Do you remember when we shared the post Kitchen Hack: Easier Meal Prep?
That article inspired Sandy Cadra, RD, CDE, to share her own strategy for boosting the appeal of fruits and vegetables. I found it so intriguing and effective that I immediately asked if I could share it with you.
She said yes, so here we go!
It all boils down to size and shape.
Sandy writes, "I find that the size and shape of the pieces directly impacts the dish. The sensory experience and surprisingly even the taste is different depending how a vegetable or other food is chopped."
Take cauliflower, for example. How you prepare it has a direct impact on its taste, and not all preparations are equal. You can chop it into little trees and steam it, or slice it into thick planks and roast it. The flavor and texture will be very different between these two preparations, just as it will be between tiny pieces of raw cauliflower, riced cauliflower, and even cauliflower mashed potatoes. Just because one preparation doesn't appeal to a person doesn't mean that another won't, even though we're talking about the same vegetable.
Let's look at apples for another example. How does the flavor and texture change as an apple is eaten whole, in halves, or in wedges? What about in rings or super-thin slices? Chopped or diced? Sandy highly recommends dicing an apple very small and adding it to hot oatmeal.
As a final example of this approach, let's talk citrus. An orange or grapefruit can be peeled and eaten in sections or cut crosswise into chunks. The eating experience changes with the shape, just as it does if the citrus fruit is sectioned from its membrane or has had its peel cut off and been sliced into rings. This last preparation is especially popular at Sandy's house. She writes "I cut [the] peel off and cut [the oranges] crosswise into rings and serve [them] sometimes with dinner. When I do this, my family will eat the citrus that otherwise they would pass up."
Sandy sums up her advice with this wise statement: "I recommend that people try prepping (cutting) veggies in many ways to see what they or their family find most desirable. It's different for everyone."
I had never thought about the way that shape impacts a fruit or vegetable's reception at the table. Thanks Sandy, for opening my eyes to this great new strategy for helping people boost the appeal of fruits and veggies.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.