As this blog is meant to help beginners, I decided to make an article about how to peel or cut tricky vegetables. It might sound simple, but if you don’t know and nobody tells you, how can you guess? Don’t hesitate to ask me for a specific fruit or vegetable. And click on the pictures to enlarge the details
Pomegranate: a tricky fruit, if you don’t know how to deal with eat and don’t have tools.
My grocer taught me this one:
You can’t just take a knife and cut widely the fruit in 2. First cut the top of the fruit, then make 3 gashes on the sides of the pomegranate (you can go on 1 cm, as you see on the picture, the skin is quite thick. Put your thumbs on the top (the part you cut...) and split the fruit in 2. Then you have to collect the arils, the small red seeds. The best way, I think, is to use your fingers, if you use a spoon you will damage the seeds. Don’t worry, the juice is very red, but it doesn’t stain (unlike beetroot). Also remove the white skin, it is too bitter.
Mushrooms: what you need to know is how to clean them: unless they are completely covered with earth or dust, do not wash them in water (same goes for strawberries, by the way), because they will soak and lose their taste. What you need to do is to moisten a cloth and clean them with it, gently, because mushrooms are fragile. To cut them, simply slice them.
Bell pepper: once I had a cooking lesson and I learnt that there was a technique to cut the bell peppers that was different from the one I knew.
It is better not to remove the top first, but to cut vertically. That way, you remove the eatable part without putting seeds everywhere. See the picture, that way the explanation is clearer:
Leek: first remove the part with the threads, you won't use it. Remove also the first leave and the top of the leaves if they aren't in a good shape. Then, cut it depending on the recipe (often in slices), and only then wash them (there is always earth stuck between the leaves.