How Do You Trim Vegetables?

When a recipe calls for a certain vegetable, trimmed, do you break out the scissors and prepare to recreate that greasy sideways wig Justin Bieber always sports or possibly rev up the chainsaw? It's actually referring to neither of those kinds of "trim," believe it or not. Here's how to trim several kinds of vegetables.

String beans, sugar snap peas, okra, cucumbers, carrots

This method is called the "top 'n tail." Anything with two inedible tips, like bean and okra pods or long root veggies like carrots and parsnips or stalks like celery gets the tough, fibrous tops and bottoms sliced off.

Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus

Cut the bottom inch to two inches off the stem. If the stalks still seem a little tough, a quick swipe with a vegetable peeler should thin them out enough to be tender when cooked.

Turnips, beets, celery root

Top 'n tail these guys too, but to keep them from rolling around while you're trying to do so, risking life and fingers, carefully slice off a piece of the side to square the vegetable and keep it sitting still on the cutting board while you're trimming the edges.

Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, chard and kale

Slice off the top inch to inch and a half as well as the thicker, fibrous stems.

Brussels sprouts

Just slice off the bottom-most portion of the base where it met the stem. Don't trim too much or the leaves will fall off the sprout.

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