There are many types of fruit and sometimes it seems like there are almost as many ways to peel them. Bananas, oranges and grapefruits, for instance, are all very self-explanatory fruits that require little more than a tug at the skin to remove it. Other fruits pose more of a challenge. If you’re just going to eat a piece of fruit, the skin might not be a big deal, but if you’re going to bake with it, sometimes the skin just has to go.
For hard and (relatively) dry fruits, a sharp knife will do the job quickly and easily. Apples and pears can often be skinned this way before going into a pie or tart. For softer and more delicate fruits, the traditional method of peeling is to cut a shallow cross in the bottom of the fruit and then blanch them in boiling water for a minute. This loosens the skin and, when you run the fruit until cold water, it usually comes right off. The downside to this method is that it can be a bit time consuming with all the steps involves – boiling water, prepping fruit, removing skins, drying fruit – and it’s hard to get up that kind of energy when you only need to peel a peach or two.
As I mentioned before, a plain vegetable peeler will work for some fruits, but they’re not the best choice for all fruits. Fortunately, many companies make serrated fruit peelers specifically for getting the thin skins off fruit without damaging the flesh beneath and these can work wonders. The serrated peelers have less “drag” when cutting the fruit, so they get cleaner cuts than regular peelers and do minimal, if any, damage to the flesh of the fruit. I have an OXO serrated peeler that works very well. Peeling is definitely faster than the blanching method – unless you’re making many pies at once and need a few dozen nectarines all at once. Then, I’d use the blanching method and a big pot.