Guide to Cutting Vegetables | F.N. Sharp Blog


I think we can all agree that cutting vegetables takes the patience of a saint. I mean, how many times have you stood over your cutting board and mumbled a few choice words that would make your mother blush while you attempted to cut vegetables that seemed to intentionally make your life difficult?

Did you eventually give up and decide to eat that bag of frozen tater tots from the back of your freezer? “Taters are vegetables”, you told yourself. 

The thing is, using fresh vegetables in your recipes is not only way better for your health, but also makes you look like a very capable person. And if there’s one thing that’s better than vital health, it’s feeling superior to your friends and family. 

To that end, we are about to make your life a whole lot simpler by sharing the simplest techniques to cutting some of the most popular vegetables.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:

The F.N. Sharp Guide to Cutting Up Those Veggies 

When it comes to prepping fresh veggies, one of the biggest things to get right is using the right tools for the job. So, before we even get into the specifics of how to cut the darn things, let’s talk about knives.

The Best Knives for Cutting Veggies

You wouldn’t try flipping a pancake with a whisk or beating eggs with a carrot peeler. The same is true for slicing, chopping and dicing; you’ve got to use the right tool, and in this case, that means the right knife.  Here are four knives that will help you prep veggies like a pro. 

The Chef’s Knife

Perhaps the most classic of knives, the chef’s knife is great for slicing, dicing and mincing most types of veggies.

Since the chef’s knife is bigger and a bit heavier than some of the other knives on this list, it’s a good option for cutting through sweet potatoes, and butternut squash, spaghetti squash and other dense veggies.

Knife Knowledge 101: How to Use a Chef’s Knife

The Santoku Knife

santoku knife with swiss chard and bok choy

If you need to create uniform cuts, then reach for the Santoku knife.

This Japanese-style chef knife features a Granton edge, which helps prevent ingredients from sticking to the blade between cuts and ensure uniform slicing. Think matchstick carrots, thinly sliced mushrooms and a perfectly sliced medley of veggies for a colorfully delicious ratatouille.

Knife Knowledge 101: Top Uses for a Santoku Knife

The Paring Knife

paring knife with whole and sliced garlic gloves

Most of us can probably remember our mothers or grandmothers sitting at the kitchen table with a little paring knife in hand, cutting up something-or-other.

This handy little knife is great for delicate, in-hand work like peeling, segmenting and trimming veggies like potatoes and tomatoes, as well as for slicing small ingredients like garlic, shallots or fresh herbs.

Knife Knowledge 101: Top Uses for a Paring Knife 

The Utility Knife

Utility Knife for Cutting Vegetables

Another workhorse of knives, the utility knife offers plenty of uses in the kitchen, including slicing through tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and other mid-sized veggies.

Although utility knives usually come serrated, a straight-edged utility knife (like this F.N. Sharp beautycan do the job better, as long as it’s sharp.

Get All of the F.N. Sharp Essentials: The 6-Knife Set & Magnetic Knife Block

How to Cut 22 Types of Veggies

We’ve decided to make your life even easier. We’ll not only tell you how to cut the following 22 veggies, but we’ll also tell you how to choose the right ones and how to store them after prepping. You’re welcome. 

How to Cut Acorn Squash

sliced and whole acorn squash on black and wooden background

Best Knife for the Job – Western Chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

How to Choose – Look for smooth skin that has a nice balance of green and orange tones. Also choose one that is heavy for its size, as this one will be loaded with water and not dried out. There should be no soft spots. 

How to Cut – Roasted acorn squash makes a delicious side dish in the fall. To make prepping really easy, pierce the skin in a few places, then microwave on high for 2 minutes and let stand for a few minutes. Next, cut the squash in half and remove all of the inner fiber and seeds. Then cut into the size and shape you desire for roasting. You can cut along the length of each half, leaving you with long wedges, or you can cut into cubes. 

How to Store – If you have too much cut squash, you can simply wrap the raw pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to four days. Cooked squash can be sealed and kept in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to 12 months.

How to Cut Artichokes

chef knife with artichoke sliced in half on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese Santoku, or utility knife and/or paring knife or kitchen shears.

