How to chop an onion for beginners
Chopping an onion is one of those things that everyone has their own way of doing it.
If you have your own established way of chopping an onion, please carry on. My method below is not the only way to chop an onion, however it is an easy way to teach a child to do so.
Before you begin – please do read my previous blog on teaching your child to use a knife safely and effectively. You can find the link here
When doing this with very young children or those with stiffness of joints or difficulty gripping I recommend the use of a vegetable holder. It looks like an extended comb with a handle.
For others I start by teaching them two safe grips for the vegetable: Bridge hold – useful for cutting a larger/round vegetable and keeping it stable. Lay the veg flat side down (if possible) and make an arch over the food with your thumb on one side, fingers on the other. The knife goes under the bridge.
Claw grip – useful for fine dicing and slicing and often useful for long thin items such as carrots/celery.
Make your hand into a claw and grip the item like this using your finger nails as buffers for any possible slipping with the knife.
To start off with…
Talk your child through the anatomy of the onion. Let them hold it and describe the textures, and shape. Identify the root (the hairy bit) and the shoot (the pointy bit). This is a good chance to teach children where their food comes from. Onions do no grow on trees, they are not made in factories, they grow in the ground.
You could also talk about the papery skin and it’s colour. This could lead into a discussion about different types of onion – how many members of the onion family can your child name?
This is a perfect lead into a bit of gardening – if you so wish. Or maybe a tip to the garden centre to identify other members of the onion family.
A note on how to hold the knife…
One more tip … Children often hold a knife or spoon by the very end of the handle. This gives them weaker/more wobbly control. R
emind them to hold the knife firmly, with the hand along most of the knife handle and as close to the blade as possible.
My safety knife and vegetable holder
* I totally recommend my safety knife, but can’t sell them to you as they are out of production.
Anyone know of someone who can help me with this?
I’d love to get them made, they are so useful…. I pretty much use mine all the time at home!