Those who know the art of cooking are well aware of the importance of a well-cut vegetable or fruit. Even the most prestigious culinary school teaching future chefs start their classes with lessons on cutting and chopping. Cutting vegetables perfectly is not as easy as it seems to be! It requires a lot of practice, precision and patience. The last part, patience, is important to ensure there is no deep cut or injury incurred by the usage of a sharp knife. Whenever it comes to using a cutting knife, it is the first rule to choose safety over precision. But what if both come together? Is that even possible?
Some tips and tricks that you would need to become a pro at cutting vegetables and fruits are as follows:
1) Washing and drying the item:
Take a step back and have some patience before hurriedly placing that fruit on your cutting board and chopping it up! Rather, before you pick up the fruit cutting knife of yours, wash the fruit and dry it neatly. Now, this can be a hassle for a lot of people who prefer cutting the fruits without patting them dry. This impatience of theirs is the real culprit behind the badly cut fruit pieces. A moist fruit is more prone to slip around the cutting board and causing imperfect pieces. Though drying it may initially look like a burden to you, the end product, the neatly sliced pieces, would surely make you want to praise yourself.
This would also keep you safe from any unpredictable cuts and slashes on your hands. Your fingers would remain safe while your fruit slices would look neat and well-sliced.
2) Choose a flat surface:
If you are someone who is not habitual of using a cutting board for vegetable cutting, it is indeed necessary for you to choose a flat surface to cut your product. If it is not placed on a uniform surface, there are great chances that it would slip off. This is especially true in the case of round items such as an onion or a potato.
Now, what’s better? Running behind a round fruit to grab it again to cut the pieces or to choose a flat surface for cutting and have a pleasant cutting experience? I am sure you’ll say the latter!
3) Use the edges of your knife:
The starting point of the knife should be avoided as much as possible while holding it. Why so? Holding that part won’t give you much grip on the knife. Eventually, you won’t be able to control it properly, which would further lead to a possibility of knife cuts and slashes. Making a slope of the knife by holding it from the starting point of its plastic/wooden handle and using its farthest side to cut the product is the perfect manner of fruit cutting. Even if it is a vegetable, you will be able to chop it off efficiently by using this method of holding the knife.
However, always remember that different vegetables and fruits require the usage of knives in different manners. It is not always the rule of thumb to hold the knife in a particular manner!
4) Make big chops for future usage:
A lot of people wonder how to cut fruit in order to store it for longer durations. The simplest answer to this question is that if you want it to stay in the real form for a long period of time, you better cut it big! Small and tiny slices of fruits tend to get spoiled way too soon. This is because they end up losing their natural moisture and colour, making them lose their taste eventually.
Hence, if you are cutting a vegetable to cook it, later on, it is a good option to cut it into bigger pieces. Nonetheless, you can always cut these pieces smaller when you gotta cook them! Even the fruit cutting methods in which you cut the fruits in tiny pieces or shreds, you need to eat them soonest possible.
5) Supporting the cutting board with a paper towel:
In case your cutting board tends to bounce while you are dicing a vegetable, you won’t be able to make the perfect pieces of the product you are cutting. This would make you wonder how to cut vegetables on a moving cutting table! Worry not. All you need to do is to damp the paper towel and place it under the cutting board. This would give some grip to the board and it would not move while you are dicing the onion!
6) Using different knives for different kinds of chopping:
Making varied kinds of chops and cuts require you to get your hands on knives of different types. Yes, you read that right! Different variations of blades are available to cut vegetables and fruits in different ways. For instance, if you need to opt for varying fruit cutting methods like chopping, slicing, dicing or mincing, you would require different blades for each of them. You don’t always need sharp blades for cutting. For instance, tomatoes are cut best using serrated blades.
7) Control the knife completely:
No matter how big or small the knife may be, you need to keep good control over it. Even if the blade is bland, you can control it well and make pieces sharp enough for your likings. If you have no idea how to cut vegetables with a bland knife, you need to learn how to hold it for complete control. For optimal control, hold it from the pinch. Clasping the blade with your forefinger and thumb would give you a complete grip on the knife.
8) Making the perfect stokes:
Vegetable cutting, as well as fruit cutting, requires precise strokes. To make perfect strokes, you need to go for single cuts rather than multiple. While holding the knife in a vertical position, you need to make it move front to back in single strokes. This is how you would be able to make perfect slices. To get some inspiration, Japanese cutting strokes is what you should look at and try to learn. They showcase the most amazing techniques of cutting vegetables and fruits and are quite pro at it!
For the perfect fruit cutting methods, you need the right kind of fruit cutting knife! The same thing goes for vegetable cutting. Knowing the difference between various kinds of cuts and the blades that help in making such cuts is the basic information. Perfecting these slices, dices, chops and cuts would require you some practice and constant exercise. Once you get a hang of it, you would be able to cook the perfect dishes that would look and taste equally good.