Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thrifty Acres: My "New" Kitchen Toy

Hello! As someone who does a lot of food prep for meals, I'm always looking for ways to cut down on time in the kitchen, and this quest extends to dealing with fresh vegetables and fruits. Sure, I've got a food processor for dicing large amounts of carrots, celery and onions for big pots of soups, but that machine is too large to haul out for smaller prep tasks. 

I'd looked into buying a mandoline, a tool that's supposed to speedily slice, dice and julienne produce. I got confused reading over the many online options. Some looked cheap, some looked rather bulky, and some looked kind of scary. You don't mess around with a mandoline; the blades are very sharp. So I left the Internet and stuck with my paring knife. 

But then a couple of months ago I encountered this at a thrift store:

The Borner V-Slicer Plus, made in Germany. I took it out of the box and looked it over; the set seemed complete and looked unused. It was priced at $4.99, so I didn't have much to lose. The original price tag of $49.99 was still on the box. 

I was a little intimidated by my purchase at first - as I'd said, mandolines aren't to be messed with, and I had to familiarize myself with the directions and the various parts. But finally I made up my mind to practice with the darn thing and see how it went. 

And here's how it went:

The beginnings of a lunchtime salad. 

The V-Slicer Plus made quick work of radishes, red onions, cucumber and green pepper. It's far quicker than I am with my paring knife! And I love the uniformity of the slices too. Even if I felt liking laboring over a radish, I doubt I could cut such even, thin slices by hand.

Above, here's what the tool looks like - shown is the thin slice side of the slicing insert. If I'd flipped it over, I'd get thick slices. Not shown is the safety guard, which is used to hold the produce in place while using the V-Slicer Plus. Thus, one's hands stay free of those very sharp slicing blades.

There's also inserts for two julienne cuts, thick or thin. These are handy for stir fries. 

The instruction manual gives directions for dicing or chopping. Both tasks involve making cuts into the produce after placing it into the safety guard, then using one of the julienne inserts. I haven't done these tasks enough on the V-Slicer Plus to master them to my satisfaction, but that'll come with practice. 

Clean-up is easy - just a quick rinse in the sink, or a quick dunk in soapy water, then a rinse. 

Storage is easy too, as the whole thing stores in its own case:

It doesn't take up much room on my counter, as the unit measures about 15" x 5"w x 4"d. 

There appears to be newer versions of the V-Slicer Plus over at Amazon (perhaps mine had been stuck in someone's closet or cupboard for years). For one thing, the company is now called Swissmar Borner. S-B has several mandoline models for sale, but this one  seems to be closest to my model. 

In general, the Swissmar Borner mandolines have very good ratings over at Amazon, and I am satisfied with my mine as well. 

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