zested lemons, and grated nutmeg, garlic, and ginger with ease. The Premium Classic came sharp, stayed sharp, and looked as good as new after testing. We do wish it had a wider surface so it didn’t form a trench in our cheese while grating, but it’s still the best option out there.

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Distinct from citrus presses that use small holes, this model features a star-like arrangement of large draining slots, which direct the juice in a steady stream with no splattering or overflowing. Its large, rounded handles were easy to squeeze for testers of all sizes, which helped this press quickly extract far more juice than any other model. Its roomy bowl could also accommodate up to medium-size oranges (but not large ones).

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At first, we had a terrible time balancing the mango for the initial cut, but once we trimmed the bottom flat, the splitter plunged through the fruit easily and cleanly. Try as we might, we couldn't round up a mango too small or large, and the mango splitter never left extra fruit on the pit by overestimating the pit's size. This mango gadget really works.

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With a compact design resembling a stapler, this pitter was efficient and mess-free. Pitting four cherries at a time, it punches the stones out of the flesh, leaving the fruit neatly intact. It boasts a reversible tray to accommodate large or small cherries and locks closed for convenient storage.

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The best of the single pitters, this model resembled a plastic toy gun: Just pull the trigger to plunge the straight, moderately thick dowel into the cherry pit. It was easy to insert, stabilize, and remove the cherries, and while this pitter wasn’t quite as neat, quick, or accurate as our winner, many testers preferred its more compact profile and simpler operation.

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This new blender from Breville improves upon its predecessor in a few key ways. It’s more powerful, so it can get smoothies and almond butter even smoother, and it has a dedicated “green smoothie” button that completely blends fibrous ingredients into a silky smooth drink. It’s reasonably quiet and reasonably compact, and combined its ingredients efficiently with minimal pauses to scrape down the sides. Like the previous model, it still automatically stops every 60 seconds, which can be a little annoying during longer blends, but this wasn’t that big of an issue. Its timer makes tracking recipe stages very easy.

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