How to Choose – Look for an artichoke that feels heavy for its size and has tightly-packed leaves (also known as “bracts”). The further spread apart the bracts, the less fresh the artichoke.

How to Cut – You’ll definitely need a sharp knife for this one as artichokes are pretty tough. Start by slicing off about half an inch from the top (crown) so you’ll have a flat surface to work with. This also snips off most of the pointy spikes of the bracts in one go. Then, holding the artichoke by the stalk, snip off any remaining pointy spikes from the bracts.. 

To reach the artichoke’s most-valued part – the heart – you’ll need to remove both the outer and inner bracts until you reach the hair-like choke. Then carefully remove all of the choke from the heart.

Check out this video to see how to get to the artichoke heart in action:

Tip – The artichoke stem is also edible and delicious, so you can either slice off the brown end before grilling, or slice off the stem completely to serve roasted artichoke upright and save the stem for another dish.

How to Store – Unwashed artichokes can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you notice the leaves begin to spread, cook as soon as possible. For cooked artichokes, refrigerate within two hours of cooking in a shallow, airtight container or wrap tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for up to five days. If freezing, sprinkle with some lemon juice to prevent darkening and store in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container for up to a year.

More on Artichokes: Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas

How to Cut Asparagus

How to Cut Asparagus

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for thin spears that are straight with closed tips. Avoid curved or wilted spears with open tips. 

How to Cut – Cut or snap off two inches of the stalk, then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to trim any tough, woody stems. Then simply roast, steam or grill. 

How to Store – If you’re not going to use asparagus right away, then do not wash it (and certainly don’t soak it). Simply trim off the ends and stand the stalks upright in a jar with about an inch of water at the bottom. Cover the jar with plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days. 

Add Some Ham and Hollandaise to Your Asparagus With This F.N. Sharp Recipe:
🔪 Hollandaise Ham & Asparagus Sandwich

How to Cut Bok Choy

three bok choy on wooden surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

How to Choose – Look for bok choy stalks that are pure white, not a brown/rusty color. The stalks should also be firm (not wilted) with leaves that are dark green. 

How to Cut – Chop an inch from the bottom of the stalk before giving it a good washing under cool running water. You can either separate the individual stalks with your fingers, or leave them together and give a rough chop for a salad or to use in a stir fry. 

How to Store – Leave the bok choy unwashed if you’re not going to use it right away. Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How to Cut Broccoli

How to Cut Broccoli

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku and paring knife.

How to Choose – Look for a firm head with closed florets. There should be no odor and the head should be dark green. 

How to Cut – Wash broccoli head under cool tap water and shake off excess, then cut off the large stalk with your chef’s knife or santoku. Many people throw this away but it’s actually very sweet and delicious. Just trim off outer tough skin with a veggie peeler or paring knife and cut the stalk into long strips for a dipping plate, or you can dice them up to use in rice dishes. Turn the head over to see all of the individual florets and cut these apart. You can either leave the florets large for a dip tray or cut them into smaller pieces. 

How to Store – Do not wash until ready. Fresh broccoli can last in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to freeze, you will need to wash and cut the broccoli into little florets. Steam these for about five minutes, then immediately put in ice water to stop cooking and prevent them from getting mushy. Place in sealed bags or containers and into the freezer for up to 12 months.

How to Cut Brussels Sprouts

How to Cut Brussels Sprouts

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, utility or paring knife.

How to Choose – When possible, select Brussel sprouts that have been left on the stalk. You can find these at farmer’s markets. If not available, look for brightly colored firm heads. 

How to Cut – Remove from stalk and cut away the little remaining stem. If you’ve purchased sprouts off the stem, simply submerge in cool water and move around for a few minutes to clean, then pat dry. You can leave the sprouts whole or slice in half before roasting them. 

Store – You may refrigerate Brussel sprouts in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Add Brussels Sprouts to Your Meal Planning: 21 Healthy One-Pan Meal Ideas

How to Cut Butternut Squash

How to Cut Butternut Squash

Best Knife for the Job Western chef’s knife for its length and heft.

How to Choose – Look for an even cream color. The squash should also be firm (no soft spots) and heavy for its size.  

How to Cut – Give the squash a rinse, then cut lengthwise. Remove the inner fibers and seeds. Some people prefer to peel the skin before cutting into medium-sized squares and roasting, but it’s not necessary. 

