Good knives are an essential part of any cook’s kitchen. But having a nice set of kitchen knives isn’t enough — you need to know how to use them properly.
Using the right knife for each task helps you prepare ingredients more efficiently, gives your food the appropriate texture, and lets you work more safely. The wrong knife can not only make food prep slower, but messier.
Choosing the right knife, using it safely, and holding it correctly will give you superior control when cutting your ingredients, and give you more confidence in the kitchen.
Types of Knives
These are the basic types of kitchen knives home cooks should have on hand:
Chef – An essential knife for every kitchen. Chop, slice and dice all fruits, vegetables and meat.
Utility – An all-purpose, mid-size knife for chopping and cutting larger fruits and vegetables. A serrated edge is ideal for tomatoes.
Slicer – Cut clean, even slices of meat with the long blade and pointed tip.
Bread – The serrated, scalloped edge is perfect for cutting loaves of bread with hard crusts.
Boning/Filet – Used to trim and carve meats.
Parer – A small knife that gives you control to trim and slice small fruits and vegetables.
Keep it sharp – Dull blades can slip and cause you to cut yourself. Be sure your knives are properly sharpened at all times.
Get a grip – For maximum control, pinch the blade near the bolster with your thumb and curled index finger and wrap your three back fingers around the handle.
Use it mindfully – In the hustle of preparing a meal, it’s easy to get a little careless. After handling a knife, lay it down in a cleared area with the blade away from the body and at safe distance from the edge of the cutting area. Don’t reach blindly for a knife; reach deliberately for the handle. And remember; never try to catch a falling knife.