The 6 Biggest Mistakes You Make Chopping Vegetables
By Sharon Franke
You probably have to dice vegetables every day, but are you doing it safely?
1. Choosing the wrong knife
For this task, you want a heavy wide-bladed chef’s knife. It has the heft to power through tough veggies like onions and carrots, and require you to exert less pressure.
2. Using a dull knife
Not only will you have to work harder with a dull knife and you’ll get pieces with ragged edges, but you’re more likely to hurt yourself; a dull knife can “slip” sideways into your finger rather than cut straight through to the cutting board.
3. Working with the wrong cutting board
Choose a board made of wood or plastic — anything else, including glass and bamboo, is too hard and can dull your knife and/or cause it to slip. Your board should sit securely on the countertop. If it’s warped, time to chuck it. Keep it from moving as you work, by placing a damp kitchen towel underneath to anchor it in place.
4. Not creating a flat surface on your veggies
Huh, you say? A round cucumber, zucchini, or onion is going to roll, making it harder to chop. To keep them steady on the cutting board, the pros always slice veggies in half before chopping and place the flat sides down! Make sure to cut onions in half through the stem end.
5. Exposing your fingernails on the hand that’s holding the vegetable
Always keep your fingers rolled back and you won’t give yourself a bad manicure as you work.
6. Failing to cut all the pieces the same size
By cutting veggies into pieces that are all the same size, you make sure they’ll cook uniformly, leading to better cooking results. Just think, if you sauté large chunks of onions with smaller bits, the small ones will cook faster, and maybe even burn, before the larger ones are meltingly soft and tender. Start by making vertical and horizontal cuts, equally spaced, and then cutting down crosswise.