2.1 Introduction

This section includes definitions and directions to be used throughout the Fruits and Vegetables unit.


  • Cube: Cut food into uniform cubes approximately ½ inch each dimension, unless the directions specify another size.
  • Dice: Cut into uniform cubes, approximately ¼ inch.
  • Chop: Cut into small irregular-shaped pieces.
  • Mince: Divide food into very small (1/16 inch or less) irregular-shaped pieces with a knife or garlic press.
  • Julienne: Cut into thin strips. (match-stick size, about ⅛ x ⅛ x 2 inches)

Raw vegetable preparation:

Cabbage (red or green): Remove outer leaves, and wash remaining head. It is not necessary to remove the entire core.  Shred cabbage into bite-size pieces with a chefs’ knife.

Cauliflower: Break small flowerets from the head. Wash.

Carrots: Peel, wash and slice into ¼-inch slices. If the carrot is large, quarter lengthwise before slicing crosswise.

Broccoli: Cut thin spears about 2 inches long. Wash.

Onions: Remove outer skin by peeling or by blanching. Cut off root end. For small onions, leave whole but make an x shaped cut in the bottom, about ½ inch deep. For large onions, cut into bite size pieces. Cook until the flavor is mild.


*To remove skin by blanching: Place onions in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Drain, cool, and slip off skins.


Directions for cooking vegetables for each flavor category:

Do not add salt to a recipe unless the instructor assigns it.

Boiling in a small amount of water

Mild flavored vegetables

  1. Use only enough water to prevent scorching the vegetables during cooking, approximately ¼ cup water for a one-quart saucepan. Add more if needed to prevent scorching.
  2. Add vegetable to boiling water, cover pan, and bring back to a boil. Begin timing.
  3. Boil gently until vegetable is crisp-tender. Add more water if needed.
  4. Record cooking time.

Boiling in a large amount of water

Brassica Sp. and Allium Sp.

  1. Boil enough water to cover vegetable.
  2. Add vegetable to boiling water and bring water back to a boil. Do not cover pan. Begin timing.
  3. Boil gently until vegetable is done. Crisp-tender for Brassica sp. and until tender for mild flavored and Allium sp.
  4. Drain vegetable.
  5. Record cooking time.


  1. Use enough water in the bottom part of a steamer so pan will not boil dry during the cooking period.
  2. When water in bottom part of steamer is boiling, place vegetable in top of steamer.
  3. Assemble steamer and cover. Begin timing.
  4. Cook vegetable in steam over rapidly boiling water until done.
  5. Record cooking time.

Microwave cooking

  1. Use a 1-pint baking dish with a tight-fitting lid or plastic wrap appropriate for microwave. Add 2-4 tablespoons water.
  2. Cook on full power according to microwave oven manufacturer’s directions until done; stir once.
  3. Record power level in watts and cooking time.


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Basic Scientific Food Preparation Lab Manual Copyright © 2023 by Iowa State University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.