How to Store – A whole uncut squash can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a month. Once you’ve cut it, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

How to Cut Cabbage

cabbage slices and quarter on wooden surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

How to Choose – Look for heads with compact, shiny leaves. Heads should feel heavy for their size and be free of blemishes. 

How to Cut – Remove the outer leaves, then cut cabbage in half to remove the tough, inner core. From here you can either cut into wedges or rough chop into smaller chunks.  

How to Store – A whole head can be refrigerated for up to 7 days in an airtight plastic bag. If you’ve used half a head and want to save the other half, be sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap and use within 2 to 3 days. 

Add a Little Cabbage to your Life with These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Japanese-Style Hamburger Steaks with Pickled Cabbage
🔪 Fried Cabbage and Bacon Hand Pies
🔪 Chicken and Veggie Potstickers with Spicy Sesame Dipping Sauce

How to Cut Cauliflower

cauliflower head on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

How to Choose – Look for a compact head with creamy white curds and bright green attached leaves. Avoid heads with brown spots. 

How to Cut – Don’t wash until you’re ready to use. Then rinse under cool running water. Remove the outer leaves, stem and core. You can cut off the individual florets for a dipping tray or roasting. You can also mince up the cauliflower for salads, or pack in some extra veggies in rice dishes by replacing the rice with cauliflower rice. 

How to Store – You can refrigerate cauliflower in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.

Try the Cauliflower Rice Recipe From This List: 21 Healthy One-Pot Meal Ideas

How to Cut Celery

whole and sliced celery in wooden bowls on textured black surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for straight, stiff stalks that have fresh, not wilted, leaves. They should smell fresh and not musty. 

How to Cut – Chop off about an inch from the bottom (the white part), then separate individual stalks. Rinse these well. You can trim off additional bottoms of each stalk if necessary. Then either leave stalks as is and fill with cream cheese or peanut butter for a quick snack, or dice it up to add to soups and stews, chicken and tuna salad and other recipes that call for diced celery. 

How to Store – Prepare the celery into the trimmed individual stalks, then store in the fridge in a Tupperware container, covered in water to keep crisp.

Chop up Some Celery for This F.N. Sharp Recipe:
🔪 Paleo Chicken Sauce Tomat

How to Cut Fennel

sliced fennel with chef knife

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

How to Choose – Look for bulbs that feel heavy for their size and have tightly packed layers. No stalks should feel wilted or rubbery. 

How to Cut – Trim off the fennel stalks close to where they connect to the bulb. You can save the stalks and top fronds for something else like making stock. The fronds are also great raw in a salad. Trim a bit of the bottom of the bulb so it can sit stable on your cutting board (check out our F.N. Sharp guide for more on cutting boards and which is best for your knives). Then, slice down through the middle of the bulb. Next, cut those halves into quarters, then cut as per your recipe. Generally, the quarters will be sliced crosswise to get thin slices. 

How to Store – Loosely wrap in plastic and store in your crisper drawer for up to one week. 

Have Some Fennel With This Gourmet F.N. Sharp Recipe:
🔪 Seared Salmon With Mint Pea Risotto

How to Cut Green Onions (Scallions)

whole and diced scallions on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, utility or paring knife.

Choose – Look for stalks with fresh, green tops with slightly white ends. Be sure to avoid yellowing tops or greens that have wilted. 

Cut – Rinse thoroughly, then trim the roots and the very tops of the greens. Chop into desired width slices. 

Store – Green onions can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week.

Have Some Green Onions With These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Instant Pot Arroz con Pollo
🔪 Instant Pot Butter Chicken

How to Cut Leeks

leek bunches on canvas cloth in wooden container

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, or utility knife.

How to Choose – Stalks should be firm and crisp, not wilted. Look for as much white and light green as possible. This is one veggie where dark green is no good. 

How to Cut – These buggers are grown in sandy soil so it’s important to wash them thoroughly. Cut off the root end, then slice the leek in half vertically. Chop into smaller pieces and place these in a bowl of cold water. Move them around, then drain the pieces. Then cut into whatever size pieces your recipe calls for. 

How to Store – Unwashed leeks may be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to two weeks.

