HCG-slices
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You don’t need to be a fancy chef to want to cut, dice and waffle-cut vegetables and fruits into uniform and even slices.  Besides the fact that uniform ingredients make a more attractive appearance, when used as ingredients in cooking, uneven cuts results in uneven cooking.

If you want to be able to julienne, dice, slice and waffle-cut produce faster and with more precision, it’s time to look into mandolines.  What should you look into when considering a mandoline?

Safety – Many people are afraid to use mandolines because of the sharp blades and how close your fingers can get to the blade while cutting.  One slip and – well – you get the idea.  You want the mandoline to be both safe and efficient.  Different models use different methods to keep your fingers safe.  However the most common safety method employed is to hold the food with a hand guard (or paddle) and push it along the surface to the blade.  Swapping out blades sometimes felt more dangerous than working the slicer because of the force required to remove the blade.  If the blade platform is small or unsteady when you remove the blade it can easily slip. Some models use a handle to switch from a blade for simple slicing to a blade with spikes for julienne slices, but these didn’t get great reviews.

Easy to set up and use –Too hard to set up and it will stay stored away with the other small kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets that you probably forgot you even owned.  You don’t want too many working parts so that each time you take it out you have to find the owner’s manual just to put it together.

Easy to clean – You don’t want to spend more time cleaning the piece of equipment than it took you to cook or cut the slices in the first place – so easy cleaning is important.  Being able to put the platform into the dishwasher for cleaning is a convenient feature.

Easy to store – Some models store extra blades under the body.  Some mandolines fold up vertically which makes it easy to store.

Cost – Unless you’re a professional chef, most likely you want a reasonable priced mandoline that comes equipped with the most important features.

Features – Before purchasing a mandoline think about your uses.  Do you want to cut soft fruits and vegetables? Do you need a mandolin that will make multiple cuts (julienne, crinkle cut, diamond edges?)  Are you more concerned about function or safety?  Is cost your determining factor or do you want a mandolin that can easily fit on your countertop?  Once you understand your needs you can make an informed decision on the mandoline that best meets your personal requirements.

Finally, there’s its unique perk: a caddy that stands vertically, which limits the mandoline’s footprint to inches. That setup is a boon to cleanup and safety, too. After washing, simply load the parts into the caddy to air-dry, where sharp edges are covered, and hang the hand guard on its hooks like a hat. Just don’t pack it into a cupboard; you’ll be breaking it out again in no time.

Online reviews on various sites pointed to one clear winner – the Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline

On Amazon, this mandolin received 1,512 customer reviews and earned a 4.4 out of 5 star rating.

Amazon Prime Price: $39.95

Features:

  • Tough ABS plastic frame, food safety holder, 3 blade inserts, and storage caddy with locking clip
  • Includes 7mm blade, 3.5mm blade, and thick/thin reversible slicing blade; slice different thicknesses, julienne, or shred
  • Made in Germany, surgical-grade stainless-steel blades are incredibly sharp and snap in and out of base with 1 easy movement
  • Ambidextrous Food Safety holder provides complete protection; prongs hold food while guard protects hands
  • Protective storage caddy safely holds all components while not in use; easy to clean; rinse under running water after use

This mandolin hit all of the ‘must haves’ and even a lot of the ‘nice to have’ features when shopping for a mandolin.  And at a price point less than 50.00 it’s a good value for your money.

For a complete list of top mandolines rated by Good Housekeeping, click here.  Their list is little deceiving because some of the A+ ratings didn’t make julienne cuts, which I think defeats the purpose of a buying a mandoline.  When reading through the list make sure you are comparing diced and julienned apples to diced and julienned apples.