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Feb 29, 2012 03:19 PM

How do you move your chopped vegetables?

Hi, everyone.

I have a question to other seasoned cooks. How do you move your chopped vegetables and others to another container or pan?

Consider the following scenarios.

1) I just chopped 2 onions, 20 garlics, and 2 carrots. I want to add them to my frying pan. I add them straight from the chopping board by lifting the board directly above and pushing the ingredients onto the pan. Some veggies start falling outside of the pan making some messes.

2) I just made the base for a marinara sauce with canned tomatoes. I need to move them to my blender to make a smooth sauce. I grab my pan and try to pour them into the blender. Well the surface of the pan is larger, so some of them drips outside of the blender.

In both situations, I couldn't really use a funnel, because the ingredients are too big. If I try to move them by spoon or even ladle, it just takes too long when I'm busy cooking. Although the ingredients that I spill aren't that much, but I still find them a little wasteful and messy.

I'm wondering how other cooks deal with this issue.

Thank you.

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  1. Situation 1- I hold my cutting board near the pan and keep it almost level while corraling the veggies into the pan with my knife. Usually no mess.

    2 - get an immersion blender. They are cheap and indispensible. I use mine ALL the time, plus I am pretty paranoid about the whole hot liquid-blender issue. And I hate cleaning the blender with a Passion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bamagirl30

      1) Even then, if I have copious amounts of veggies, some of them just spills out. In my example, that's a lot of chopped veggies, and if I lean the board, most of them will end up in the pan but 5% will end outside.

      2) I do have immersion blender. I'll try that next time.


      1. re: rubenhan

        Don't lean the board. Keep the board flat; then aim/corral/angle with the knife, as bamagirl30 said. Works with everything except asparagus, which loves to roll, roll, roll!

      1. re: wyogal

        This! For the first one at least, although I would be in eternal awe of the person who transported boiling tomatoes with their bare hands.

        For the second scenario, dare I suggest... spoon?

        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

          That was for the chopped vegetables. I use an immersion blender, I forgot about the second part, see below. I posted again.

          1. re: wyogal

            Yes, I figured that you only meant that for the first part. But I like the image of some brave chef carrying handfuls of cooked tomatoes across the room to the blender! :)

            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

              I think carrying the blender bowl over to the pan and then ladling in the tomatoes might work without making too much of a mess, but, yes, a REAL man would just carry those hot tomatoes by hand. It's a good kitchen show off trick....really impresses people.

      2. #1 Take the pan to the board.
        #2 Immersion blender or mill/blend your tomatoes from the can before you put them in the pan.

        5 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          1) I don't understand what you are saying. The pan is getting heated on the stove. So I don't want to move a heated pan unless it's necessary. Also, even if I move the pan to the board, I still have to transfer all the chopped veggies either by having the board above the pan and pushing them in or move them little by little by hand.
          2) Most cooking recipes call for whole peeled tomatoes and cooking them crushed on the pan and then blend. If I preblend before cooking, wouldn't it change the taste? (I don't know if it makes difference) Also, I have to blend onions and others inside the tomato sauce. So I still have to transfer the ingredients to the blender. But next time I'll try using the immersion blender.

          1. re: rubenhan

            I1) Moving the pan to the board for a few seconds while you sweep the chopped ingredients into it should make no difference. But if that concerns you, get a wide bowl large enough to hold the chopped ingredients, sweep them into it using your hand and then dump them into the pan. I don't find this particular action that tricky.

          2. re: escondido123

            Mise en place bowls. Cut one vegetable and move it to a bowl. Repeat, using varying sizes of bowls as needed. As long as all bowls are smaller than your pan, you should have no difficulty transferring the contents to the pan with no escapees. My cutting board is large and too unwieldy for just tipping or scraping items into a pot or pan.

            My immersion blender is a godsend. I love my regular blender for cold liquids or when a velvety puree is desired. The immersion blender can also blend to complete purees, but I like having a few lumps left in a tomato sauce or pureed soup.

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              Mise en place bowls


              ugh. more stuff to wash. i just use my hands, then scrape up any stray bits with the knife.

              i have never used a blender for tomato sauce. if i need to move hot liquid form a pot to a blender or food pro i use a big ladle and then can scrape out any remnants with a big rubber spatula.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Mise en place bowls would be my answer to the OP (for scenario 1). If you use a dishwasher, not that big a deal. If you don't, you have to factor in the time to wash a bowl vs. the mess and stress saved by making mise en place a habit. [For pure speed, non-mise can be the winner, if efficient use is made of recipe steps -- chop while something is simmering, coming to a boil, etc.]

          3. .... and for the sauce, I agree with the immersion blender. I have also used a canning funnel (wide mouth) which is quite handy for this type of thing, to put stuff in a blender. I use a ladle at first, then just dump the last little bit in. But, an immersion blender is really the best.

            1. Cooking is messy :)

              I have a stainless steel "scooper" thingy I use sometimes for small items and dry items.

              Sometimes I use a light weight flexible plastic cutting mat ( I have various sizes). These are really good for juicy and sloppy items that stain like tomato, beets, fruits, etc. I just pick up the mat and it flexes into a U -shape to "pour/slide" into the pan. Nice!!!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                +1 - if I have lots of veggies, a cutting mat makes this child's play.

                You can also use a flexible cutting mat to make a funnel for the blender.

                I buy mine at Ikea -- they're about 1/8" thick and cheap.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Whew!... I was beginning to think I was the only one. Looks like Greygarious is on the bandwagon, too.

                  It just seemed obvious to me.