How to Cut Lettuce

How to Cut Lettuce

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

How to Choose – Iceberg lettuce heads should be compact and heavy for their size. Avoid any heads with loose, wilted leaves. Romaine lettuce heads should have closely bunched leaves that look crisp and fresh, not wilted.  

How to Cut – Remove any loose outer leaves on your iceberg lettuce head. You can easily loosen the core by giving the head a good hit, core down, on the kitchen counter. The core should pull right out. You can then chop or slice the head, then place into a colander for a good rinse and pat dry or use a salad spinner. For romaine heads, chop off the bottom of the stalk, and loosen each leaf. Wash these well and spin or pat dry. You can then chop up for a salad. 

How to Store – Both iceberg and romaine lettuce can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.

Chop Up Some Lettuce for This F.N. Sharp Recipe:
🔪 Chopped Steakhouse Salad With Tarragon Vinaigrette Dressing

How to Cut Kale

How to Cut Kale

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for dark green bunches that have small to medium leaves. Avoid any brown or yellow leaves. 

How to Cut – Wash the bunch well. Individual leaves may simply be pulled apart. Using your hand or a knife, remove the stalk and central vein. You can then chop or tear the leaves up for cooking. If you’re going to eat the kale raw, it’s best to let the leaves marinate in a dressing to soften them up a bit. 

How to Store – Store kale in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.

How to Cut Jicama

whole and sliced jicama on wooden surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for small or medium jicama that is shiny without any blemishes. 

How to Cut – You will have to remove the skin of the jicama because it is not edible. First give it a good scrub to remove any dirt. Then peel it using a paring knife or peeler. Next, you may cut the jicama into cubes, strips or slices, depending on your recipe. Jicama may be eaten raw or cooked. 

Tip: Jicama is very much like potato in that it will begin to discolor once you’ve started cutting it. Simply submerge jicama slices or pieces in a bowl of cool water with a few drops of lemon juice to stop discoloration. 

How to Store – Uncut jicama can be stored in a cool, dry place uncovered for up to 3 weeks. Warning: Jicama will mold if it gets wet or is stored in a damp area. Once you cut your jicama, refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 weeks. 

How to Cut Onions

diced red onion with chef's knife on wooden cutting board with onion half in background

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for onions that have smooth and dry outer skin. There should be no discolored or black patches. 

How to Cut – To reduce the chance of crying your eyes out, refrigerate the onion for an hour beforehand and make sure your knife is sharp enough for the job (dull knives love sliding all over onions) Then, start with cutting the onion in half from poll to poll (root to stem) and remove the layers of papery outer skin. Lay each half down on its flat side for stability. From here you can slice, chop and mince as desired – just be sure to keep those root ends in tact during the duration of cutting (a little trick from Gordon Ramsay

How to Store – Whole onions may be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one month. Just don’t store them next to potatoes. Chopped or sliced onion may be placed in a tightly sealed container and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Need to see how to dice an onion in action? Check out this F.N. Sharp how-to video!

Make those Onions Cry With These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Caramelized Onion Dip
🔪 Mahi Fish Tacos With Mango Poblano Salsa

How to Cut Mushrooms

santoku knife slicing mushroom on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, utility knife or paring knife.

How to Choose – Look for button mushrooms that are firm with a creamy color. Avoid any that have soft spots or are a bit too pungent. 

How to Cut – Use a damp paper towel to gently wipe away dirt from the mushrooms. Next, cut off the stems, then place the cap flat side down and slice them perpendicular to the board. If desired, you can cut these thin slices in half. 

How to Store – Mushrooms may be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week. DO NOT wash them until you are ready to use them.

Munch on Some Mushrooms With These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Stuffed Mushrooms
🔪 Easy Beef Stroganoff
🔪 The Full Irish Omelete
🔪 Porcini Mushroom Risotto

How to Cut Potatoes

assortment of potatoes on wooden surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for potatoes that are firm with no soft spots and smooth outer skin. Avoid potatoes that are cut, bruised, discolored, or have eyes. 

How to Cut – Give a good rinse under the tap, then peel off the outer skin. Cut in half lengthwise. Now from here you can continue to cut thin strips along the length for fries, or cut strips then cut smaller squares. It all depends on your recipe. Sweet potatoes are great left in bigger chunks, then roasted in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. 

