9 Peeling Hacks For Food Items Like Oranges, Potatoes & Prawns To Shorten Cooking Prep Time

Kitchen hacks for peeling

Image adapted from: Proxcey @foodal.blog

I’m no chef, but I do know my way around the kitchen. Since young, I’ve helped my family out whenever they’re cooking, and the amount of preparation that goes into intricate dishes like nasi minyak and ayam masak merah is astounding.

One of the most time-consuming parts of the process is peeling the ingredients. Getting the edible part out of a given ingredient’s shell can be incredibly troublesome, and when you’re cooking for a large group of people, this laborious task can easily take hours.

Thankfully, there are peeling hacks to make this a less painful process and help shorten cooking time.

Here are some other household hacks you can take note of:

1. Oranges – one long cut for neat segments in a row

Video credit: Life Hacking Guy

When eating oranges, we usually peel off the skin with our fingers – but that means we also have to deal with the mess that comes with it.

Here’s one way to avoid that sticky situation. Slice the skin off both ends of the orange, and make one long cut into the skin along one side. After pulling it apart, you’ll find a row of orange segments all lined up in a row, giving you a more fuss-free way to eat it. You should end up with this: 

Image credit: Life Hacking Guy

2. Hard-boiled eggs – add baking soda and shake in glass

Image credit: @intrepid_mom

To perfectly deshell a hard-boiled egg without any dents would require a painstaking amount of time chipping away at the outer shell – unless you make use of these methods

Image credit: King of Perfection

One of the most common methods is to place the egg in a glass with some water and shake it around to shatter the shell. However, that process runs a risk of wrecking the egg, so another thing you can do is to add baking soda into the water prior to boiling the egg. It’ll make the shell firmer, and thus easier to peel.

If you’ve already mastered these methods, try blowing the egg straight out of the shell. Yup, you read that right – simply peel the shell off from either end of the egg – make sure that one hole is bigger than the other – and blow from the end with the smaller hole. The deshelled egg should pop right out, so get a bowl ready beforehand to catch it!

3. Prawn – use a fork to drag shell off

Image credit: @foodal.blog

Deshelling a prawn can be equal parts messy and time-consuming. While delicious, it leaves us with 1) a fishy smell on our hands, and 2) bits of shell scattered all over the place, which is a huge enough factor for many to simply avoid eating them at all 

Image credit: Proxcey

Stick a fork between the shell and the meat, and drag it down the side. Both the skin and vein should come right off, which means you’ll get to kill two birds with one stone.

Here’s an instructional video:

No time to get the ingredients for a home-cooked seafood feast? Click here.

4. Potatoes – slice skin around middle and pull it off

Image credit: DaveHax

Potatoes are perhaps one of the more exasperating vegetables to peel, especially if you don’t have a potato peeler and are making do with a small knife. That means you’ll only be able to slice off tiny chunks of skin at a time, making for an unnecessarily extensive process.


But with this newfound hack, you can ditch the peeler straightaway. Prior to boiling, all you need to do is to slice the skin around the middle without cutting into the potato itself. Once it’s done, you can easily pull it right off. 

5. Mangoes – use a cup to scrape off the skin

Image credit: @liga.dziluma

Chilled mangoes are one of the most refreshing thing you can eat on a hot Singaporean afternoon, and to save you the effort of scraping it off with a knife, here’s what you need to do.

Image credit: SAVEUR Magazine

After slicing the mango in half, press one half against the edge of a cup and use it to scrape the flesh right off the skin. The flesh will slide off and into your cup – a clean, fuss-free way to get ahold of all the good stuff.

6. Ginger – use a spoon instead of knife

Image credit: @renewwellnessretreats

Between stir-fried dishes and stews, ginger is the basis for almost every Southeast Asian dish there is. But preparing it is a whole other story – the root often comes in uneven shapes, which is a pain when you’re trying to remove the skin with just a knife.


Simply swap out the knife for a spoon and start scraping – you’ll find that little force is needed. Plus, you’ll get to retain the structure of the root, which means that you’ll be able to keep flesh wastage at a minimum.

7. Tomatoes – cut an “X” and use hot and cold water to slip skin off

Image credit: @monicalarner 

When you’re trying to cook things like marinara sauce, you’ll need to remove the skin from your tomatoes. Not only does it prevent you from achieving a smooth non-chunky sauce, it’ll also give it a tinge of bitterness, which really isn’t something you want as an aftertaste.


One simple way to bypass this messy process is the “hot and cold water” method. Score an X on one end of the tomato, and chuck it into the pot to boil. Once it’s cooked, dunk it into an ice bath to cool it down, and peel the skin off manually. It should slip right off, and you can bask in the glory of a clean preparation process.

8. Garlic – shake in a jar, or use a knife to stab each clove out

Image credit: @frikk.s

Peeling garlic can be extra frustrating given how the flaky bits tend to fly everywhere. To avoid the mess, one of the most common go-to methods is to chuck every individual bulb into a jar or a box, and shake it like you mean serious business. And voila – they emerge either partially deshelled, or done completely.

But recently, a new hack took the world by storm. You don’t even have to peel each bulb from the stalk – all you have to do is stick your knife straight into the clove, and pull it out.

9. Rambutans – squeeze and twist

Image credit: @khrystlelmst

Rambutans can be a pain to eat. Breaking open the hairy shell doesn’t just involve getting the residue stuck underneath your fingernails – you’d also, on occasion, get an unfortunate spray of rambutan juice straight to the face.

The next time you’re savouring this sweet fruit, one quick trick you can do is to squeeze and twist. Grip tightly onto your rambutan, and use your other hand to twist the top half off – almost like unscrewing a bottle cap. You’ll need to position your hands such that they each take care of one half of the fruit, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a piece of cake.

Hacks for peeling your food ingredients

Whether you’re whipping up a storm or preparing to savour a delicious fruit, peeling your food can be a troublesome affair. But as these hacks show, all it takes is a little know-how and some out-of-the-box thinking to quicken the procedure.

Check out these other hacks to make your life easier:

Farzana Fattah

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