Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 13 – February 5, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy New Year!  Little did I know that January was going to be so fast and furious, but it has.  It feels good to have a moment to enjoy my morning coffee with you all.

I have collected a moderately large collection of tips and tricks for you all over the past month and a half, but the biggest and probably most exciting discovery I made was realizing one needs the right tool for the job.

If you have ever been in my kitchen and we have prepared meals together, you know that my knives have always been a bit on the dull side (I feel like there are a lot of potential jokes one can have at my expense with that statement). I have tried all sorts of cheaper knife sharpeners, and they just never worked as well as that one that my folks keep around.  My Dad has this round sharpener that looks almost like a yoyo, but instead of where the string would be on a yoyo, one places the knife in the grooves and roll it back and forth. I never could find one of those.

Then last fall I was cleaning out the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Of course, I spied the dull knife collection, and the sad sharpener, and began trying to figure out how this conundrum could be solved. I mean, it’s knife sharpening, not rocket science.  How can my blades be so dull? Well, as my mind was wandering while I was sorting out container tops and bottoms (why do those never add up correctly?!) I allowed my head to go to gardening thoughts, and reminded myself that I need to begin sharpening my gardening tools in January… and here lied the solution to my problem! I went out to the garage and grabbed my sharpening stones, that I use for the garden tools, and I am proud to report that my knives have never been in better shape! All of these years the answer was in my garage!

Now, fast forward to shortly after Christmas. My cousin had dropped off some squash varieties to my folk’s house, for us to pick up and bring home.  One of these squashes were the largest butternut squash I had ever seen in my life. I had no idea that butternut squashes could be small toddler sized! With the sassy and sharp knives, we had little trouble getting these amazing delicata squashes opened and prepped, but my goodness, something seemed wrong with how tough the skins were – I was peeling some delicata squashes in the sink, and keep having to just push the peeler through, and then kept banging my knuckles on the sink bottom. It was a very unpleasant experience.

And then my hubby asked if the peeler was dull?  (Oh boy, yeap, insert more jokes at, my expense here!) My hubby is SO smart.  I wished I would have thought of that! It never dawned on me that a peeler could get dull. Again, my folks had one of those old-school metal ones, and it seems to always slice right through things.  We have what was probably the first peeler I ever purchased back in the college days – plastic handle and all. Not what one would have ever considered quality, but it usually did its job.

So, the question arose if I could sharpen the peeler. A quick google search turned up all sorts of interesting comments, such as some professional sharpening places (wow, those exist?!) do not sharpen peelers. Others said it’s just time for a new peeler (that seems wasteful), but getting into those little grooves proved to be bit of a challenge with my sharpening stones, and didn’t seem to help. Another suggestion was flipping the blade around, but my peeler was obviously not built that way.

There is this little video floating about: https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/55249/how-do-you-sharpen-a-vegetable-peeler/   I did not want to dull up any of my knives, but I did give this a short go, in hopes of not ruining my pairing knife.  It turns out that possibly, it was just time for a new peeler. So I bought 2 new ones.  One with a large blade meant for larger veggies (remember that toddle sized squash I was telling you about) and a smaller one for more reasonable sized veggies, as I had no idea how I would like the flat, larger peeler.

And, yes, having the right tool for the job certainly made life much easier!  With newly sharpened knives I could slice through that monster butternut squash with ease, and with the new big peeler, I peeled that baby in no time! I bet I would have massacred that squash with my old peeler.  But I cut up and froze 26 cups of butternut squash that day. And peeling the remaining delicata squashes are a breeze with the new and sharp tools.

So, the correct tool for the job still rings true. And having a second pair of eyes on a project is helpful.  It always seems that someone else is going to catch your errors and offer suggestions.  This is not a bad thing. Constructive comments are helpful. Suggestions from others might sting a little bit, but it’s because someone else came up with a grand solution that we were not able to see in the moment.

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, continue to practice your listening skills and deductive reasoning skills.  Research the options. And be grateful.  Had my hubby not suggested the peeler was dull I might have had a pretty gnarly fistfight with my sink trying to peel that monster squash. Until next time, keep on keepin it thrifty and fun!

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