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Cutting Boards
Cutting Boards
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

Cooking Skills People Should Know

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PS Behrend chapter.

Over the last few years I’ve developed a real love for cooking but I’ve noticed that many people don’t know how to do some basic skills that apply to many recipes. Here are a few random skills that can help you in the kitchen:


  1. How to dice an onion easily (and with less crying)

1. Cut the onion in half through the root.

2. Peel the skin off

3. Cut 5-6 vertical slices into each half. Make sure not to cut the root! If the root is cut off, the onion will bleed and release more of the chemical that makes you cry.

4. Slice the onion horizontally 2 times toward the root.

5. Cut downward across the previous cuts to dice.

Onion Dice
Alex Frank / Spoon

  1. How to cut a mango

1. A mango has a large, flat pit in it. Holding the mango up on its end, cut down either side of the pit. You will have 2 halves and a middle section that has the pit in it.

2. Make cuts in the halves lengthwise and crosswise WITHOUT cutting through the skin.

3. Invert the mango so the meaty pieces are sticking out. You can cut these off or peel them off by hand.

Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

  1. How to choose an avocado

Practice makes perfect with this one. Hass avocados turn dark green/black as they ripen. When you feel an avocado with this color scheme and it gives a little, it is likely ripe. Too hard and it will be unripe. Too soft and it will likely be an over ripened, brown mess on the inside. 

  1. How to cut an avocado

1. Cut into the avocado until the knife hits the seed and rotate the avocado to cut around it lengthwise.

2. The halves can be separated, leaving the seed in one of the halves. If this is your first time handling avocados, I wouldn’t recommend striking the seed with a knife and twisting like many people do. (Google “Avocado hand” if you don’t believe me). Alternatively, you can cut around the avocado horizontally before separating it and simply pick out the seed by hand.


Sarah Silbiger / Spoon

  1. How to cut a pineapple

1. Cut off the very top and bottom of the fruit.

2. Trim the skin by following the natural curve of the pineapple with a knife.

3. You can remove the circular brown eyes with a sort of v-cut but it will be much easier to cut them off after you cut the whole thing into rings or whatever shape. Make sure to cut out the core!

  1. How to hard boil an egg

There are numerous ways to figure out how long to boil eggs but this article shows how to get variations of doneness.


How to poach an egg

It’ll be easier to watch the video on this page than for me to describe the couple ways to poach an egg. Add this on top of ramen (along with some other ingredients you can look up online) to make it a bit more fancy.


Jenny Georgieva / Spoon

  1. How to peel garlic (clove and whole head)

People have a bunch of different ways to try to do this as fast as possible but here’s how to do it the typical way:

1. Remove a clove from the bulb. If you want to use the entire bulbs, use the flat side of a large knife and press down with the palm of your hand.

2. Use the flat side of a large knife for one clove and press down on it until you feel the clove cracks. This will make it easier to peel.

3. Peel away the skins.


Source: https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/how-to-peel-garlic-hack

  1. How to cut hot peppers

Just do yourself a huge favor and use gloves. The part is to cut off the stem and then chop however you like. If you don’t want as hot of a dish, take out the seeds. I didn’t use gloves when cutting habanero peppers and I had to soak my hands in milk and a bunch of other liquids to stop the burning.

  1. How to cut bell peppers

1. Cut are the top, flat part to remove the stem. The seeds will be mostly attached. Be careful not to cut yourself!

2. Cut the entire pepper in half. I typically julienne the peppers for stir fry (cut them into short, thin strips) but you can of course cut them however you want.

  1. Blanching vegetables

Blanching is scalding vegetables is boiling water for a period of time and then dunking them in ice water to stop the cooking process. It’s typically done when storing or freezing vegetables to prevent enzymes that ripen the veggies from causing a loss of flavor, color, and texture. Doing this is also useful in certain baking recipes like stuffed peppers to get rid of the raw taste.

Onion Saute
Alex Frank / Spoon

Alex Mozes

PS Behrend '20

Alex Mozes Senior at Penn State Behrend Mechanical Engineering Technology Major President of Tone-Acious: The Behrend Acapella Group Treasurer of HerCampus Behrend Chapter Tutor for Writing, Physics, and Solid Modeling
Ramsey Struble

PS Behrend '21

Penn State Behrend//Biology Pre-Optometry