Let’s face it — the produce aisle can be scary. Once you get past the apples, oranges, bananas and celery, fruits and veggies can get hairy (literally). They may have weird cores and seeds, but that shouldn’t frighten you away from good, fresh eats! It’s time to face your fears and learn how to tackle intimidating produce once and for all. It’s easier than you think. We promise.
1. Pineapple: Ditch the can, people. Fresh pineapple is the best fruit for summer. But how do you tackle this spiky beast of a fruit? Get a big knife. Cut off the top, then the bottom. Slice away those “eyes,” and chop away soft, edible parts from the core down the center. You might want to cut up another one, because trust us, you’re going to eat it FAST. If you want a recipe for what to do next, there are plenty. (via The Kitchn)
2. Kiwano Melons: This thing looks like it’s fending off predators, but give it a chance. Once you cut it in half, you’ll see the inside is filled with green slime and seeds (which you eat). The seeds have a similar texture to a pomegranate’s and taste like a cross between a cucumber and a kiwi. You can eat it by itself, but most often it’s used in fruit salad or cocktails. (via Parade)
3. Ginger: If you aren’t stocked up on fresh ginger, you’re missing out. We know it looks like a knotted root… because it kind of is, but on the inside it’s pretty amazing. Just shave it with a peeler (or even a spoon!) and throw it into your recipe (or drink). You can mince it, leave it in chunks for tea — even toss it in a stir-fry. Add it to hot tea for an instant stomach/throat remedy or to a cocktail for spice that you’ll be addicted to in no time. The best part about this root veggie is that you can freeze it to keep it fresh! (via The Kitchn)
4. Rhubarb: If you’ve only had rhubarb in pies, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We know they’re a little scary, with toxic leaves and all, but those stalks are good eatin’ (and drinkin’). Stick to the red parts of the roots and lose the leaves, base and those celery-like strings. And yes, you can freeze this one, too! Let’s get this rhubarb party started. (via Taste)
5. Fennel: This veggie has endless possibilities, from the bulb to the frilly tips. The green parts taste like licorice and the white part is crisp and sweet. Whether you cook it or not, you’ll love it either way. Each section (the bulb, stalks and tips — which are also called fronds) all have different tastes and textures so should be prepped and used differently. (via Bon Appetit)
6. Avocados: If you don’t live in California or Texas, you may not worship avocados… yet! Trust us, they go so far beyond guacamole. The best part is, you can eat an avocado just as-is. No cooking involved, just instant deliciousness. All you have to do is slice it vertically until you hit the pit, then pivot your knife all the way around until you can twist each half apart. Ditch the pit, score it and scoop. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor and then call us over for tacos. (via Rouxbe)
7. Coconut: We’ll be the first to admit, as much as we love all things coconut, they’re a really hard fruit to tackle. They’re hard, they’re hairy and they’re pretty intimidating. Leave it to chef David Lebovitz to make the impossible possible. Grab your cleaver (but first, buy a cleaver) and tap the coconut along the equator until you hear it crack open. And just like that, you’re a coconut master. (via David Lebovitz)
8. Pomegranate: Before it goes into your juice, pomegranates are quirky little fruits full of seeds. Here’s how to handle them: Cut that sucker in half and hold it (exposed side down) in your hand over a bowl. Bang the back of the pomegranate with the back of a wooden spoon as the seeds pop out. Pick out any skin that may have fallen out, and then bam! You have a bowl full of pomegranate seeds! (via Jamie Oliver)
9. Starfruit: First of all, can we talk about how adorable starfruits are? They’re fruits shaped like stars! Why aren’t we eating these things all the time? They’re simple to prep, too. Just cut off the green/brown edge from each of the five points. Then just slice it and pop out the seeds. Yep, it’s that easy. We’re thinking they’d be a nice, festive touch for a Fourth of July party. (via Cheap Food Here)
10. Artichokes: Let’s break down the artichoke: You’ve got the heart and the leaves. To eat the “meat” from the leaves, remove the spiky thorns and cut off the tip of the artichoke. Rinse it, then steam it in lemon water. Hot or cold, you can pick off each leaf and pull through your teeth to get the good stuff. Here’s a play-by-play. If artichoke hearts are more your style, strip the outer leaves off your raw artichoke and after a bit of cutting and scooping, you’re ready to eat it how you like. (via The Kitchn + Simply Recipes)
11. Leeks: They look like really big green onions, but they have a much smaller taste. Leeks have a mild flavor with less of a punch than your average onion. You can add them to soup, latkes or just soften them over some heat with oil. But before that, chop off the tough, dark green tips and the stringy bits from the base. Cut lengthwise from the tip to just before the end of the base. After a quick dip in a bowl of water, cut them into rounds and carry on with your recipe! Give it a go. (via David Lebovitz)
12. Mango: ‘Tis the season… mango season, that is. But before you go biting right into one, there are some things you should know. First, there’s some discrepancy over whether mango skin is suitable to eat, but we think it’s best to avoid it. Second, keep in mind that there’s an oblong pit in the middle. Cut the mango vertically on either side of the pit, score it and scoop out your tasty treat. (via I Hear Exercise Will Kill You)
13. Kumquats: The Kitchn calls these little citrus bombs “warheads for grown-ups,” and we can’t think of a better way to describe them. Nomming on these is easy. Just rinse, eat, repeat. Yep, skin and all. You can roll them around first to get the juices flowing, but just make sure to spit out the seeds. If you want, you can peel them first (like Cuties), but the skin is soft so it’s perfectly acceptable to eat them whole. (via eHow)
14. Papaya: The taste of papaya isn’t for everyone, but blended into a smoothie or a juice, it can be just what you’re craving. The black seeds in the middle can be a little jarring, but don’t be scared: It’s just fruit. Just cut off the top, slice vertically, then cut or scoop out the seeds and guts… kind of like a pumpkin. Slice off the skin and you’re in tropical fruit paradise. (via She Simmers)
What fruits or veggies give you the heebie-jeebies? Let us know in the comments!