Are your kitchen knives slowing you down? Having the right knives will cut your prep time in half!
The right knives boil down to 4 basic criteria:
FORGING:Forging has to do with the quality of the knives. Forging means that the knife is made from one piece of steel, from sharp tip to handle end. The handle could be a full piece of steel that fits in your hand, or it could be sandwiched between pieces of plastic or wood.
COMFORT: Try the knives before buying them! Don’t hesitate to pretend to chop in the middle of the store -this is a big purchase! Wooden handles tend to be the most comfortable. It stays warm, as opposed to a full steel handle, and can be carved to feel natural in the hand. Weight is the second factor. A knife with a weightier handle will help you chop with its weight, rather than you having to push it through the food.
TYPE: You will need several types of knives, but there are 4 types that are necessary for the average cook. The first is a chef’s knife: it is wide and about 8 inches long. It is perfect for chopping, from veggies to fruit to herbs to meats and cheeses. The second type is a slicer. It is longer (slightly) and thinner, and works well to slice cooked meat. It can also be used in place of a filleting knife to slice or fillet raw meats. The third type is a utility knife, which is similar in shape to the chef’s knife, but is smaller, usually 4-6 inches. It is good for slicing fruit and vegetables, especially very thinly, as the chef’s knife blade is typically thicker due to its size. The last knife type is the paring knife. It is small – usually 3-4 inches long. It is perfect for peeling, coring, or making decorative garnishes by hand.
CARE: Make sure to get knives that need sharpening, and get a metal sharpening rod. It is important to sharpen your knife before every use. 3-4 times per side is all it takes, and it makes a world of difference in your preparation. In addition, be sure to never leave your knives in the sink, or wet on a towel or drying rack. It can lead to corrosion, rendering your investment useless.
These are 4 essential tips for choosing your kitchen knives, but the bottom line is to try them in the store! Be sure they are curved properly for your hand, weighted well for your usage, and just comfortable overall. Take care of your investment, and it will cut your prep time in half for a long time to come!
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