Carrots are one of the most commonly used vegetables in the kitchen. They are used in a number of dishes and can even be turned into a drink, a cake, and even into carrot sticks that can be eaten raw. Before you can use the carrots for food, however, you need to know how to properly chop them. Here’s how.
- Clean. Make sure that you clean the carrots before chopping them. Remember, carrots are actually the root part of the carrot plant. This means that all carrots are actually found below ground. When farmers harvest them, the carrots are usually a quick wash. The wash, however, does not remove all of the residues of the dirt where the carrot was originally found. You can either hand wash the carrots with warm water, or you can soak them with some vegetable cleaner that may be purchased from the grocery shop.
- Peel. Next, you will need to remove the layer of skin on the carrot. Unlike other types of tubers, carrots do not actually have a very distinct skin. In fact, some people will not bother to remove the skin, as long as the carrots have been cleaned very thoroughly. If you plan on peeling the carrot, however, you will need to do this very quickly. You do not want to remove too much skin; otherwise the carrot will lose a bulk of its flesh. Also, the skin parts of most vegetables are very rich in vitamins and nutrients, which mean that you want to remove only the topmost layer.
- Lateral cuts. The usual cut for carrots is the lateral cuts. Place the carrot on a chopping board and make a single chop running from the center top to the center bottom of the carrot. Take one of the pieces and place it on the flat side, so that the carrot will not roll off the chopping board. Make long cuts from one end to the other. You should have long carrot strips. Stack these one against the other and then chop again, so that you end up with very thin and long slices. Sometimes, of course, you will need to halve the carrot sticks, especially if you are working with a very big carrot and you only need carrot sticks that are several inches long.
- Round cuts. The round cuts are some of the easiest to make. All you need to do is to cut the carrot while it is positioned horizontally from you, with the knife in vertical position. You should end up with carrot chips. Make sure that the carrot chips are not too thick or too thin.
- Dicing. Finally, you can also dice the carrots. Follow the procedures for cutting the carrots laterally and then cut them up again into small cubes. Afterwards, place the cubed carrots in a single pile in your chopping board and position your knife on top of the pile, so that the end of the knife is facing upwards, and the bottom part of the knife is in contact with the chopping board. Use one hand to hold the knife, and another to guide the knife from the tip of the knife, down on the pile.
With these steps, you should be able to chop carrots for soups, sautéed meals, and salads. Chopping carrots may seem difficult at first. Through time, however, you should be able to chop the carrots quickly and easily.