How to Store – Never store potatoes in the fridge. Store them in a cool, dark location for up to 2 months.

Cut Up Some Potatoes for These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 MasterChef Steak & Sweet Potato Hash
🔪 Sweet and Savory Roasted Sweet Potato Bowl
🔪 Japanese-Style Creamy Potato Salad
🔪 Easy Sheet Pan Sambal Chicken and Potatoes
🔪 Espagnole T-Bone Steak & Potato Wedges
🔪 Splendiferous Veggie Soup

How to Cut Radishes

How to Cut Radishes

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, utility or paring knife

How to Choose – Look for radishes with a bright green top and brightly colored roots, if still intact. Also give the radishes a gentle squeeze to make sure it’s firm.

How to Cut – Give the radish a good rinse under cold water to remove any dirt, then place on your cutting board and slice off both the root and stem ends. Then, lay the radish on the cutting board and begin slicing from one of the cut ends. If you need a little stability, take a thin slice off of one of the sides, then lay the radish down on that side and begin cutting into slices. If your recipe calls for radishes cut julienne-style, simply follow the steps for slicing, then cut the slices into thin strips. For diced radishes, follow the steps for cutting into strips, then dice the strips into uniform pieces. 

How to Store – For storing fresh radishes, you have a few options. You can store them on your countertop in a large, deep bowl filled with cold water. Simply arrange untrimmed and unwashed radishes in the bowl with the bulbs and leaves sticking out and fill the bowl with cold water until the bulbs are partially submerged with the leaves sticking out of the water. Be sure to change the water daily and monitor the coloring of the radishes – if the stems begin drooping or the leaves appear limp, then it’s time to cut up those radishes.

If you’d rather store your radishes in the refrigerator, you can store them in a mason jar. For this option, you’ll want to wash first, then remove the tops of the radishes to remove the roots and leaves. Then, place radishes in a mason jar and fill with water until the bulbs are completely submerged. Cover the jar with a lid and store for up to 10 days.

If you don’t have any mason jars, you can also store your radishes in a plastic bag. For this method, keep the radishes unwashed and trim off the roots and leaves. Then, slightly dampen a few pieces of paper towels and use them to line the plastic bag. Place the radishes in the bag and ensure each is arranged between the paper towels on both sides. Then, seal the bag by squeezing out any excess air and store in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.

Try Dicing up Some Radishes for These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Homemade Tzatziki Sauce With Herbed Pita Chips
🔪 Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Radish Jalapeno Slaw

How to Cut Shallots

F.N. Sharp Paring Knife with shallots

Best Knife for the Job – The utility or paring knife.

How to Choose – Look for shallots that are firm and heavy for their size with no soft spots. Smaller shallots are younger and milder in taste than larger shallots, which will taste more like their garlic and onion cousins.

How to Cut – Slice off the top end of the shallot, then cut in half lengthwise. Remove the skin from the two halves, then lay each half cut-side down on your cutting board. Next, use your knife to make horizontal slits from the cut end to the root end, leaving the root end intact as you go. The size of the slits will determine the size of your dice or mince – the closer together they are, the finer the mince.  Once you’ve made your slits, turn the shallot a quarter of the way and start slicing in the opposite direction to create your dice or mince.

Check out this video to see how to dice a shallot in action:

How to Store – When stored in the fridge or in a cool, dry and dark place with plenty of air circulation, uncut shallots can last for up to two months. Diced shallots can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to ten days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Dice Up Some Shallots for These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta
🔪 Grilled Chicken & Peach Saltimbocca Kebabs
🔪 Blackened Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce
🔪 Instant Pot Asian Honey Chicken
🔪 Paprika-Spiced Vermouth Chicken With Velouté Sauce
🔪 Sausage Stuffed Delicata Squash with Parmesan Crisps
🔪 Elk Standing Rib Roast
🔪 Saffron Risotto alla Milanese

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

whole and halved spaghetti squash on wooden surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife for its length and heft.

How to Choose – Look for a firm squash that is heavy for its size. It should be free of soft spots and cracks. 

