When it comes to picking cutlery, there’s a lot to consider. Having the right knife can cut down your time in the kitchen and actually improve your end product. Not convinced that swapping knives can make a difference in your meals? I wasn’t either. Then my family got a knife set as a gift. Since then, we’ve been chopping, dicing and slicing with greater ease! This edition of TRIO highlights three things we learned about bringing the right blade to the cutting board.
Knife blades come in different shapes and sizes for a reason. If you’re like me and you just grab a knife and start chopping, you’re likely not getting the best results for your effort. A traditional chef’s knife has a blade that is typically eight- to 10-inches long and its blade curves upward and ends in a sharp point. A chef’s knife is used for cutting thicker cuts of fruits, vegetables and meats. If you can only afford one good knife, this is the one you want to purchase. A paring knife has a shorter blade, generally around two- to four-inches, and is made for trimming fruits and vegetables. A serrated knife comes into play when you’re cutting bread. Serrated knives have tiny teeth that are ideal for cutting through the hard crust while maintaining the softness of the bread itself. Why the need for so many knives? In one word – precision. When you’re using the right tool, you can work more efficiently with your ingredients and make your cuts more uniform, which impacts both texture and cooking time.
When it comes to cutlery, one size does not fit all. When you’re holding a knife, it should feel like an extension of your hand. There are three things to think about when you’re trying to find your perfect fit. The first is the weight of the knife – does it physically feel right in your hand? If not, try another. Balance is another essential element. When you hold the knife, if it doesn’t feel evenly proportioned, put it back. If you settle for something that’s not a good fit, you’ll end up having to work harder with each cut. Blade size is another consideration. What are you primarily going to use the knife for? Knowing that will help determine whether you need a longer or shorter blade. If you aren’t sure or just want something that’s versatile, an 8-inch chef knife is considered a safe bet in almost all culinary circles.
I’ve learned the hard way that it’s actually more unsafe to try and cut something with a dull knife than a sharp one! When a blade is dull, you have to put more pressure on it to physically make a cut. Dull knives are also more likely to slide over what you’re cutting rather than pierce the surface. This combination can be dangerous! When you need to sharpen your knife, there are a couple of options to consider. Electric knife sharpeners make a knife that’s as good as new in under 2 minutes. Whetstones are an easy option, but there’s a learning curve on how to hold your blade at the correct angl3. A lot of cooks hone their blades to keep their knives in shape. Technically, a honing blade doesn’t sharpen a knife, but it does realign the blade, which helps with its effectiveness. If you’re not comfortable sharpening your own knives, leave it to the professionals! Oklahoma City and Tulsa both have businesses that specialize in keeping blades at their best.
Interested in learning more about making the most out of each cut? Join us for the upcoming Basic Knife Skills class! Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center.