While veggie chopping may not be a science, it is an art. Knowing how to chop vegetables the right way saves time and increases safety. One false move and you could be eating dinner in the emergency room – if only they served it.
You may chop veggies every day, but are you making these costly mistakes?
1. Using the wrong knife
When chopping vegetables you want to be sure you have the right knife in hand to make the task easier to complete. Large knives are cumbersome, while certain edges may shred the veggie instead of slicing it in a neat and tidy fashion. Tough vegetables, like onions, require less pressure when slicing, while herbs and tomatoes need just the right touch. Wide-bladed chef’s knives are universal and work well for most vegetables.
2. Using a dull knife
There’s nothing worse than using a dull knife. Not only is it unsafe, but can make you work harder than you have to. Your vegetables turn out unsightly with ragged edges and less than perfect shapes. Having your knives regularly sharpened makes chopping easier, with less safety hazards.
3. Using the wrong cutting board
The best cutting board to use for chopping vegetables is made of hard plastic or wood. Other materials, such as glass or bamboo are too hard and may cause the knife to slip when slicing. Glass or bamboo cutting boards also dull the knife. It is important that the cutting board not slip when chopping on the countertop. If the cutting board slides, place a towel underneath to secure it in place. A damp towel works wonders.
4. Not keeping your veggies steady on a secure surface
Round vegetables, like onions, zucchini, or cucumber tend to roll and can be difficult to slice. Try keeping the steady on a flat cutting board that is secure and does not move. Cut onions in half through the inside of the stem and lay the flat side down when chopping. When chopping round veggies, slice in half and situate the flat side down on the cutting board.
5. Not cutting uniform sizes
When cooking veggies, it is important to chop them in a uniform manner. Large chunks take longer to cook than smaller sizes. For even sautéing and cooking, keep the pieces the same size. Cut the vegetable vertical and then horizontal, evenly spaced, with crosswise slices. Your veggies will be uniform and pleasing to the eye.
6. Not keeping your fingernails clean
Vegetables can be cumbersome when chopping and are difficult to manage with your fingers. Many people have a bad habit of holding the veggies in place with their fingernails. If your nails are not clean and disinfected, a beautiful salad may turn into a germ-infested display. Use a nailbrush and keep the manicure sanitary at all times.
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.