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Are there any good ways to chop fresh cranberries? It tends to end up a bit tedious for me, not catching too many at a time with the knife, and chasing after the ones that roll away. (And I don't have any machines that'd do this for me.)

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6 Answers 6

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You might consider trying slicing them in half first, so at the very least, they're not a round sphere that's liable to roll away. Here's the typical procedure for cherry tomatoes, grapes, pitted olives, etc:

  1. Place a few of them on your cutting surface (as many as would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand
  2. place the palm of your non-knife hand on top of the items.
  3. arc your fingers up as best you can
  4. slice horizontally with a very sharp knife, parallel to your hand and the cutting surface.

If that's small enough, stop, otherwise pile up a bunch of halves, and run your knife through like anything else.

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If you don't need them to be highly uniform a few pulses in a food processor works wonders.

//I rarely use the thing---it the SO's from before we were married---'cause I'm a "I can do everything with three knives" type (that and I hate cleaning it), but this is one of my exceptions...

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I figured this would probably do it, but unfortunately I don't have one. Thanks for confirming, though! –  Jefromi Dec 12 '10 at 23:37

If you don't mind losing some of the juice, try breaking them before cutting them. Use a potato masher or meat tenderizer or something like that to break them into pieces. That way they won't roll around when you're trying to cut them up. Once they are in pieces, you can lay them out on a cutting board and chop away. You can also put several on a cutting board and mash them down with another cutting board on top. That will make them less spherical.

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Or using the broad side of a Chef's knife; which I find is the most expedient way for taking the outside off garlic cloves –  mfg Dec 14 '10 at 15:48

Depending on the sharpness of your knife and your comfort level using it, I would chop these the same as I do other hard things like nuts. Basically, I hold them in place by cupping my thumb and the base of my palm on the cutting board and use a chef's knife or santoku to cut at about a 45 degree angle toward the 1/4" in front of my palm's base (which pushes the berries into the palm of your hand).

You don't actually move the knife's landing mark, but make slow deliberate cuts into the same place (you can also cradle the top of the point using your pinky for eztra stability). The chopped fruit should work its way back and the un-chopped will settle. With the cranberries you can also crush them a bit more than nuts so they wont flip out everywhere.

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If you don't trust your knife skills enough to do this with your hand, you can achieve a similar effect using two knives - one in your off hand to act as a "dam", and the other actively chopping. You do get more escapees top and bottom than if you used your hand, though. –  Marti Dec 14 '10 at 14:35

To do this, I use one of my favorite tools from Pampered Chef, the "food chopper".

There's a similar product called the slap chop (for corny humor, look that one up on YouTube). Other cheap models exist, as well. Like most Pampered Chef products, though it costs more, there are advantages. For this one, primarily in the blade durability and that it can open up for easy rinsing/cleaning. I use this type of product most for dicing olives, onions, and even nuts. Sometimes tomatoes, but only if you want them really mutilated. It doesn't hold a lot, and your hand can hurt if you're going to do more than ten or so rounds, but it does get the job done when you don't want all the hassle/cleanup of the processor, as @dmckee mentioned.

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I find that these food-chopper things are more of a pain to clean than food processors, personally... –  TJ Ellis Dec 14 '10 at 3:31
    
have you tried the Pampered Chef one? opening clamshell/sides and rinsing everything under hot water is about all that's needed - then toss in the dishwasher. –  zanlok Dec 14 '10 at 6:55
    
@TJ Ellis same issue with cleaning (yes, experience with one of the rip-offs); and the choppers are more like crushers frequently and cause a lot of liquid loss –  mfg Dec 14 '10 at 15:46
    
I could see how a dull blade would have that effect. Also, getting it exactly right as far as consistency is a bit of an art. I do find mine way easier to clean than our all the parts to (large) food processor, though. –  zanlok Dec 14 '10 at 16:28

I know that with cherry tomatoes you can put them on an upside down lid that way they stay put, but I don't know how well it would work with cranberries since they are smaller.

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