5 Quick Tips: Dealing with Difficult Vegetables

Dealing with Difficult Vegetables

Knife techniques are difficult. Only the best of the best can julienne a carrot with perfect form and come out with all of their fingers. Thanks to the advances in commercial kitchen equipment, anyone (almost anyone) can slice and dice the most difficult of vegetables.

In this issue of 5 Quick tips, we will uncover the techniques and equipment to properly and perfectly prepare vegetables.

Difficult Vegetables

Tomatoes – Have you ever tried slicing a tomato with an unsharpened knife? I have and you are better off throwing it into a blender. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a chef was to use a serrated knife.

  • Home: Use a serrated knife and after you make the first cut, place the tomato cut side down and cut horizontally. You will find that this is much easier and much safer.
  • Commercial: Want the best looking tomato slices on the block? Look no further than the Nemco Easy Tomato Slicer. Easily cut through even the ripest of tomatoes.

Carrots – diced, sliced or julienne are just a few of the techniques to cut carrots. The first step to carrot preparation is to invest in a safe and easy-to-use peeler. Carrots are round, be cautious when making your first cut that the carrot does not roll away on you.

  • Home: After you peel the carrot, trim the ends and cut in half. BEGINNER TIP: Use The Handle Grip to hold the knife for extra stability.
  • Commercial: The Nemco Monster FryKutter is not just for potatoes – cut firm vegetables like carrots and celery faster and easier than ever before.

Lettuce – The easiest way to cut a head of lettuce is to remove the core. To achieve this, hold the head in both hands with the core down and bring the head down sharply on a hard surface to loosen the core.

  • Home: Once the lettuce is washed, use paper towels or a salad spinner to dry. Cut in half and half again, then lightly press down on the lettuce to loosen and begin chopping to your desired size. Remember to keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board for stability.
  • Commercial: Imagine the menu possibilities if you can cut an entire case of pre-washed and pre-cored lettuce in less than 3 minutes with the Nemco Easy LettuceKutter.

Potatoes – The challenge with cutting potatoes is the size inconsistency; which translates into various degrees of cooked or uncooked potatoes.

Onion – The internet is full of advise on ways to reduce tears while cutting an onion, but according to Real Simple, the truth is “the best way to reduce tears when chopping an onion is to minimize the amount of time you spend working with it.”

  • Home: Cut the stem end off of the onion, cut in half and remove the skin. Hold the onion with the claw technique and make angled cuts. Once you go around the entire onion, make cross-wise cuts. Check out this great tutorial for a more detailed explanation and pictures.
  • Commercial: Buy the Nemco Easy Onion Slicer II. Compact, portable and simple to use–requiring no blade tightening EVER.

Check out the wide variety of food slicers, cutters and peelers over at foodpros.com.

Are you a convenience store operator? Comment below and tell us about your experiences with preparing fresh vegetables on site. We would love to hear of any challenges you have overcome.

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