Laura Miller, host of Tastemade, a food and travel network, has three kitchen tools that are essential to her cooking. The first two are commonplace: a good grater and sharp knives. But the third, may, to some chefs, appear frivolous.
“I really love a good spiralizer”, she revealed in an interview with InStyle last year. Her recommend pick? A $40 one from OXO.
The spiralizer trend started to take off nearly three years ago, and it shows little signs of slowing down. Prominent publications like Food and Wine, The Independent, and Consumer Research continue to feature reviews of the best models and brands for different needs. Healthy eating movements and lifestyle magazines tout them as essential gadgets for a healthy kitchen.
But while the hype may continue in the consumer world, professional chefs, especially private and personal chefs with limited means or purchasing budgets, may find themselves more hesitant.
In a recent editorial published in the L.A. Times, Liz Newman lamented the all-too common phenomenon of food trends that are more fickle fads, apt to change on a dime. Chefs cannot keep up with such trends, she argued: much like in the fashion world, once chefs catch onto the latest trend, purchasing expensive equipment and devoting precious time to new recipes, for instance–the trend is often eclipsed by a new one.
Why Spiralizers are more than a Fad
Why then, should personal and private chefs consider at least trying to incorporate some form of spiralizing in their preparation? One reason is that many things suggest that this tool is more likely to become a staple in the kitchen, rather than a tool-of-the-moment that will fade into obscurity.
One simple reason to support this theory is time: most trends of fads fade quickly. In an article published in the New York Times, Kim Severson explained that, with outlets like social media, trends are quickly spread and dispersed but tend to die quickly-in a matter of months. Spiralizers and interest in them have lasted over three years, and more models than ever are available at stores like William-Sonoma, and online outlets like Amazon.
It appears that, rather than fading, Spiralizing is finding and adapting to new and broader audiences.
Adapting the Spiralizer: Not just for Vegans
A personal or private chef whose specialty resides in meat-heavy dishes may be understandably reticent about a device used to spotlight vegetables. Many websites and food blogs advertise spiralizing as a way to make vegan, gluten-free, and produce-heavy meals. Browsing advertisements, especially a few years back, most products seem to be targeted towards vegetarians and vegans interested in elevating vegetables and fruit as main meals.
Three years later, however, more and more, spiralizers are being marketed towards even the most meat-loving chefs and consumers. Spiralized vegetables are being used to replace pasta, or even to lighten up a pasta dish or add vegetables in innovative ways.
Simply put: no matter what cuisine is being prepared, there’s room for innovation, and the spiralizer offers just that, to suit a variety of needs and at a relatively affordable price.
How to Incorporate a Spiralizer
Another great thing about this tool is that it is simple to use, lightweight, and low maintenance. It also reduces time that would otherwise be spent peeling or fine dicing, and instead offers uniform vegetables that resume a satisfyingly similar look and feel of flour-based pasta.
BBC offers a guide to spiralizers, from everything to what vegetables work best, to how to store the prepared ‘noodles’. Produce suggested includes carrots and sweet potatoes, and even fruit like apples. Other articles and blogs also endorse zucchini, radishes, and potatoes. The key is to pick starchy produce that will hold up, and, of course, complement the flavors of the dish being prepared. For the most pasta-like noodles, stick to savory choices, like potatoes or zucchini. Apples can be made into chips (depending on the blade) or apple straws.
Use is easy, though dependent on the specific model. This video shows a demonstration for a three-blade spiralizer. For all models, produce should be washed, dried, and centered in the machine. Avoid roughly cut pieces, as straight pieces will best fit and not clog the machine. For maintenance, it is important to wash and dry blades after use.
Vegetable or fruit based noodles offer numerous nutritional benefits, including adding antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber to dishes. It also is a clever way to trim calories for clients wishing to lose or even maintain weight, but still love pasta or carb-based dishes.
A word of caution, though, comes from the Washington Post: while these health benefits are undeniable, that doesn’t mean pasta should be scrapped. The editorial explains that swapping vegetable noodles for the real thing entirely is actually counter-intuitive. Pasta and breads can be incorporated in dishes even for the most health-conscious clients.
Replacing with vegetables completely will most likely have people clamoring more for actual pasta. A good compromise is to replace some meals with vegetables noodles, or even to add vegetable noodles to regular pasta to both lighten it up and add nutrients (not to mention color!).
Overall, spiralized vegetables doesn’t appear to be a trend that is going away anytime soon, and chefs might consider investing in a spiralizer. Prices and models offer something for even the most reluctant chef.