Last Updated on October 14, 2021 by Boniface Muriuki
How to use a mandoline? This is a common question that arises among kitchen enthusiasts. While they would want an easier way of slicing, they are kept out of mandoline due to safety misconceptions and overall beliefs that the tool is hard to use.
If you’ve been in such quagmires, then you’re in the right place. We’ll handle all your queries on how to use a mandoline in a simple easy-to-decipher fashion.
But what exactly is a mandoline?
This is a rectangular and a hand-operated food slicer tool that cuts vegetables and fruits easily. The tool has interchangeable blades to give you different fruits and vegetable slices— wavy, julienne, lattice, and even raw cuts.
As compared to slicing food with a kitchen knife, using a mandoline is a breeze! It delivers consistent cuts always.
More so, you can make thinner cuts than what a knife can do, which is a friendly technique for shaved or gratin garnishes.
However, whatever food you are preparing with the mandoline, here is the guide on how to use a mandoline for perfect results. But before we look at how to use a mandoline, let’s see the basic mandoline safety.
How to Use a Mandoline: Safety Measures
You don’t have to be worried on how to use a mandoline to prepare your foods. It’s not harmful! But the tool will work well if you follow these instructions.
- Always use a finger guard if the tool came with one. But if you don’t have one, never worry! You can use your palm to run the product on the mandoline or buy a cut-resistant glove.
- Avoid placing your fingers or hand below the mandoline. Lift it always to retrieve the slices.
- Never set the mandoline over a bowl or a plate, unless it’s typically designed to be used with them. These surfaces can wobble or result in an injury.
- Ensure you store the mandoline inside a cabinet where young children can’t access it.
Having known the mandoline safety measurements, here’s how to use it.
How to Use a Mandoline: A Comprehensive Guide
1. Start by propping the tool on a cutting board by folding its legs/support stands then place them on a dry, and sturdy cutting board. It should never slip or wobble while using it.
- Ensure the cutting board is tidy as it will come into contact with your food.
2. With that, let the mandoline sit on you perpendicularly. Make sure that the raised end is closer to you. Setting the mandoline parallel to you can cause a side-to-side slice that will result in uneven cuts or slipping.
3. Cut your food to create a flat surface. When cutting lemons or potato or other vegetables, cut them in half as a mandoline can only slice flat surfaces. Also, make the other end round to make an easy grip.
- Ensure you cut the fruit into smaller pieces to make it fit on the hand-guard.
4. After that, wet the runway. But this is optional. When cutting starchy foods, or potatoes, sprinkle some water on the cutting surface. This makes the food slide on the mandoline easily. Although juicy fruits always have adequate moisture on their own.
5. Having done that, put your food on the machine’s hand-guard to make the flat sides face the runway then after that, slot the hand-guard on top of the mandoline ( nearly all mandolines comes with a hand-guard that looks like a cylinder or bell).
- While using the machine, ensure you put on a cut-resistant glove that offers additional protection.
- Also, use the non-dominant hand to hold the mandoline steadily then push your food across the runway. Hold the food using the hand-guard. Repeat the motion with uniform pressure to result in slices with constant thickness.
Mandolines with a single horizontal blade requires a slow, sawing movement for soft fruits like tomatoes.
How to Use a Mandoline: Adjusting The Settings before Using It
If the tool has a knob on its side, adjusting it can be an easy task.
1. Turn the knob to lower or raise the blade, and it will slice to different thicknesses. Most mandolines are designed to cut anything from paper-thin garnishes and gratins to French fries.
- The knob has a thickness label. But this is not perfect as the amount of pressure you use can affect the thickness. Also, some mandoline models have levers.
2. Shift to a different blade. Some mandolines come with varying attachments of the blade rather than an adjustment knob. If you want to shift to a particular cut or change the slice thickness, you must swap in a new blade. But this can be dangerous.
- Some models have blades that can be accessed from the underside. Other mandolines come with a hinge that swings to reveal an underside blade. After that, you can pop the blade out then insert another blade on that slot.
Additionally, some mandolines have only one fixed table with several plastic runway attachments.
3. Look for extra features and the most common one is an additional blade to julienne your food into smaller and thin cuts, crinkle cut the vegetables, or perform a specialty cut. This may be located on the underside of the mandoline or built-in and raised using a lever.
- It would be best if you took care when looking for the lever. Some mandolines have this lever located on a place where you can easily cut yourself.
How to Use a Mandoline: Maintenance Tips
1. Before you start cleaning the mandoline, ensure you adjust all blades for safety purposes. If you had an extra blade feature like julienning, place it back to its initial hidden position. If the main blade can be adjusted, position it to its lowest position.
2. Wipe the blade gently using a wet and a soapy cloth from the tip to the base to prevent the chances of cutting yourself. After the food stains or scraps are gone, rinse the soap on the mandoline with running water.
3. Finally, dry the tool thoroughly by placing it outside on a rack to dry. Alternatively, you can use a towel to dry it carefully.
- If you store the mandoline with water droplets can make it rust easily.
Keep the mandoline away from pets and children as they are more dangerous compared to knives. Never place them where your child can access them.
Consequently, place the tool on a labelled container. Please don’t put it on a high shelf or a loose drawer where people can place their hands without looking.
How to Use a Mandoline: Bottom Line
If you love cooking, and you frequently cook, you’ll probably spend more time preparing your veggies. A kitchen knife is an essential tool in cutting the fruits and vegetables in the kitchen, but a mandoline—a countertop or a handheld gadget with a cutting guide and a stationary blade—can save much time off your prep
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.