Every home cook should have a mandoline. It can help you produce perfect shaved vegetable salads, crisp potato chips, and super-thin fruit slices for tarts, pies, and more. But thanks to their super-sharp blades mandolines have a reputation for being dangerous. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you get paper-thin slices while keeping all your digits intact:
Start by keeping the mandoline perpendicular to your body. You’ll have more control if you’re pushing forward, rather than sideways.
Wet the blade and runway if you need more lubrication. Some fruits and vegetables are juicy enough to help you along with the slicing action, but starchy vegetables, like potatoes, don’t glide well if they dry out.
Use a knife to cut an even surface on your fruit or vegetable before setting it on the mandoline. Stability is your friend when it comes to the mandoline (and will save your fingers), so start with an even surface.
Keep even pressure on the vegetable to get uniform slices—this is where those even, crunchy potato chips come from.
If you have a guard, use it. A guard will keep your hand away from the blade and can help you grip your vegetable firmly. If you don’t have a guard, don’t worry! There are a few techniques to keep your fingers out of harm’s way. When slicing long strips (like lengthwise on a cucumber or zucchini), keep your palm flat and your fingers lifted. It’s much more difficult to slice your palm than a rogue finger! If you're slicing rounds, keep your knuckles bent and your fingers tucked.
If you’ve tried all the tips and you're still seriously accident prone (we’ve all been there), look into using a cut-resistant glove, so you’ll still be able to count to five after using your mandoline.
And if you need a new mandoline, try the Martha Stewart Collection Mandoline, Hand Slicer.
Watch how to shave vegetables using a mandoline: