Kiwis, Onions, and 9 Other Foods You’re Probably Cutting All Wrong

How to properly cut fruits and vegetables to minimize waste and hassle

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How to properly cut fruits and vegetables to minimize waste and hassle
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Fruit Ninja

Cutting fruits and vegetables can often feel daunting, especially when the result is a messy kitchen or wasted food. Many of us are also guilty of cutting our produce in inefficient ways, which leads to unnecessary waste or makes the task more challenging than it needs to be. Knowing the right techniques can preserve more of the produce while helping you minimize waste and hassle. 

Here are 11 common fruits and vegetables that we frequently cut all wrong, along with the proper techniques to handle them. 

Oleksii Polishchuk/istockphoto

1. Pineapples

Pineapples are notoriously difficult to cut due to their tough exterior and the many eyes scattered throughout the flesh. Many people make the mistake of slicing off large portions of the fruit along with the eyes, which leads to tons of waste or unevenly cut pieces. Instead, you should first cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple, trim the sides carefully next, and then follow the curve of the fruit. 

Pro tip: Use a paring knife to remove the eyes in a diagonal pattern. This will allow you to retain more of the juicy flesh and achieve cleaner, more even cut. 

Related: 25 Kitchen Mistakes You're Probably Still Making


2. Mangoes

Cutting a mango incorrectly often leads to wasted flesh or a mangled, sticky mess. The proper way to cut this beloved tropical fruit is to first stand it up on its end and slice down on either side of the flat pit. This should result in two large cheeks and two smaller slices from the sides. Score the flesh of the cheeks in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut through the skin, then push the skin inward to pop out the cubes. Now you can easily scoop out the flesh with a spoon, or just enjoy it like that. 


3. Watermelons

Cutting a watermelon into typical wedge slices can be cumbersome and lead to wasted flesh near the rind. Instead, cut the watermelon in half horizontally, then place the flat side down and slice vertically to create half-moon shapes. Lay each slice flat and cut through the middle to create sticks, which are easy to hold and eat. This method minimizes mess and allows you to enjoy more of the whole fruit. 

Related: From Rind to Seed: How To Use Every Single Part of a Watermelon

Avocado halves

4. Avocados

Delicious and chock full of vitamins and healthy fats, avocados make a great addition to meals, or can also hold their weight as the star of a dish. But as much as we love avocado toast, they can be difficult to get open. The safer way is to cut the avocado lengthwise around the pit, then gently twist it to separate the halves. Use a spoon to scoop out the pit, and then slice or scoop the flesh out as desired. This method reduces waste and minimizes the risk of injury from trying to stab the pit out. 

Pro tip: A clever way to check whether avocados are ready is by checking the small stem nub; if it comes off easily and reveals green underneath, the avocado is ripe. 

Related: 10 Fruits You Should NEVER Refrigerate

Woman eating kiwi fruit
Emre Akkoyun/istockphoto

5. Kiwis

When it comes to kiwis, we have a love-hate relationship going on. They're so delicious and juicy, but so darn tedious to peel. Cutting a kiwi in half with a knife can be messy and wasteful, as the skin is thin but tough. The best way to cut these little guys is to slice off both ends, then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. This technique minimizes waste and keeps the juicy fruit intact, ready to be sliced or eaten as is.

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Bell Peppers

6. Bell Peppers

It seems we've all been cutting bell peppers the wrong way, resulting in a mess of seeds and those annoying stringy parts that no one knows what to do with. The best way to cut a bell pepper is to actually slice off the top and bottom, then make a vertical cut to open the pepper up like a fan. Remove the seeds and inner membrane, then slice the pepper into strips or cubes. This will help you retain more of the flesh. 

Related: 25 Recipes That Make the Most of Summer Produce

Pomegranate fruit on cut board

7. Pomegranates

Opening a pomegranate incorrectly can result in wasted seeds and a mess of the kitchen. The proper way to cut a pomegranate is to slice off the top to reveal the fleshy inner segments. Make shallow cuts along the ridges of the fruit, then gently pull apart the sections. The seeds, or arils, can then be easily removed in order to minimize waste and avoid the dreaded juice stains that come from cutting through the seeds.

Related: Which Fruits and Veggies Go Bad the Quickest and Which Last the Longest?


8. Cantaloupes

Some people (guilty) slice cantaloupe into wedges, which can be messy and wasteful. Instead, cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the flat side down, slice off the skin, then cut the fruit into slices or cubes as desired. This method allows for easier, cleaner serving and ensures you get the most out of the cantaloupe.

Related: 17 Underrated Summer Fruits and What to Do With Them

Spanish onions chopping

9. Onions

While onions can impart a great deal of depth and flavor to a variety of recipes, they sure are annoying to cut and chop. The proper way to cut these bullies (why they gotta make us cry like that) is to first slice off the top, then cut it in half vertically through the root. Peel off the skin, leaving the root intact to help hold the layers together. Next, make horizontal and vertical cuts into each half, then slice across these cuts for perfectly diced onion pieces. 

This method minimizes tears by keeping the root, which contains most of the tear-inducing compounds, intact until the end.

Tomatoes - Summer

10. Tomatoes

Improperly cutting a tomato can result in squashed, uneven slices that can ruin the presentation of your dish or make it difficult to incorporate into recipes. For best results, use a serrated knife to cut the tomato; this will prevent the flesh from being crushed. Slice from top to bottom for round slices or cut horizontally for smaller, even slices. This way, you'll always have clean, neat slices and minimal juice loss.

Related: From Bruschetta to Salsa, Here are 10 Ways to Preserve Tomatoes

Pumpkins Butternut Squash

11. Butternut Squash

Cutting butternut squash can be challenging due to its tough skin and firm flesh. The best approach is to slice off both ends, then cut the squash in half where the neck meets the round bottom. Peel the skin with a vegetable peeler, then cut the squash into desired shapes to minimize waste and get as much of the flesh out as possible.