Kitchen gadgets review: Zipeela automatic peeler – have you ever seen a potato ballerina?

‘It’s a bit Wicker Man …’


Zipeela (£24.99, Lakeland): a vertical spit, conjoined to a flexibly levered blade. Impaled fruit rotates in place, while the blade descends longitudinally, shaving an outer layer of skin.


You auto-peel excited about this, not pedantic.


It’s difficult to write about, or pronounce, this week’s gadget without a flamboyantly French accent. Alors, voila – il s’appelle Zipeela, qui fait, ah, deshabiller la robe de la pomme de terre – OK this isn’t working. I gave up on French at school because the lessons were fixated on post offices, swimming pools and table football, as if the entirety of France was a giant YMCA. They certainly never gave me the vocabulary to express my pleasure in an automatic fruit and veg peeler. You heard that right. Peeling is synonymous with drudgery, and here, at last, is our saviour. Modelled on a crazy speed-peel hack in which fruit piked on a power drill is held against a paring blade, Zipeela’s vegetable green shaft and gibbet-like overhang are sturdier, but still reminiscent of something out of Robot Wars.

But delight follows. Impale a firm fruit or vegetable, position the pencil-sharpener-like arm, and press the button. The fruit dizzyingly pirouettes – have you ever seen a potato ballerina? – while the blade rappels down its side, adjusting for contours, producing a long, unbroken curl of skin. As I watch my Williams pear dance a tango with Edward Scissorhands, I gather the spooling flesh, entranced.

Feel the joy …

It’s a bit Wicker Man. Before long I’ve started entertaining visitors with it. They call out requests, an audience at the world’s strangest DJ set. “Do a half-yam! What about a grape?” My friend Andy says: “After you’ve peeled the potato once, you could run it again, and make the world’s longest curly fries.” (Russell Crowe, THIS is what a beautiful mind looks like, FYI.)

It’s not perfect – the thick parings are wasteful, the blade-housing gets clogged, it balked at a parsnip. But if you’re into spiralising, a) God help you, and, b) this does that. If you want to make marmalade, the peel grade is ideal. Above all, I’m in love with Zipeela for the joy of itself, and that’s true love, isn’t it? Tu me fais tourner en rond, bébé, en rond rond rond.

Any downside?

Has replacement blades hidden in its base, which is, technically, concealing a weapon. I’d do anything for love, but I won’t do time.