The Easiest Method To Safely Dice Soft Fruit

While some soft fruits are straightforward enough, others, such as mangoes and avocados, can be tricky to dice. The problem is that once they're peeled, the slippery fruits tend to slide across the cutting board, making them hard to get hold of, and increasing the chance of a knife-related injury. Plus, there's a large hard pit to contend with, too.

To make things easier, as well as safer, one solution is to switch the order of doing things. So rather than peeling the soft fruits and then dicing or cubing them, try slicing them while they're still in the skin. This means that the cubes of fruit can be removed from the skin once they've already been cut, with no risk of the fruit sliding on the board.

Whether it's for a salad or a dessert, the method can be applied across a variety of soft fruits including avocados, mangoes, melons, and kiwi fruits. The technique differs slightly depending on the fruit in question, but a similar approach can be applied: Slice in the skin for safer results.

Slice mango and avocado in the skin for easy cubes

The first step for almost all fruits you wish to dice inside the skin is to cut the fruit in half vertically, without peeling it first. If there is a pit in the fruit, remove it. With something like avocado, this can be done by scooping out the large pit with a teaspoon to minimize any further risk of a knife injury; after all, thousands of Americans go to the ER for injuries caused by avocado prep every year (per Insider), and "avocado hand" is real (via USA Today).

With a mango, it's easiest to slice it carefully and vertically down either side of the hard pit to get the two 'halves,' or cheeks. You can then trim any extra flesh away from the center (which contains the pit), so there's no waste. Once the pit is removed from an avocado or mango, placing the halved piece of fruit skin side down on the cutting board will help to stop it slipping. Then cut a criss-cross grid pattern into the flesh with a knife, making sure not to cut through the skin. The cubes can then be scooped out of the skin with a spoon. 

In the case of a mango, you can flip it inside out to make the cubes easier to remove, either with a knife or by pushing gently with your fingers. Or try a grapefruit knife for smarter avocado scooping without the stress.

Other tips for prepping tricky fruits without peeling first

Preparation methods can vary depending on the fruit in question, but it's sometimes still best to start with the skin on rather than peeling first to avoid knife-related injuries. When it comes to melons, it's often easiest to cut the fruit in half, and remove the seeds with a spoon. Then cut the half into wedges, and make slices with a knife up to but not through the skin at regular intervals. It's easy to then gently run the knife along the rind to release the chunks of fruit.

For kiwis, try cutting off the top and bottom of the fruit, then use a spoon to run inside the skin to release the whole center of the fruit in one round piece. This can then be sliced or diced as required.

And while peeling a pomegranate is possible, it's not necessarily the easiest way to get to the edible seeds. Take a tip from domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, and simply cut your pomegranate in half before 'spanking' the bottom of it with a wooden spoon over a large bowl. The seeds release easily, and you can even do it directly over the finished plate of food to decorate a dish. And it's safer (and, let's be honest, more fun) than struggling with a knife.