How to Cut – Give the squash a good rinse under the tap to remove any dirt, then cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and inner fibers. Next, bake or boil (bake is best in our opinion) following directions for whichever way you choose to cook it, then let cool. Once cooled, use a fork to “rake” out the stringy flesh all the way down to the rind, then toss the rind. The stringy flesh makes a great replacement for noodles in pasta dishes. 

How to Store – Store uncut spaghetti squash in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. Cut spaghetti squash should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.

How to Cut Swiss Chard

closeup on swiss chard with chef knife

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose –Look for deep green leaves and firm stems. The larger Swiss chard stalks are thicker and great for sauteing, steaming and pickling, while the smaller stalks are great raw in a salad.

How to Cut – Holding the stems, run the sharp edge of a chef knife along them to remove the leaves. Then, cut the stems crosswise in a fluid forward and down motion while keeping the tip of your knife on the cutting board. Then stack the leaves and cut crosswise in a similar motion or for a chiffonade cut, stack the leaves and roll them up like a cigar, then slice crosswise to create the ribbons.

How to Store – Place in an unsealed plastic bag and store in the crisper for up to a week for larger stalks. Younger stalks with smaller leaves will turn faster.

How to Cut 8 Types of Vegetables That Aren’t Really Vegetables 

Fruit is sweet, right? Well, that depends… do you think an avocado is sweet? What about cucumbers – are those sweet? It can get confusing because most of us call the not sweet produce veggies and the sweet produce fruit, but they don’t always follow these rules. 

So may we speak botanically? A fruit is the seed-bearing part of a flowering plant no matter if it’s sweet or not. So, a tomato and a cucumber are as much a fruit as apples and grapes. 

Sometimes the “is it a fruit or a vegetable” debate can get pretty heated. So heated the law must step in, as it did in 1893, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the Nix v. Hedden case, that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable, rather than a (less taxed) fruit. Our government, always there to help. 

With that said, let us take a look at some vegetables that are actually fruits and how to choose, chop and store them. 

Looking for How to Cut Fruit That’s Really Fruit? Check Out This Guide

How to Cut Avocado

diced avocado next to avocado half with pit on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – An avocado that is ripe and ready to go should be a deep dark green color and slightly soft to the touch. That is, if you push your thumb into it, it gives just a little. If you want to use the avocado in a few days, then choose a harder green one. 

How to Cut – Grip the avocado in one hand and gently use a sharp knife (the chef’s knife is a great choice) to cut the avocado lengthwise around the pit, turning the avocado as you cut. Then, twist to separate the two halves and, holding the half with the pit in your hand, carefully tap the pit with the heel of the knife and twist to remove. You can either scoop out the flesh with a spoon or peel the skin off and cut into slices. If you’d like to cut into cubes, keep the skin on and make several slits across the length of the avocado, then turn it to make slits in the opposite direction to create cubes. Peel the skin off and viola – you’ve got cubed avocado!  

How to Store – Unripe avocados may be stored on the kitchen counter. Ripe avocados may be stored in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. Sliced avocado will easily turn brown, so it’s best to use immediately.  

Tip – If you do have leftover slices, you can brush it with lemon juice or olive oil and seal in an airtight container and store in the fridge for another day or so. For leftover halved avocado, wrap it as tightly as you can in plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic wrap into the well of the pit if it’s been removed. 

Need to see this one in action? Check out this video to see how to slice and dice an avocado, plus a handy trick for turning the slices into a rose garnish!

Slice or Dice up Some Avocado for These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Chicken Tortilla Soup
🔪 Pina Colada Guacamole

How to Cut Bell Peppers

F.N. Sharp Boning Knife with sliced and whole bell peppers

Yep – peppers are categorized as fruit! This is because they contain all of those seeds in the middle and come from the flower of the pepper plant – plus they come in different colors! 

Green bell peppers are harvested the earliest, making them more bitter and less sweet than the other varieties, which also makes them cheaper. Since red, yellow and orange bell peppers stay on the vine longer, they’re much sweeter and contain more nutrients than green bell peppers, but they also have a shorter shelf life, which is why they’re more expensive.

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – When selecting bell peppers, look for ones that are bright with glossy skin and no shriveled or soft spots. 

