Kitchen gadgets review: Looseleaf kale stripper – not a natural born kaler

‘What makes a stripper green, exactly?’
‘What makes a stripper green, exactly?’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian


The Looseleaf kale stripper (£7.25, Lakeland) is a stiff, spearheaded implement edged with holes. It clips leaves from greens by pulling them through apertures correspondent to stalk size.


Stem sell research reveals people don’t like eating them.


I’m pretty sure there was a kale stripper at the Guardian Christmas party, but I could very well be making that up. What makes a stripper green, exactly? Is it the bamboo pole, the heels with carbon-neutral footprint? A low-energy routine, choreographed to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth? The mind boggles. But of course, it’s not that type of green, nor that type of stripper – it was all a highly implausible misunderstanding!

This is Looseleaf, a gadget designed to “strip a variety of leaves like kale and collard greens from stems”. It’s sold by Chef’n, which is a weird word. An activity more advanced, yet more laid-back, than regular old cooking. The dictionary entry must read: Chef’n. verb, intrans. 1. To chef, esp. informally. “Making dollar greens off these collard greens, you know. Just chef’n.”

‘In an innovative marketing twist, this doesn’t do exactly what it says on the tin.’
‘In an innovative marketing twist, this doesn’t do exactly what it says on the tin.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

But let’s put silliness aside, because you must be dying to know how this breezy bit of kit handles a tough leaf. I know I am. So I get hold of some Jurassic-looking brassicas, and rasp each one through the smallest hole that can accommodate its girth. The results are interesting. (OK, not that interesting.) The quote above, about stripping “a variety of leaves like kale”, turns out to be crucially worded. Looseleaf doesn’t necessarily work on kale. Just stuff like it. Spring greens are denuded with ease, the leaves falling satisfyingly free from the trunk. It manages herbs, thyme and oregano OK. But kale, a wild and wilful plant, has much tougher fronds to pull through the holes, and the stalks snap off halfway. That’s not very good, is it? I guess it works on loose leaves, and the clue was in the name.

I don’t know why you would need this gadget, unless your work requires stripping stems in industrial quantities at an LA smoothie bar or a hydroponic drugs laboratory. In an innovative marketing twist, this doesn’t do exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a great green stripper – but not a natural born kaler.

Redeeming features?

Could be used as a spaghetti measure for baby portions of pasta. Or a child’s first knuckleduster.

Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?

In the drawer. In just its drawers. 2/5