5 Genius Techniques for Prepping Summer Fruits and Vegetables

There are simpler ways to get at all that seasonal produce. Here, our food editors share their secret tools and techniques. For the speediest (and safest!) results, always start with clean, sharp knives and implements.

Photography by: Jeff Skeirik

1. Cracking Coconuts

We swear by the Coco Jack ($37), an ingenious cracking tool that makes opening young coconuts a whole lot easier.


  • Rest the metal jack at a 45-degree angle on the pointed top of a peeled young coconut. Using the mallet, hit firmly until it pierces the shell and flesh.


  • Gripping the tool's handle, pull it toward you and then away to lift the top open. Pour out or drink the water with a straw, and scoop the meat with a spoon. You can also use your fresh coconut water to make everything from smoothies and ice pops to rice and cucumber salad. Or team it with the coconut meat to make "yogurt."

2. Slicing Strawberries

An egg slicer sections a strawberry into thin slivers. Remove the leaves, place the fruit inside the tool, and press down to slice. It makes a fabulous topping for all manner of desserts, including cupcakes, crepes, panna cotta, and tartlets.


3. Dicing Cherry Tomatoes

Halve a dozen cherry tomatoes in one slice: Corral them between two rimmed lids, then slice in between with a very sharp knife. Put the tomatoes on a pizza, cook with pasta, toss into a salad, or tuck into a quiche.


4. Deseeding Peppers

A peeler removes seeds from small peppers, like jalapenos and serranos. Insert the peeler and rotate to scoop out the seeds. This trick makes quick work of two of our weeknight favorites: Stuffed Jalapenos and serrano-spiked Tomato Gazpacho with Chicken.

5. Peeling kiwis

Fiddling with furry kiwi skin? Pick up a spoon! First use a knife to remove both ends of the kiwi, then place a spoon between the flesh and skin. Push the spoon all the way down and turn the kiwi to get the fruit out in one piece. Watch these steps in action above, then pop your kiwi into fruit salad, yogurt, or a cocktail.


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