Cutting and arranging fruits and vegetables can actually be a form of creativity, not to mention the precursor to a delicious snack or meal! With just a few simple pointers, you will no longer be turned off by our colorful and nutritious friends — fruits and veggies! So, the next time you think of fruits and vegetables–think “fun”, not “work” and “tasteless food.”
Let’s start by taking a trip to the nearest market or fruit and vegetable farm stand in your area. I say this, because often, when it is the time of season that these types of stands are open, you will get a better deal than if you shopped at your large chain grocery store.
Which fruits or vegetables trigger pleasant memories for you, or what do you just “like a lot?” Think about these things a minute and then make your choices. Some good staples to start with are potatoes, tomatoes, onion, carrots, broccoli, string beans, and peppers. Some good fruits to start with include apples, peaches, pears, and cantaloupe. What would you like to prepare? Fruit salad? A fresh veggie platter for an occasion? Or would you like to try steaming or frying your veggies? Do you like juice? The possibilities are endless.
Depending upon what you’re making, you have to adjust your cutting and preparing techniques. Invest in a good peeler and knife. The knife should be small and easy to handle.
Tomatoes: Wash tomatoes. Cut out stem/center with small knife. Cut in half along natural markings. Continue to cut in slices. Tomato may also be cut lengthwise, opposite the natural markings for use on burgers or to fry flat in a pan.
Peppers: Peppers can be cut in a variety of ways. If the peppers are the main dish, cut them lengthwise (not too long). Be sure to cut out all of the “white” parts inside and take out the seeds. If peppers are being “added” to a dish for flavor, cut them in long lengthwise strips and then cut them the other way so that you get small pieces or chunks.
Onion: Peel onion. Cut directly in half (not from top stem to bottom). Cutting this way, will give you “rings”. Cutting the other way (from stem to peak) will give you onion “slices’” that you may want to use as flavorings to various dishes.
Start Arranging and Displaying
Peppers: Peppers may be arranged around a roast, turkey, or chicken or can be displayed raw in a veggie platter.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes may be stewed for a simple sauce or arranged in wedges for a delicious salad. They may also be displayed in slices in a platter, drizzled with oil and dusted with basil, along with a cheese, such as mozzarella.
Use of Various Fruits
Fruits and fun and sweet; they can add some refreshment to a hot day or just pick you up when you need it. Try arranging various fruits (eliminating watermelon) in a large colorful bowl. Peel and cut the fruit into large chuncks for a colorful fruit platter. Fruit may also be “juiced” for those who enjoy juices. Small clementines and tangerines may also be used in garden salads and can add sweet flavor to certain dishes.