How to Cut – Give the peppers a nice wash under the faucet, then slice off about half an inch from the top and bottom. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove the core, ribs and seeds. 

For thin slices, slice one side of the pepper and  flatten it out on your cutting board with skin side down. Then start slicing into strips. For diced bell peppers, you’ll follow the same steps as slicing, then dice the slices into smaller pieces. For rings, slice off the bottom and top, remove core, ribs, and seeds, then lay the pepper on its side and begin slicing into rings. 

Need to see how to cut a bell pepper in action? Check out this video to learn how to cut bell peppers into julienne-style strips and how to dice into small or large pieces:

How to Store – Both cut and uncut bell peppers can be stored in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.

Dice Some Green Bell Pepper for This F.N. Sharp Recipe:
🔪 Instant Pot Turkey Chili

How to Cut Cucumbers

half cucumber with slices on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, utility or paring knife.

How to Choose – Look for firm cucumbers that are dark green and heavy for their size. Avoid ones with soft spots or are oddly shaped.  

How to Cut – Give the cucumber a good wash under the tap. You can leave the skin on or peel first. Non-organic cucumbers should always be peeled as they are usually coated in wax. You may then cut into slices, strips or cubes. 

How to Store – Cucumbers can be stored in a plastic bag for up to a week in the fridge.

Slice and Dice Some Cucumbers for These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
🔪 Oven-Baked Salmon With Citrus Cucumber Salad
🔪 Greek Lemon Chicken Kebabs with Talatouri Sauce

How to Cut Eggplant

half eggplant with slices on white surface with bowl of whole eggplants in background

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for smooth, shiny skin that is uniform in color. It should also be heavy for its size with no soft spots. For ripe eggplants, give it a gentle squeeze and if it bounces back, it’s ready to go. 

Tip – Smaller, immature eggplants tend to be sweeter and have less seeds. If you need a larger eggplant, look for the “male” rather than the “female” as the female can be a bit bitter and contain more seeds. To tell the difference between male and female eggplants, inspect the indentation on the blossomed end – a shallow and round indentation indicates a male and a deep indentation shaped like a dash indicates a female. 

How to Cut – The skin of an eggplant is edible, but some people don’t care for it so you can either leave it on or peel it off. Then, slice the whole thing in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices for dishes like eggplant parmesan, or cut into sticks or cubes, depending on what your recipe calls for.  

Tip – To reduce bitterness, sprinkle cut eggplants liberally with salt and let it sit for an hour. This will pull out bitter juices. Then drain and prep. 

How to Store – You can keep eggplant in your fridge for up to 4 days, but they really are better when you use them right away. Cooked eggplant can be refrigerated for 3 days.

Cut Up Some Eggplant for This F.N. Sharp Recipe: Air Fryer Eggplant Fries With Marinara Dipping Sauce

How to Cut Jalapeno Peppers

F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife with sliced jalapeno

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for jalapeno peppers with a dark green color and nice gloss. 

How to Cut – Give the jalapeno a nice wash and pat dry. Now, before we get into the cutting part, it’s important to mention that the seeds inside the jalapeno pepper are H.O.T. Like, make-a-grown-man-cry hot. So be very careful when handling them. And for the LOVE OF SIGHT, do not touch your eyes during this process.

For jalapeno slices, wash the pepper before slicing off the stem end. Then, simply begin slicing in whatever thickness you prefer. From there, you can either leave the ribs and seeds as is, or use the tip of your knife to remove them.

If your recipe calls for thin strips or diced jalapeno, slice off the stem and slice the jalapeno in half lengthwise. You can either leave the ribs and seeds for a spicier jalapeno, or use the tip of your knife to remove them. Then, place your jalapeno halves cut side down and begin slicing into thin strips lengthwise. From there, you can turn the strips to slice in the opposite direction to create diced jalapeno. 

Need to see how to cut a jalapeno in action? Check out this how-to video:

How to Store – Both cut and uncut jalapeno peppers can be stored in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.

Dice up Some Jalapenos for This F.N. Sharp Recipe:
🔪 Blueberry-Cran Jalapeno Jam

How to Cut Okra

whole and sliced okra on wooden surface

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku, utility or paring knife.

How to Choose – Look for dry, firm okra void of any blemishes. And it should feel a bit fuzzy like a peach. 

