How to Shred Vegetables and Not Your Fingers: Tips & Tricks

I made coleslaw over the weekend. I really enjoy coleslaw, but when shredding the cabbage, I always manage to take a chunk of one of my fingers off as well. Fortunately, at the time, I was also participating in one of my other weekend guilty pleasures, watching home improvement shows. When wood-working, it is usually suggested to use a “sacrificial board” to keep your fingers away from spinning blades. That got me thinking of doing something similar for when I need to shred vegetables or cheeses.

Coleslaw made from shredded vegetables

The idea of a sacrificial board is pretty simple. It is something that goes between your hand and the blade, and you don’t mind if it gets cut. Wood shavings in your food wouldn’t be that tasty, but there’s other options to safely hold your food to the box grater.

  • Fork: I used a fork to hold the cabbage while I shredded it. This required choking up on it quite a bit, but the face of the grater never touched my hand.(or is that my hand never touched the face?)
  • Food holder from a mandolin: As near as I can tell, this little do-hicky doesn’t actually have a name, but it would do the job.
  • Another piece of food: This wouldn’t work as well for shredding vegetables, but could do well for holding the end piece still while slicing.

Really, you can use anything you can think of that will hold the food down as you slide it across the shredder.


On a separate note, I would like to congratulate Colleen Boudreau for winning the $5 giveaway!

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