- Insider asked chefs to explain the proper way to cut, peel, and slice a number of fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, and cheeses.
- They advised avoiding dull knives, especially when slicing eggplant and bread.
- Hard cheeses should be cut into shards not cubes, and soft cheese should never have its “nose” (the tip of a wedge) sliced off.
- It’s also important to cut off the “eyes” of pineapple to avoid an unpleasant chewing experience.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Here are some of the foods you might be slicing, peeling, or cutting wrong, and tips to help you do it right.
Using a peeler on ripe kiwis can crush them — use a spoon instead.
- INSIDER/Kristen Griffin
Using a peeler on a really ripe kiwi will most likely crush it, according to Chef Scott Swartz, associate professor at The Culinary Institute of America.
“A great trick is to cut off the top and bottom. Then, insert a spoon close to the skin and run it around the inside to release the whole center,” Swartz said.
When dealing with mangoes, cut off the edges to create a flat surface first.
Not cutting the edges off a mango prior to slicing can be dangerous, Swartz said. For safety, you’ll want to cut the top and bottom off first.
Next, you’ll want to cut down toward the pit with the mango standing up, as the shape of the pit is flat and oval, Swartz told Insider.
Like with kiwis, avoid using a peeler if the mango is very ripe.
It’s essential to cut the “eyes” off of pineapples because they’re tough to chew.
- INSIDER/Kristen Griffin
Swartz told Insider that the biggest mistake most people make with pineapple is not cutting off the “eyes,” the brownish spots that remain after you remove the fruit’s skin.
According to Swartz, to slice a pineapple, you should start by cutting off its top and bottom. Next, use a knife to peel around the outside, making sure to cut off the eyes to avoid an “unpleasant chewing experience.”
Retrieve pomegranate seeds with less mess by slicing the fruit in half first.
- Viktor Kochetkov/Shutterstock
To avoid too much of a mess, cut pomegranates in half first, Swartz told Insider. Over a bowl, hold the cut side down and tap the skin side hard with a spoon. The seeds will be released into the bowl.
“If you then put the seeds in water, you can remove the pit from the seeds more easily,” Swartz said.
Using a dull knife to cut eggplant can cause oxidation, turning the slices brown.
Eggplant can oxidize quickly when exposed to air, resulting in brown discoloration. To reduce this oxidation, speed up the slicing process by using a sharp knife, said chef Alexander Plotkin, the chief culinary officer at Tovala.
When it comes to slicing eggplant, Plotkin recommended cutting the vegetable width-wise into slices twice the size of your desired final product.
“Eggplant shrinks while cooking because the moisture of it is held, so it’s better to cut larger than you think,” he told Insider.
Stop peeling carrots, as most of the nutrients are found in the peel.
“If you wash your carrots well enough, you do not need to peel them,” Plotkin told Insider, explaining that the peel can contain nutrients. “Increase your nutrition intake and save yourself time by keeping the peel on.”
It’s easier to snap asparagus by hand instead of cutting it with a knife.
The best way to cut asparagus is actually with your bare hands, according to Plotkin.
To remove the tough, woody end of the spears, take one end in each hand and slowly bend the asparagus inward until it snaps naturally.
“If done correctly, the point at which it snaps is where the tough end and tender part of the spear divide,” Plotkin said.
To prevent injury and minimize sliding, place a towel under winter squash before cutting it.
- Andrea De la Parra/Shutterstock
“Be very careful when cutting squash. Its uneven surface makes cutting difficult and can lead to injury,” Plotkin told Insider. The best technique is to place a towel underneath the squash to minimize sliding.
If dicing, remove the top and bottom ends and proceed to peel slowly and carefully with a veggie peeler. Once peeled, cut the squash in half from top to bottom. This will increase the squash’s stability, making the next cuts easier and safer.
Cutting off the top of an onion can make it harder to chop.
- Alex Sun/Shutterstock
When it comes to onions, cut only a small section off of the root end (opposite the side with fibers), said Masaharu Morimoto, owner and chef of Morimoto Management/Morimoto Las Vegas at MGM Grand.
Leaving the root end intact will allow for better control and better results, Morimoto told Insider.
Then, cut the onion in half from top to bottom and peel the first layer off of both halves before laying them flat to slice.
Bell peppers should be seeded prior to slicing.
For the best results, cut bell peppers directly in half and remove both the core and stem. Make sure to also carefully remove all seeds before slicing, Morimoto told Insider.
Chunk hard cheeses into shards, not cubes.
Hard cheeses, like aged cheddar, that have a crystalline texture are best handled by being chunked into shards with a small cheese knife, according to Liz Nerud, certified cheese professional with the American Cheese Society and cheesemonger at Kowalski’s Market.
“With a little handiwork and the right cutting pattern, these chunks of cheese can be transformed into something far more textural than a pile of cubes,” Nerud told Insider.
For the best flavor possible, never remove the “nose” from a wedge of soft cheese.
- Moving Moment/Shutterstock
For soft cheeses, like brie and Camembert, the rind is a crucial part of the cheese’s structure, according to Nerud.
This type of cheese should be served as a whole piece on the board or platter, and the “nose” should not be removed.
Proper French cheese etiquette dictates that the “nose,” or the point of the wedge that has been cut from the wheel, is never to be cut off, and the cheese should never be scooped out from the rind.
In order to ensure every slice has the fullest flavor, soft cheese should be cut along the wedge.
Sandwiches and bread loaves will get crushed under a dull knife.
- Sophie Hoeller/INSIDER
Applying too much pressure with a dull knife will crush bread, according to John Doherty, chef and owner of BLACKBARN Restaurant and founder of the Heavenly HARVST Foundation. Using a sharp knife will ensure that the bread retains its optimal shape and texture.
Additionally, the best method for cutting bread loaves is actually by placing them on their sides – not flat on the cutting board
Using a knife to cut pizza can cause a big mess.
According to Doherty, slicing a pie with a knife is a bad idea – you should use a pizza wheel instead.
“A knife tends to pull cheese and toppings off and makes it messy, also impacting the appearance of the dish,” he told Insider.
Always slice against the grain of raw meat.
“To determine which way the grain is running, take a look at your raw meat. See those threadlike lines? Those are the muscle fibers. When slicing, the goal is always to shorten the muscle fibers, making the meat easier to chew,” Peisker told Insider.
Let cooked meat rest before you slice it.
Cooked meat should always rest for about five to 10 minutes before being sliced, according to Peisker.
Meat can lose moisture if you don’t let it rest before you cut into it, so it’s especially important to follow this advice for chicken, which doesn’t have a ton of moisture to spare.
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