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An apple divider is a kitchen tool which is designed to make it easy to cut apples and pears into segments while removing their cores. In addition to cutting evenly sized, neat segments, an apple divider also carries the distinct advantage of making the cutting process hands-off, reducing the risk of food borne illness. Many kitchen supply stores sell apple dividers, and while it might seem like a frivolous kitchen supply, if you find yourself doing a lot of cooking with apples and pears, you may want to consider the acquisition of an apple divider.
The design of an apple divider is fairly simple. The tool looks somewhat like an old-fashioned wagon wheel when viewed from above, with a series of sharp blades creating the spokes of the wheel. A hollow core in the middle of the apple divider serves as a joining point for the individual spokes, and it also cuts the core of the apple away as the apple is cut. Typically, an apple divider also has handles, which are often cushioned for an easy grip.
To use an apple divider, cooks place it over the top of an apple and push down smoothly. The blades separate the core while cutting even wedges of the fruit. The apple can be peeled or unpeeled, depending on personal taste, and the wedges of apple can also be further cut into chunks for things like apple pie, crisp, or crumble. For people who like to pack apple wedges as snacks, an apple divider can be a convenient tool for wedging an apple efficiently; the wedges should be lightly squirted with lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
Most apple dividers are made from stainless steel, and they are designed as throwaway tools, meaning that the blades are not meant to be sharpened. However, if you use an apple divider carefully, you may find that it lasts for many years, especially if the steel is strong and the handles are sturdy. Always wash apples before putting them through an apple divider, and remember to remove any produce stickers.
Like other bladed kitchen utensils, you should handle an apple divider carefully. Although it is difficult to cause too much damage with the blades, they can make a nasty cut in some situations. You should also avoid running apple dividers through the dishwasher, as this can dull the blades, making them less effective. You may also find that the tool benefits from being hand dried after washing to eliminate spotting and the risk of rust.