5 Tips for Using Your Spiralizer

5 Tips for Using Your Spiralizer

So many veggies, but how many of them really want to be noodles? From beets, broccoli stems, and butternut squash to cabbages, carrots, and cucumbers, not to mention parsnips, plantains, potatoes, pears, and of course, zucchini, the answer is nearly everything — as long as you've got the skills. Here's what you need to know to make your vegetable drawer go spiral.

1. Use symmetrical foods.

Spiralizers like veggies that walk the straight (but not narrow), so if your zucchini is a bit crooked, cut it to make it more symmetrical. This might mean trimming it, or cutting it in half where the kink occurs.

2. Use foods that are big enough (but not too big).

In order to get those satisfying spirals, you want your foods to be about at least an inch and a half in diameter. That's not difficult with zucchinis or cucumbers, but it might be tough to find carrots that big. OXO recommends seeking out "horse" carrots, which are often found loose rather than bundled. In my own spiralizing adventures, I also found that starting with the larger end (i.e., the head of the carrot) made for more consistent noodles.

On the other hand, if you have a handheld spiralizer you don't want veggies (or fruits) that are too large, or else they won't fit. OXO's Gretchen Holt notes that she has spiralized small apples using her handheld.

3. Wash and (if necessary) peel your veggies before spiralizing.

Those veggies are much easier to deal with if you get the dirty work out of the way before they become oodles of zoodles. Give your produce a good scrub, peel if necessary, and cut off the ends (or one end; I like to keep one end uncut and use that in my gripping hand).

If you're planning to cook those veggies, however, do that after you spiralize. Roasted veggies + spiralizer = a fine mess.

4. Center your veggies.

This may be common sense, but try to make sure your vegetable is centered on the spiralizer. Of course, it may be a little bit off, and the pros say it takes a little practice, but paying attention when you're mounting those cukes and carrots will make for ease of use once you get going as well as more continuous noodles.

5. Dry your zoodles.

Zucchini noodles — and other variations with vegetables with some water weight — can get soggy. After you spiralize, dry them off with a paper towel or spiralize into a colander and let them drain while you do the rest of your prep. You might also try salting them (like eggplant), or if you're cooking them, just toss them in the sauté pan.

Carrots, parsnips, and other root vegetables, on the other hand, tend to be a bit crunchy. This makes them perfect for lunch because you can dress them in advance — no need for a separate salad dressing container. If you're eating them right away, let them sit for a bit to soften.

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