If you haven't gotten in on the zoodle (a.k.a. zucchini noodle) craze, now is the time. There's no shortage of flavorful, nutrient-packed spiralized "noodle" recipes. All you need are fresh vegetables or fruits, a dash of creativity, a pinch of muscle power and a spiralizer. Choose from two types of spiralizers: the simple hand-held version, which looks like a pencil sharpener for foods, or a larger countertop spiralizer with a handle to crank by hand. These models also may include interchangeable blades to create scrumptious strands of skinny angel hair noodles, flat ribbon noodles or medium to thick spiral noodles.
Although countertop spiralizers tend to get the most praise from zoodle aficionados (because of their multiple blades, which allow for different thicknesses, and ability to hold foods in place without slipping) a hand-held spiralizer comes in handy when pressed for time because cleanup is quick. Hand-held spiralizers also are portable and typically less expensive than countertop versions. While they offer more versatility in the length and width of vegetables and fruits you can spiralize, as well as more consistency in noodle appearance, countertop spiralizers take up more space in the kitchen and require a longer, more labor-intensive cleanup process.
Some are dishwasher-safe, but others have removable components that should be washed by hand. If your spiralizer can't go in the dishwasher, clean it with a scrub brush and hot, soapy water after every use.
5 Tips for Using a Spiralizer
Whichever model you choose, learn proper techniques to ensure your new spiralizer gets regular use. Follow these tips to get spiralizing:
- Start with softer fruits and vegetables, such as zucchini and cucumbers. They are easiest to work with because they don't require as much muscle power.
- Choose medium to large vegetables and fruits, which are easier to hold in place.
- Reposition foods on the spiralizer as needed to keep the blade centered and prevent noodles from falling apart.
- Cut noodles with scissors when they get too long to make them easier to eat.
- As you get the hang of spiralizing, try other fruits and vegetables: apples, beets, broccoli (stems), butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, jicama, onions, parsnips, pears, radish, sweet potato, turnips, white potatoes and more.
Have fun experimenting with both raw and cooked noodles. Like any worthwhile endeavor, spiralizing has a learning curve. Get the hang of it, and you'll be noodling and zoodling like a pro.