The Deleafer




Introduction: The Deleafer

About: I'm an Instructables success story! After relying on the site to DIY my way through art school, I was able to join the Instructables Design Studio in 2012. It's the best! Whe...

Like you I was tired of painstakingly removing the leaves off my green leafy vegetables. ;)

I built this little device as a timesaver in the kitchen. It works by threading your leafy vegetables' stalk through a hole just larger than the stalk, pulling off all the leaves from the gross woody or chewy stalk. As a bonus, it doubles as a cutting board.

This project is super simple to build and makes cooking a little bit quicker.

Step 1: Tools and Material

For this project, I used the following tools and materials:

That's it. This whole project took a quick 10 minutes to make and clean up.

Step 2: Secure the Cutting Mat

Make sure that the cutting mat isn't going to slip around when you're drilling into it. If the pieces aren't properly secured, your drill or your material can skip around and spin while you are trying to drill.

I used two bar clamps to secure the cutting mat on top of a piece of sacrificial board on top of my work bench.

Step 3: Drill!

After your pieces are secure, you can begin making holes. Using a spade bit is pretty great, but takes some getting used to if you've never used one before. It begins by digging out the center of your materal, then the outside radius as you apply pressure.

Make your way through the spade bit index making holes. I only went up to 1" because I couldn't imagine a vegetable with a stalk larger than 1". If I ever find one, I'll add another hole :)

Step 4: Clean-up

All the stringy bits should just be able to be picked away by with your fingers. For the smaller holes, you may need to make more than one pass with the drill to get the cleanest cut.

For stubborn plastic shavings, you can try removing them with an Exacto blade.

Step 5: Try It Out

Huzzah! It works!

This little kitchen helper is great for herbs too. I eventually added a few smaller holes with regular drill bits to remove tiny leaves off of the thin stalks of thyme and rosemary.



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40 Discussions

I Don't know how it would work on Kale.... But when Composting and not wanting the woody twigs in the Mix.

I just use Garden Gloves to Grasp the Stems and Slide my hand along the length of it and Strip off the Leaves .

I adjust the Pressure/ Grip on the Stems according to the Thickness and size.

If it were for Kale etc in the Kitchen.... I would use Lighter Thinner Rubber Gloves in the same way by adjusting the grip to suit the strength of the Stem.

Just pick them up and Strip them off.

I haven't tried it on Kale etc ... Maybe it may work or maybe it won't ?

The Human Hand is a very versatile Tool.

Awesome! I think this'll work perfectly.

What a great idea! I make kale smoothies several days a week. Sometimes I stock up on kale and freeze it, and I'd love a time saver stripping all the leaves. (Aside: don't forget you can use all those kale stalks. They make refrigerator relish!)

3 replies

Hope sharing the recipe is okay in this thread! Your Deleafer is good for this, too!

I'm not much for cooking. I like things simple. I chop the kale stems into tiny bits, boil a basic brine, then submerge the chopped kale stems and soak them for 24 hours to a week (depends on who you read).

1. Blanch the kale stems for a minute or two. (OPTIONAL) I nuked mine. You can use them raw. The pickling will soften them up a bit, but Kale is a little tough.
2. Mix the brine ingredients together and bring them to a boil.
3. Pour the brine over the vegetables in canning jars.
4. Add extra flavorings. I use dill powder, red pepper, and a few cloves of garlic per jar
5. Refrigerate for 24 hours to a week to blend flavors. I shake it up in the middle to distribute spices.
4. Use within a month. Keep refrigerated.

If they ferment or develop a funny smell, toss them.

You can use this brine to pickle just about anything, but I use it for my relish, which I then use as a healthy garnish on veggie burgers and other sandwiches.

Basic Pickling Brine

For every pound of vegetable:
1 cup vinegar (any kind except balsamic)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt (I used margarita salt--hey, it worked)
Extras: fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, cumin seed, peppercorns, cloves of garlic, or any other pickling spice

This recipe is from

As wasteful as that is, I hope you at least compost down the stems. This makes it easy to see how so much food is wasted.

3 replies

I'm sure not going to eat the stems so I see no waste. I may use the stms later to flavor a soup or stew, but not with the leaves.

Same! I save all my stalks and extra leaves/skins/ends and make a broth in the crockpot every 3 weeks or so! Nom!

Great idea! Speaking with The Monkees: "Then I saw this page, now I'm a deleafer" ;-)

That would be the dream. I'll start puzzling that out :P


1 year ago

Jean - Yus!!

Well this is right up there with the invention of Peanut butter & jelly! AWESOME!!!!!!!! Just commanded my husband to make me one!!!!!

shop garage sales, etc to find spade bits...easy to clean for re-use. Cut smaller holes in spaghetti measure as less thing to keep track of. Great idea.

You are brilliant - thank you for sharing!


1 year ago

The leaves of many herbs, for example oregano, can be easily stripped by holding the tip of the stem in one hand and sliding the fingers of the other hand along the stem pulling off the leaves. The "trick" is that one direction along the stem is much better than the other.

I use my plastic spaghetti fork the same way -- either through the tines, or through the drain hole at the bottom.

1 reply