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Old 07-24-2006, 07:59 PM   #1
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Chopping Herbs Without the Mess

I use a lot of herbs in my cooking, especially Italian parsley and cilantro. I find that these are particularly messy to chop -- the little pieces get all over the cutting board, on the counter top, and even on the floor, and those little pieces are hard to wipe away. However, I've come up with a technique that virtually eliminates the problem -- paper towels!

I wash the herbs well and then simply lay then on one or two paper towels on top of the cutting board. I then chop them in the usually fashion -- and no, it doesn't dull the knife any more than cutting against the wood of the board would. Oddly, the knife doesn't cut through the paper towels, no matter how sharp it is. After chopping, I gather up the towels and fold them over to dry the chopped herbs, then use them like a funnel to transfer the chopped and dried herbs to a bowl.


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Old 07-24-2006, 08:45 PM   #2
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Why are they jumping all over the cutting board? Proper knife technique of keeping the tip of the knife on the board and working back and forth does not cause it to scatter. For basil, roll the leaves and snip them with scissors for a "chiffonade". If you need them to be fine, then run your knife through the chiffonade.

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Old 07-24-2006, 10:55 PM   #3
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I'm amazed you can chop herbs when they are wet! I find the knife just chews at them in that state. I always wash and thoroughly dry them before even thinking about chopping them.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:46 PM   #4
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If you're having that much of a problem, try using a mezzaluna. Or maybe get a bigger cutting board? It could be just that your cutting board has too small of a surface to work with.
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:22 AM   #5
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I use a mezzaluna, but when I was a child, my mum used to put handfuls of herbs in a tea-mug and snip away with kitchen scissors until the herb was the required level.... no mess at all!
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:55 AM   #6
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Sounds like a "surface to mass ratio" problem (cutting board is too small for the amount of herbs being chopped) to me. Well, if you're standing back and "chopping" one-handed then it might be a technique problem - which would explain herbs on the floor.

I just "rock" my knife through my herbs and nothing goes flying around my kitchen. If I have more herbs to process than will fit on my board at one time .. I divide them into bunches that will work without making a mess, and repeat as necessary - of course if I have that much to chop at one time I usually cheat and break out the food processor.

Now, I DO use paper towels - for clean up .. but not for cutting on.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 07-27-2006, 05:25 PM   #7
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Fry boy, I'm going to try it. No, I don't find my herbs "flying" through the kitchen when I chop -- just when I go to clean them. After I wipe the counter and scrape cutting board I find bits and pieces of herbs in the sink, on the floor, on the stove. I'm actually spreading them when trying to clean things. Yes, I "rock" my chef's knive. Yes, I own a mezelluna, unfortunately hubby bought me a double bladed one, thinking it would be better than a single blade one, and I can't bring myself to toss it (he meant well). So the herbs get caught between the two blades, and when I scrape them from between the blades, they do, indeed, go flying. It sounds worth a try to me. I'll report back on how it worked for me. Meanwhile, my kitchen is the one with little specks of green on everything!
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:05 AM   #8
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I keep a couple of those small "coffee" grinders that you push down on to "gind" (actually chop) coffee beans. These work like a charm and there is no mess at all.
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:27 AM   #9
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Use scissors.
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Old 06-05-2007, 02:02 PM   #10
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Wet the cutting board just a bit, and ditch the paper towel method. It may not appear you are cutting the paper, but without a doubt, paper fibers are getting into your herbs.

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