There are many brands of mandolins on the market. Some have single blades, others have multiple blades. These machines can get quite expensive, so be sure to check with your local thrift store before purchasing. Keep an eye out at yard sales and flea markets, too!
Most are designed either with grooves to place on a container to catch the sliced pieces or with a tilting rack of some sort to let the pieces drop onto a cutting board.
Some have adjustable blade widths for varying thicknesses of food. My machine has interchangeable blades for slicing, grating, or julienne strips.
Based on the number of bloody fingertips I'm seeing... clearly, some of you have missed my posting on using a mandolin... So Listen Carefully to Granny! <smile>
OK, a few pointers.... spoken by one who has definitely changed the shape of several fingertips! (Some of us are slow learners) <she rolls her eyes> ... did you know those things can also slice fingernails! <snort>
1. When prepping my veggies, (like zucchini) I leave the stem on and start slicing from the other end. The stem end serves as a bit of a handle, giving me more "finger clearance".
2. GO SLOW! It's exciting to see those veggie slices just fly out of the machine, but before you know it, you're seasoning it with blood.
3. When your veggie starts getting shorter, you might want to use the holder thingie designed to protect your fingers. It's usually rectangular in shape with little prongs to hold the veggie firm. Sometimes they work, but usually I find them too fussy and have tossed mine!
4. When you get down to about an inch or inch and a half, stub.... stop!
5. Toss those veggie stubs into a bowl. When you are finished with your mandolin slicing, then work on the stubs. Hand slice them, grate them, dice them. You can grate those stubs without nearly the risk to life and limb. There's all sorts of things you can do that will keep you from hurting yourself. Heck fire, you can even take those stubs and use them in your next fresh salad!
Actually, my mandolin had changeable blades, including a grating blade. When I get close to the end, instead of holding the veggie stub with my fingertips, I open my hand flat and use the palm of my hand to apply pressure for grating.
Kind of like feeding a treat to a horse... if you hold it with your fingertips, you're liable to get a nip. But holding it in the flat of your hand all you get is a slobbery lick.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Do not use the flat palm trick with ANY slicing blade on your mandolin...
ONLY with the grater! OK?
P.S. Thanks to my ‘hand model’, Hubby Mike!