When we picked the last of the garden before the frost we thought was coming (it didn't show up until this past weekend), we had a bunch of jalapenos to can and I usually cut them one at a time with a knife and cutting board. But I didn't have the time or gumption to cut all those peppers again. So I decided to give the Mandoline a try. First I had to figure out how it worked and wash it.
It has these four prongs that you stick the item to be sliced or grated on. I can see where this would be great for a bigger item than a jalapeno. The space between the prongs is too small for a pepper, so I speared one
onto one of the prongs. It didn't really work because the pepper would just kind of lay over on it's side. Well, I still wanted it to work because if it did, it would save me a lot of time. So I tried and tried, then, ping, off went the light bulb! I speared four
I don't think this is really the way this was meant to work, but it did. Especially after I realized I needed to use a lighter touch. I was initially pushing down too hard
against the bed and the slicing blade. When I quit pushing down so hard and just lightly stroked the peppers across the blade, it worked great! You know when you want to tell someone to just lighten up? Well, this was one of those cases. And it worked!
In much less time than it took before, and the peppers were ready to can.
This piece of equipment requires concentrated attention. It works great and quickly, but it would be just as easy to cut off the end of my finger as it was to cut off the end of a pepper. Frank has an old woodworkers saying that is appropriate here, "Know where your fingers are." This tool needs extra attention to detail and technique to insure safety.
I really enjoy finding new tools or techniques that work and make a job go smoother and faster. An added benefit is that it is a manual tool that doesn't require electricity and is sturdy enough to last a while. I look for these features in the tools I acquire these days. There is no use in stocking up on anymore gadgets that will not work when the grid goes down.
Until next time - Fern