These zero waste ways to chop vegetables, can hopefully make it easier for anyone who feels a bit terrified by the giant purple cauliflower that lands in your veg box. Often many of us would love to cook things from scratch or buy that nice home-baked loaf from the real baker. But if you don’t have a few knife skills, it may feel intimidating – or even dangerous – to do anything about it. So let’s have look at what we can do.
How to Safely Wash Produce
Use a wooden pot brush to scrub produce, then dry with a towel and remove outer leaves, storing lettuce and watermelon in the fridge. Cantaloupe can carry salmonella so store away from everything else. FDA is not a fan of commercial produce wash. Some say rinsing will get as much ‘chemical’ off as anything else. Or use (edible) baking soda to wash and rinse – find ‘recipes’ at Happy Herbivore.
Reusable produce bags (used to replace plastic bags in produce aisles) have a mesh design, which means not only are they good to store fresh veggies in at home, but they can double up as colanders, to wash veggies in the sink. You can then throw them in the machine, and use them again.
If for hygiene reasons (say in a professional or medical capacity) you have to dry produce with paper towels, EcoLeaf kitchen roll is made from recycled paper. It’s also free from chlorine bleach, so better for sensitive skin and allergies. For other kitchen jobs, use reusable kitchen towels.
Zero Waste Chopping Boards
Konk! Chopping Boards (Bristol) are made from leftover European oak (from handmade furniture) and sealed with food-safe oil. Smidge Chopping Boards are made by compressing salvaged paper (happy in the dishwasher). Keep a damp tea towel underneath, to prevent slipping.
Choosing and Using Safe Knives
Many chefs recommend Zyliss Comfort Kitchen Knife Set. Made in Switzerland, it’s a good safe set of knives with colour codes, and a storage block. Costs around £40 with a 5-year guarantee. The basic 3-piece set costs around £15. Always dry your hands before using a knife and let others pick them up. Clean cuts, dry & apply biodegradable plaster.
Orsa Whetsone Knife Sharpener is made from solid Swedish sandstone to last a lifetime. The stone is 360 million years old from silicon-bonded quarts and is washable and scaldable. Dampen with water for 20 to 30 minutes beforehand or leave to soak, then wash after use, dry stone well with a cloth and leave to dry overnight before storing.
Opinel Kitchen Knives Set is a beautiful boxed set of knives. Made from French wood there is a paring knife, a serrated knife, a peeler and a vegetable knife. Use the serrated knife for cutting tomatoes and veggie sausages, the paring knife to preserve vitamins by slicing less peel and the good peeler, in 6 colour combinations. These use modified stainless steel with chrome to avoid corossion and needs no maintenance and the carbon content gives excellent cutting. The handles are varnished to protect from moisture and dirt.
If old enough to use with supervision, Opinel children’s knife is a round-tipped knife to teach children how to chop vegetables. Made from Sandvik stainless steel, it folds away for safety and locks open to prevent accidental folding, when in use. The handle is made from natural varnished food, and is also good for picnics and general use, when you don’t need a sharp point. You have to sign for this and pay a special fee with Royal Mail, for safety and age verification. Don’t buy the mushroom knife, it’s made with boar bristles.