When it comes to enjoying some of the healthier foods in life, there is still going to be some amount of preparation that you are going to need to be aware of. After all, there are very few foods out there that can be fully enjoyed without some degree of work put into them.
If you are looking for a meal that requires minimal preparation, you should try and look toward vegetables.
More often than not, unless you are preparing a detailed and fancy meal, most vegetables will only have about three steps in the cooking and preparation process that you need to pay attention to.
You are obviously going to want to clean and wash the vegetables that you are working with, unless you are handling frozen vegetables in which the washing will be prepared with defrosting.
Once the vegetables have been properly washed or defrosted, you will need to cut them into appropriate sizes for the dish you are making, and from there, the final step will simply be cooking and seasoning the vegetables.
While the final step is obviously going to be the most detailed step, as it involves making sure the vegetables are properly cooked and seasoned to perfection, there are a lot of problems that can arise in making sure that your vegetables are properly prepared.
For example, you may find that you do not have the special utensil that people use for cutting or peeling their vegetables. When this happens, you may not be too sure about how you should go about cutting the vegetable to achieve the same thickness and size that you would be looking for.
Depending on the vegetable you are working with, recreating the shape and size of the food you need is going to be pretty easy. All you will need is a sharp knife and you will be good to go, no matter what vegetable you are working with.
Take carrots as an example, as carrots are one of the most common vegetables out there that people use a peeler on, second only to potatoes.
People typically peel their carrots to create the appropriate size of food to be used in a recipe, although there are times when it is done to get rid of any dirty carrot skins.
Peeling carrots efficiently with any tool besides a peeler is going to take some time and practice, but with enough of that practice, you will eventually get to the point where you will no longer need a peeler.
Preparing the Carrot
First things first, you are always going to need to prepare the carrot before peeling it with anything. The first step is going to involve thoroughly washing the carrot.
Washing the carrot serves to remove dirt that is lodged into the skin (which is especially important for carrots as the carrot is grown in the dirt) as well as any pesticide residues that may remain on the skin.
You will also need to remove the carrot tops. This includes the leafy greens of the carrot as well as the stem-like top of the carrot. This can be easily removed with a simple knife.
You will want to be as conservative with this cut as you can so that you can save the “meat” of the carrot to make the most out of peeling it.
You will also want to make sure that you know what direction you are going to be moving in. Typically, when you peel carrots with any peeling apparatus you are going to want to begin with the bottom half.
This allows you to have a good grip on the top half so that you can put your focus into effective peeling techniques.
When you are peeling the bottom half of the carrot, you will want to peel downward, that is, to point the carrot at the cutting board and move the knife in a downward motion toward the board as well.
Next, you will flip the carrot over so that the thickest end is facing the cutting board. Here, you will begin peeling in the other direction. This is going to be the most effective way for you to get the most out of the carrots that you are working with.
This is the method that is typically used with peelers, although it can work well if you are using a knife.
Peeling the Carrot
Speaking of a knife, you can easily peel your carrot with a paring knife. A paring knife is typically a smaller, all-purpose knife that is considered ideal for peeling (paring) fruits and vegetables.
Because of this nature, it tends to be a lot easier to work with and a lot better with letting you peel thinner portions of the carrot. However, if you do not have a paring knife, any sharp-edged knife will get the job done, just less efficiently.
Starting just after you have washed the carrot and removed the stem-like top, you can begin moving your paring knife across the length of the carrot. You can choose to peel the whole carrot at once for longer strips of carrot, or you can choose to go with the half and half method as mentioned above.
When you are peeling the carrot with a paring knife, you will typically hold the carrot at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board.
You will want to gently place the blade of the knife at the top of the carrot, or wherever you want to begin peeling, and you will want to press downward as you scrape the knife against the surface of the carrot. The amount of pressure that you apply to the knife will determine how thick the peeled slices are.
Applying little to no pressure will ensure that you simply remove the carrot’s skin, preparing the bulk of the carrot for another cooking purpose. Applying heavier pressure will mean that you can use the peeled carrot pieces in their own cooking meals, although this will be more difficult with smaller carrots.
You will want to rotate the carrot throughout the peeling process to ensure that all of the skin of the carrot can be removed.
Some people prefer to continuously rotate the carrot, peeling skin away wherever it is seen, while other people will only rotate the carrot once all of the carrot skin has been removed from a certain area. This is completely up to your preference and has no impact on how long it will take for you to peel the carrot.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.