Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...
Spring has sprung… finally! Time to put away those recipes for hearty soups and stews and focus on the fresh fruits and veggies of the season. If you’re like some people, you’ve avoided preparing dishes that include certain fruits and vegetables because, really, you just don’t know how to peel, slice, and dice them.
You see them at the market, tempting you with the thrill of exotic menu ideas, beautiful color, and the promise of juicy and tasty goodness. Try this Zesty Mango Salsa recipe.
Hold the mango on the cutting surface in front of you lengthwise (vertically), so the stem is at the top.
Use the serrated knife to cut off the "cheeks" (the fatter sides of the mango), from both the left and right sides, leaving the pit and surrounding fruit with the stem at the top.
Use a small paring knife and score the inside of the cheeks (where the fruit is). To score, make shallow cuts into the fruit about half an inch apart, both vertically then across horizontally.
Next, hold the cheeks of the fruit at its edges on either side and gently pull back (like you're going to turn it inside out) so that the scored fruit stands up.
Trim the scored pieces away from the skin with the paring knife so that you have cubes of the mango fruit left to eat.
Use your paring knife to gently trim the fruit away from the remaining pit of the mango and cut that portion into small cubes to serve.
Really, it's nothing to cry over. Peeling, slicing, and dicing onions is as easy as pie. Once you perfect your skill, use fresh onions for anything from topping your backyard barbeque burgers to perking up your picnic salsa. Try this Grilled Fontina and Onion Pizza recipe.
For sliced and diced onions:
Cut your onion in half vertically to produce halves. Place the halves cut side down and slice off the top and bottom (about half an inch) of each half.
Use the tip of your knife to lift up a bit of the onion's skin then, with your hands, peel back the top layer of skin from each half to expose the onion.
Rinse the onion under cold water to remove any leftover skin.
Cut each of the halves vertically into slices.
To dice the onion, slice it first vertically, then horizontally across to make small, squared chunks.
For rings of onions:
Use a chef's knife to slice off the top and bottom (about half an inch) of the onion.
Use the tip of your knife to lift up a bit of the onion's skin then, with your hands, peel back the top layer of skin from around the onion.
Place the onion on the cutting surface with the top and bottom facing left/right. Carefully hold the onion with one hand, and begin to cut vertical slices into the onion starting from one end and moving toward the other.
Pop out the inner rings of the onion from each slice to produce several onion ring slices in varying sizes.
Ready for a tropical vacation with the luscious fruits that come with it? Save yourself a trip and enjoy some of the same fruits at home by learning how to peel and slice a pineapple. This method will provide you with pretty pineapple rings. You'll need a large chef's knife (one with a sharp and sturdy long blade) as well as a small paring knife (a small knife with a narrow blade used for making intricate cuts). For nice baked goods with fresh pineapple, try a springtime dessert like Pineapple Cheesecake Bars.
Lay the pineapple on its side and use a chef's knife to cut off the top portion (the green leaves and about an inch or two into the fruit), and the bottom part (about 2-inches) of the pineapple.
Stand the pineapple up vertically on your cutting surface. Continue using the chef's knife and slice the skin off from the top to the bottom in sections. Try to follow the curve of the fruit and try to cut off the "eyes" (little brown portions) that remain on the fruit. Continue slicing the skin off, top to bottom, all the way around the fruit.
Once all the skin is removed, place the pineapple back on its side so you can cut slices as thick—or thin—as you'd like.
Use your paring knife to carefully cut out the hard, center core from the inside of each of your slices to produce a ring of pineapple.
Now that spring has sprung, be sure you're making the most of it by enjoying the fruits and vegetables of the season. Don't leave any fresh produce unused because before you know it, winter will be here!
you've peeled, sliced & diced… now what?
How to grill your vegetables
There's nothing like enjoying the flavor of fresh vegetables whether you grow them yourself or pick them up at the market. One of the best ways to cook vegetables is to put them on a grill.