Slicing, dicing or grating; does the way you cut a vegetable really have any impact whatsoever on its taste?
Does preparing your vegetables with fancy—or not-so-fancy—knife work really affect the way they taste?
We understand if you think it does not, after all it is really just shapes and sizes right?
Not according to a recent story from NPR however which shows that both chefs and food scientists (who should know the most about food) agree that the way we cut a vegetable has an impact on its final flavor, and the reason why can be explained with a bit of chemistry.
So here is the science lesson behind how you cut your vegetables. First of all, we are made to understand that the chemical makeup of a piece of produce is what determines its taste or flavor.
When a vegetable is crushed or sliced open, the cells rupture and release enzymes which trigger a chemical reaction that will then take the form of a pleasant taste or aroma.
A number of factors therefore come into play in considerations of how you cut a vegetable. For one, surface area (the part of the vegetable able to come in contact with other ingredients) will affect the flavor.
Grating a carrot, for instance, would give a greater surface area than chopping. More finely cut vegetables will react more with other ingredients.
The article by NPR goes indepthly into various views on why exactly the way you cut a vegetable impacts the final flavor and they consider things like;
- Cut affects texture, which some food experts believe affects flavor — or at least our perception of flavor.
- Aroma also contributes to flavor, and different cuts can make certain fruits and vegetables smell differently.
- The finer a vegetable is cut, the more enzymes it releases, resulting in a more intense flavor.
So, your cutting style for each meal that you include a vegetable is influencing the final flavor of that meal, but it’s up to you to decide if it’s enough of a bother for you to consider trying out different styles.