Cooking food is only half the battle. When it comes to getting dinner on the table, prepping the food is also an important part of the process. However, if you don't know the right knife hacks, chopping up your meat and produce can take a lot longer than you want it to. Not to mention, if you don't hold the knife properly, those fingertips could be at risk!
That's why we rounded up some of our favorite clever knife hacks for you to try at home. From a method for cutting an onion that won't make you cry to cutting up perfect round eggplant slices every time, here are the knife hacks you need to know when cooking at home.
Don't chop the root of the onion
When dicing an onion, don't cut off the root just yet! The root is where the gas hormones of the onion are, which makes your eyes tear up while chopping. If you want to avoid shedding another tear while chopping up onions, Slice the onion along the lines just far enough until you hit the "bottom" which is the root. Then turn and slice the onion so you make small, diced shapes. Once you hit the root, compost the bottom.
Pierce the garlic in skin to get the clove out
Sick of having to peel the garlic and completely ruin your nails in the process? No more! Using a small paring knife, pierce the garlic while it's still in the skin and attached to the bulb. Turn it slightly and pull it out of the peel. Want even more garlic flavor in your recipes? Try roasting them!
Smash garlic on the side
Another easy trick for peeling garlic is to smash it with the side of your knife! This will help in peeling it, but also breaking down pieces so you can chop it thinly to "mince" it if need be.
"Bear claw" your hand to protect it
This method will help you protect those beautiful fingers of yours while you chop! For the hand that isn't holding the knife, tuck your fingertips underneath your knuckles to protect them. This helps to protect the tips as you chop.
Sharpen your knife with the bottom of a ceramic mug
Are your knives getting a little dull? Grab a ceramic mug! Flip it over and use that bottom, coarse part of the ceramic mug to sharpen your knife. Or maybe it's time to get new knives! Here are The 10 Best Kitchen Knife Sets Under $100.
Slice a bell pepper from the inside
The skin of bell peppers can be tough to slice through, so instead, slice from the inside! Chop the bell pepper in half and compost the seeds and the stem. You can easily cut up thin slices from there!
Score an eggplant before slicing it
It can be hard to get perfectly even slices of eggplant, so try this trick! Make small cuts (also known as scoring) on the top of the eggplant to mark how thick you want your slices to be. From there, cut the slices from the places you marked with your knife to make even circles every time!
Slice sandwiches with a serrated knife
The last thing you want is to totally torture your beautiful sandwich with a bad knife! Using a serrated knife will help in slicing up your sandwich perfectly without squishing it down and having all of those delicious toppings slide out the sides.
Slice meat against the grain
Next time you cut up a steak, take a look at where the grain is. The "grain" will be the lines of the steak meat. By cutting perpendicular to it, you create really juicy pieces. Cutting with the grain will result in chewier pieces of steak, which we all know isn't exactly a pleasant eating experience.
Slice up lettuce for smaller, bite-sized pieces
Sometimes those lettuce leaves are way too big to serve! Instead, before even breaking off the leaves from the stem, chop them up from the top all the way down to the root. This will create nice, bite-sized pieces for your salads.
Chop round objects in halves, then quarters, and so on
For anything round (like apples, pears, tomatoes, carrots, and so on), slice them in halves for perfect pieces. To do so, slice the object in half, then in half again. At this point you should have quarters, so slice those quarters in half and you have 8 perfect slices! For thinner objects such as carrots, simply quarter them, then chop whatever length you need.
Chop potatoes in half, then into fry shapes before dicing
Baking up some homemade fries? You can easily chop up the potato yourself! Slice the tomato in half the long way, then place the potato flat-side down on the cutting board. Slice up the potato into long, thin, vertical pieces. Then slice those pieces into fry shapes!
Put rubber bands on the handle
Worried about chopping with a big chef's knife? Take a few rubber bands and wrap them on the handle of your knife. This will create a steady grip so your hands won't slip if they get a little messy.
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