Kitchen knives come in all shapes and sizes, each with a different function. To work efficiently in the kitchen you need to know which knife to use for which purpose. As a start, you only need to get the first three knives listed below. As time goes by, and your needs grow and become more refined, you can add others to your collection.
1. Chef’s knife (or chef’s knife): this is the knife you probably use most often, because it is multifunctional. Its blade is hard and broad, and 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long with a sharp tip. You can use it to…
- a cut
- diced, minced
- grind the spices, for example, with the flat of the blade…
2. Paring knife: a small knife, ideal for more delicate work. You can, for example, use it to work on food items while holding them in your other hand, by…
- peel the potatoes or remove their stains
- chop garlic or parsley
- peach or core apple
- decoration products to decorate in a more interesting way…
The blade of a knife is thin, narrow, and sharp at the tip. It is from 2 to 4.5 inches (5 to 11 cm) in length, and the cutting edge can be either straight, or serrated, or a combination of both. (The blade may also resemble a bird’s beak. This is a subspecies of the paring knife, also known as paring knife.)
3. Bread knife: this knife helps you cut hard and thick crusts of bread quite effortlessly. You can also use it to cut very fresh bread, cake, watermelon, etc. Its blade is usually serrated and 5 to 9 inches (13 to 23 cm) long; enough to cut slices from long or round loaves of bread.
Other kitchen knives for different purposes
4. Utility knife: a knife that is something between a chef’s knife and a paring knife. It is especially useful for soft foods, such as…
- raw sausage or tomato skin
- vegetables and other fruits
- other small hard-shelled food items…
Its blade is firm, narrow and 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 cm) long. In addition to being smooth, the cutting edge can be serrated as well.
5. Boning knife: a good choice if you often work with raw meat products. You can use it to debone fish, chicken or beef, cut meat joints, remove roots, fat, fish skin, etc. Its blade is 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm) long. It is flexible (although it can also be firm), narrow, curved and with a sharp point. (Some knives of this type have a longer blade, 6 to 11 inches (15 to 28 cm) long. These are also known as fillet knives.)
6. Carving knife: to cut meat, poultry or fish that has already been prepared. Its blade is 8 to 15 inches (20 to 38 cm) long; enough to cut good serving pieces in one movement. It can be firm, for cutting tougher types of meat…
- roast beef ribs
Or flexible (these knives are also known as slicers) for finer meats…
- roast chicken, turkey
- smoked or dried fish…
Some of these kitchen knives are equipped with a fork, to hold the meat while cutting. This both keeps the meat firm while cutting and ensures you don’t cut yourself.
7. Cleaver: a knife with a broad blade, heavy and solid. You can use it to…
- chop and chop large bones
- cut poultry, meat or fish
- crush or grind seeds, garlic, etc., with the flat of the blade…
For generally more difficult tasks.
8. Steak knives: for use when eating, to cut prepared meat (or other types of food) into mouth-sized pieces. Their blade is narrow, thin and 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long. The cutting edge can be smooth, serrated, or both.
9. Asian Knives: these kitchen knives will probably be more comfortable for you if you cook Asian food often. They are lighter, thinner and sharper. More popular types are Santoku, Deba Knife, Usuba, Fish Knives…
Santoku combines a chef’s knife and, to a lesser extent, a cleaver. This makes it useful for different purposes.
10. Special kitchen knives:
- for the cheese
- for the fruit
- for tomatoes
- for seafood…
You will find that some of the knives listed above have a gap on the blade. Therefore the product does not stick to the blade when you want to cut it into very thin slices.
What are kitchen knives made of
1. A metal part.
The metal part of the knives can be…
- high carbon stainless steel
- high carbon steel
- stainless steel, ceramic, titanium, molybdenum-vanadium…
It could be…
- welded together from different pieces…
Some of the highest quality kitchen knives are made from forged, high carbon stainless steel. These knives are durable, strong and stay strong for a long time. They will not stain, rust or add a metallic taste to your food.
The metal for the blade of these knives continues along the entire length of the knife, so that everything is one complete unit. This gives stability and strength to the knife. Between the blade and the tang (the piece of metal to which the handle is attached) there is usually a boster (a thick piece of metal that helps the balance and weight of the knife.)
Stamped knives do not have a bolster because they are made of sheet steel. They are light, and also uncomfortable to use due to the lack of good balance. Moreover, they become clear quite quickly. Therefore, their price is correspondingly lower than forged and high carbon stainless steel knives.
Some kitchen knives are made differently. For example, JA Henckels uses another technology: SCT (Sintermetal Component Technology). These knives are also of high quality.
The handle of your kitchen knives should…
- it will be durable, which does not require much care on your part
- be easy to grip, with a size that matches the size of your hand (if you have a small hand, you can get tired of a knife with a large handle)
- is closely attached to the metal to eliminate gaps, where dirt can accumulate over time
- have a smooth and level surface. This is a consideration if the handle is attached to the metal with rivets. You don’t want to be able to feel the rivets while working. In addition, the rivets must fit perfectly to avoid the accumulation of dirt between the handle and the rivets
The handle can be made of…
- stainless steel
- various types of plastic
- wood, rubber…
Plastic and stainless steel handles are healthy, hygienic and easy to serve. You have to take extra care of the wooden handles, because they are susceptible to attack by micro-organisms. They can also crack or warp over time.
With a stainless steel handle, look for one that is furrowed or has a rubber piece attached. Then it won’t slip in your hand while you’re working.
How to keep your kitchen knives in perfect condition
1. Store your knives in a knife block, or on a magnetic knife rack attached to the wall, or put them in sheaths.
If you store them in a drawer, at least put them in a separate section. Otherwise, they can become flat and jagged when they come into contact with other utensils. Another problem with storing your knives in the drawer is that you can cut yourself trying to get a particular tool.
2. Use a cutting board when cutting, made of wood or polyethylene (they are softer so your knives will keep cutting longer).
3. Wash and dry your knives manually after each use. Therefore no food residue remains on them and their blades do not stain from strong food acids (tomatoes, onions, lemons…).
If you wash them in the dishwasher, your knives can become blunt or blunt because they collide with other utensils. The rivets of their handles can be loosened. In addition, hot water can crack the handle or ruin the quality of their steel.
4. Keep your knives sharp. Sharp knives are safer and easier to use from the unabashed ones. You will have to press harder with the dark ones and you can cut yourself if the knife slips.
Focusing the blade (usually on steel) before or after each use. After a period of time, the sharpening will not be enough, and you will have to sharpen. There are different quality sharpeners for home use.
It is more difficult to sharpen knives with a serrated blade than those with a straight blade. In addition, some serrated blades cannot be sharpened at all; these will need to be replaced after prolonged use.
5. Do not use your knives as a screwdriver or opener: protecting the blade.
1. Quality kitchen knives are sharp, solid and well balanced. Once you have them, you will find them a joy to use.
2. Knives in the kitchen are subject to constant use. Choose the best ones you can afford. Two of the best brands are the German-made JA Henckels and Wusthof knives.
If you decide to invest in just one high quality knife, choose the a chef’s knife.
3. Consider the possibilities for a kitchen knife set. Knives bought in sets are often cheaper than those bought individually. The set may include…
- some of the knives described above
- a wooden block for storing knives
- steel for honing
Choose a set that includes knives that you intend to use regularly (some sets contain a large number of knives, some of which you may never use). Click here for the best deals on kitchen knives