5 tips for chopping fruit and vegetables

Cutting board shifting around? Not sure how to tackle a large head of cabbage? Read our kitchen apprentice’s advice for preparing produce.

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Chopped vegetables

Chopped vegetables. (iStock.)

A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon in the test kitchen in what we called “Chatelaine Cooking School”. You should’ve have seen the bag of onions I had to slice, dice and chop! It was a full afternoon of learning; we covered everything from how to segment an orange to understanding the difference between dicing and roughly chopping. While I was learning the basics behind these essential kitchen techniques, I also picked up a few basic tricks I just had to share:

1. Put a damp paper towel under your cutting board
Does your cutting board bounce around on you while you’re dicing onions? Place a damp paper towel under your cutting board, and it will help the board adhere to the counter.

2. Wash and dry your produce
I always wash my produce, but I’ve never thought to dry it. I know it seems like an extra step, but the water makes it slippery, creating more opportunities for it to slip around on the cutting board. Dry everything first for optimal safety!

3. Make the size manageable
When you’re working with a really large fruit or vegetable, make sure to cut it down into a workable size. For example, cut a carrot or zucchini into thirds. You can use this technique with any large fruit or vegetable such as eggplant, cabbage or potatoes.

4. Work with a flat surface
A really great tip I learned is to use your knife to trim off a tiny bit at the top or bottom of your vegetables so that you’re working with a flat surface. This is a great trick to use with any round vegetable, such as onions or carrots.

5. Let the knife do the work
Make sure your knife is sharp, and it will do the work. You shouldn’t have to put force into chopping your fruits and vegetables. If you do, this can be dangerous and can lead to the knife slipping.

Do you have any other great tricks for chopping fruits and veggies in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments below.