How to Cut – Wash well, then remove the stem and cut as per your recipe’s directions. 

Tip – It’s best to prepare okra with an acid food such as tomatoes to keep it from getting slimy. 

How to Store – Okra pods can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Cooked okra can be kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

How to Cut Pumpkin

cubed pumpkin in wooden bowls and on wooden cutting board

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku and paring knife.

How to Choose – We’re looking for a nice edible pumpkin, not the kind you carve for Halloween. So, look for a smallish one with few blemishes that feels heavy for its size. Avoid any with soft spots. 

How to Cut – Give the pumpkin a nice wash or rub down with a wet paper towel. Then cut it lengthwise in half. Remove and discard the inner seeds and fiber. Next, trim off the skin with a paring knife or peeler. You can roast the pumpkin as is or cut into small cubes first.  

How to Store – You may store pumpkins at room temperature for up to a month on the countertop or in the fridge for up to 3 months. If you cut the pumpkin first, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Try Some Pumpkin With These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Pumpkin Ravioli With Parmesan Cream Sauce
🔪 Perfectly Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Ricotta Tart

How to Cut Tomatoes

chef knife slicing tomato with sandwich in background

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for bright color and shiny skin. Stay away from any that are too soft or have obvious bruising. 

How to Cut – Make sure your knife is sharp enough to cut through the tough skin without sliding off or squishing the juicy inside. Also give your tomato a good rinse under the tap and pat dry before cutting. 

For slices, place the tomato on its side on your cutting board with the stem facing right if you’re right-handed and vice versa. Then slice off the top to remove the stem and any leaves and continue cutting into slices. 

For wedges, you’ll want to follow the stem. Place the tomato on your cutting board with stem-side up and remove the stem and any green leaves. Then slice in half right down the center, then slice into quarters following the stem again. You should now have four equal pieces, which can also be sliced in half for smaller wedges. 

For diced tomatoes, start with slices then arrange next to or stacked on top of each other and cut the slices into evenly spaced strips and slice across to create little cubes.

Check out this video to see how to quarter and dice some cherry tomatoes:

Tip – To skin your tomato before making fresh marinara sauce, score the bottom of each tomato with an X, then place in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Then remove carefully and shock by placing it in ice water. The skin will slip right off. You can also use a paring knife to peel the skin for garnish and other decorative uses, like the tomato rose featured in this recipe for antipasto crostinis

Store – Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator or they can become mealy and lose flavor. Ripe tomatoes should be stored at room temperature but away from direct sunlight. Try to eat them within 2-3 days.

Slice and Dice Some Tomatoes for These F.N. Sharp Recipes:
🔪 Double-Spiced Heirloom Tomato Salsa
🔪 Bone-in Pork alla Milanese With Arugula Salad

How to Cut Zucchini

How to Cut Zucchini

Best Knife for the Job – Western chef’s knife, Japanese santoku or utility knife.

How to Choose – Look for zucchini on the shorter side. A good rule of thumb is to select ones less than 6 inches, and only 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Also, look for firm, shiny skin that is slightly prickly. Avoid any with cuts or bruising. 

How to Cut – Wash the zucchini first. There is no need to peel the skin, just lay it down on your cutting board with your guide hand in the “claw” position to protect your fingers while holding the zucchini in place, then start slicing. For many recipes, you will need to make 1-inch round slices all the way down, or even cut all of the slices into half circles, depending on the recipe you’re making. To cut into sticks for zucchini fries, cut off the ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Then, cut each half in half and slice each half into one inch thick sticks and check out our recipe for air fried zucchini fries!

How to Store – Raw, whole zucchini should be stored unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in your crisper for up to 5 days. Cooked zucchini should be covered well and refrigerated for no more than 2 days.

Slice up Some Zucchini for This F.N. Recipe:
🔪 Bechamel Vegetable Lasagna

And there you have it. You now know how to choose, chop and store TONS of vegetables. You no longer have any excuse to eat tater tots. I know, we’re sorry. But the good news is, you’re officially far more superior to any of your friends or family. And if you master those knife skills, they may just start calling you “Chef”!

More on Vegetables: The F.N. Sharp Guide to Cooking With Fresh Produce





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