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Cooking 101: Fresh fruit & vegetable exposé


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.

Washing asparagus

You may be new to “uncovering” some of the season’s most enticing and versatile fruits and veggies, but don’t be afraid of them. Sometimes you just need a few tips to set you on your way to preparing food that is new to you.

There is more than one way to get things peeled and sliced, but what’s most important is that you’re comfortable (and safe) with the option you choose. Below are a few methods to help you perfect your peeling and simplify your slicing of some of the season’s finest fresh foods.


These long green stalks are seen as the spokesman of springtime vegetables. Asparagus is good for you, easy to cook and versatile. Knowing how to “cut” asparagus will ensure that you keep the good parts for eating and the not-so-good parts for the compost pile. And the best part? You don’t even need a knife to cut your asparagus! Try Easy Grilled Asparagus with Shaved Parmesan for a special spring treat.

  1. After washing and draining your asparagus, hold each individual spear with two fingers from one hand on the base and two fingers from the other hand on the tip.
  2. Gently bend the asparagus (you can use a rolling motion on both ends, like you’re peddling a bike with your hands), looking for the spot where it seems most vulnerable to break.
  3. When you find the right spot, snap the asparagus in two, discarding the base portion of the vegetable and leaving the tip portion for cooking.


The warm weather is finally here and the fruit salad at your favorite restaurant has fresh kiwi — ym! Think about how easy it would be to replicate that salad at home.

Along with being so tasty, accessible, and a great source of vitamin C, (did you know the kiwi is actually a berry?) peeling kiwi can sometimes confuse and confound people. You might not even know what this vibrant green fruit looks like in the market. It comes in the shape — and approximate size — of a hen’s egg and has a thin, fuzzy brown skin. Follow the steps, below, for easy steps to “peeling” a kiwi so you don’t have to wait to visit your favorite restaurant to enjoy it!

This method of peeling a kiwi will help ensure you have round slices and doesn’t even require much use of your knife until after the kiwi is free of its skin. Take care — kiwi is very slippery! Also, try this Simple Kiwi Fruit Salad.

  1. Use a paring knife (a small knife with a narrow blade used for making intricate cuts) to cut the ends off the top and bottom of the kiwi (about half an inch on either side).
  2. Hold the kiwi in the palm of your hand and insert a large dinner spoon between the fruit and skin of the kiwi.
  3. Use the spoon to move up and down the length of the kiwi to gently separate the fruit from the skin, all the way around the fruit.
  4. Flip the kiwi and insert the spoon into the other end, following the step above, to free it entirely from its skin.
  5. Loosen the fruit from the skin and it should easily slide free. You can then cut the fruit into pretty round slices.

Up next: Mangoes, onions, and pineapples >>

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