Find out the best way to peel, slice, and dice these fruits!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think too much about my technique when cutting fruits, or veggies, for that matter. My mom showed me how she did it and I’ve been doing it that way ever since! While there are lots of cooking and baking tips from my mother and grandmother that have served me well over the years, I’ve found a few new tips and tricks of my own that work even better.
You might not think there’s a right or wrong way to cut fruit as long as it gets eaten in the end. However, there are certainly advantages to being efficient with prep work like cutting, slicing, and dicing. You’ll get more edible fruit if you peel it properly, and you’ll be faster as well as safer with these tips.
There are a few ways to cut oranges, but I personally love orange rings. Sure, you can just slice the orange, peel and all, but with a few well-placed cuts, you can get gorgeous orange rings without the peel.
Start by cutting off the top and bottom of the orange, just deep enough to get to the meat of it. Then, stand the orange upright on one of the flat sides. Cut away a section of the peel from the top all the way down to your cutting board. Be sure that you are making a clean slice and removing all of the white pith. Use the first slice as a guide, continuing to cut little sections all the way around the fruit until all of the peel and pith are gone. Finally, cut the peeled orange into beautiful, peel-free rings!
As with oranges and most other fruits, there are a few ways to cut peaches, depending on what you want to use them for. Some recipes call for the skin on, while others call for a peeled peach. If you’re looking for an easy way to peel a peach, I’ve got just the thing!
This method is called blanching and shocking. It sounds dramatic, but it’s basically dipping a whole unpeeled peach in boiling water followed by a chilly dive into icy water. The hot followed immediately by cold causes the peel to separate from the meat of the fruit.
Before we get into all that, it’s important to note that the easiest peaches to peel and pit are freestone peaches. The pit separates more easily than other kinds of peaches. So, first things first. Cut an “X” on the bottom of the peach. This will help the skin peel away. Then it’s time to blanch. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place a peach in the pot, making sure it’s fully submerged. Leave it in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the peach and immediately place it into a bowl of water and ice. Leave it in the water for about 10 seconds.
You should be able to peel the skin away from the peach with your fingers, but you may need a paring knife to get started. Freestone peaches are soft enough that you can cut a line around the middle and twist them open. The pit should come out fairly easily. From there, it’s a matter of slices or dicing!
Diced, sliced, peeled, boiled, tomatoes can be prepared any number of ways. Before getting into all that, however, let’s start with coring. You’ll want to core your tomato, no matter how you’re using it. To do this, Stacy Ballis from My Recipe says to “hold the tomato firmly on your cutting board with one hand. With the other hand, use the tip of your sharp paring knife to slice in an angled circle around the core, turning the tomato as you go, making a pyramid-shaped divot, and remove the core.”
Now let’s talk about a few ways to prepare tomatoes. For slices, hold the tomato up on its side, firmly, with your fingers tucked under. Using your serrated blade, make gently sawing movements to make slices the thickness you prefer. For dicing, you’ll first want to determine the size of dice by slicing your tomato the thickness of the cube of tomato you want. Lay the slices down flat on your cutting board, and slice into strips about the same thickness as the slice, then turn and slice the strips into cubes. For an extensive list of how to prep tomatoes for any dish, check out this article!
I used to have the hardest time cutting avocados, but after trying out this method, I’m sold! Start by removing the little wooded stem at the top of the avocado. Not all avocados have them, but it’s good to check! Then, with a paring knife, slice down to the pit in the center of the avocado. Then carefully spin the avocado around, maintaining the blade’s contact with the pit, until you’ve rotated it fully.
Next, twist the halves apart. The pit will be in one of the halves. To remove the pit, take the heel of a sturdy knife, and carefully tap it into the pit to embed it. Then rotate the knife to remove the pit. Finally, go back to your paring knife and slice the meat of the avocado. Be careful not to cut through the peel! Using a large spoon, simply scoop out the “perforated” avocado slices!
London, from Evolving table, explains the first step to properly dicing a mango. “Place mango on a cutting board with the stem facing up. Insert a sharp knife about ¼-inch to the right of the midline. Starting from the top of the fruit, cut all of the way down to the bottom. Repeat this process with the left side of the mango. You should have 3 slices of mango at this point (2 cheeks and 1 midsection with the pit.)”
Next, take the two “cheeks” and make vertical slits with your paring knife – being careful not to cut through the skin. Turn the mango and make another set of vertical slits (resulting in mango cubes.) Then, separate the mango from the skin by using either a knife, a spoon, or your thumbs. If there is any edible mango from the midsection with the pit, you can cut around the pit and repeat the process of vertical slits and scooping out the meat of the mango!
Ah, pineapples. What a delicious, tropical treat that is unfortunately difficult to know how to cut! Surprisingly, you’ll start by chopping the bottom and top off. Then, cut it in half. You’ll need a sturdy knife, as you’ll be cutting through the core of the pineapple. Cut each half in half again – resulting in 4 pieces of pineapple.
One by one, stand the slices up and cut away the core. You should be able to see it clearly at this point. Once all the core is cut away, cut each slice in half again, for a total of 8 slices. Finally, cut the prickly skin of the pineapple away. Having 8 smaller slices helps to make this step easier. All that’s left to do is dice up the pineapple and you’re good to go!SKM: below-content placeholder