The Essential Knives in the Kitchen

Aug 21, 2011
Veronica Brandy

It is better to have the right utensils for cooking. Knives, especially, have different uses depending on their shape and blades, but they represent a real investment. If you cannot invest in a complete set of cooking aprentice, here are the essential knives to keep in your drawers. According to Norman Weinstein in his book and DVD Mastering Knife Skills, the knife is the most important tool in the kitchen.

It is often difficult to identify the various existing knives if we never had the chance to see the preparation of a family meal. However, some knives are indispensable for the everyday cooking.

The essentials

The peeler: small, with a blade slit in the center, it can peel the skin of vegetables very finely. French call it “econome”. Very suitable for small round vegetables.

The paring knife is a knife with a short handle and short (7-11cm) and sharp blade. It allows you to peel and cut vegetables, fruits and mushrooms. It is also useful to cut the heart of the apple, or other delicate operations like seeding a japaleno pepper. Here’s an exemple of a paring knife via Amazon.

The chef knife: as we can see on this example, with a thick plate of 25 to 30 cm, this knife is essential for cutting poultry, raw meat and chop finely various ingredients.

Additional knives

The bread knife: with long and serrated blade, it can cut all kinds of bread. Very useful for cutting baguette slices without crushing.

Oyster knife for fans of seafood: with or without protective guard, the oyster knife has a short, strong, pointed blade at the end to penetrate easily into the shell.

The grapefruit knife, can cut the quarters of half-grapefruit, keeping the pulp intact. Here’s a Messermeister grapefruit Knife via Amazo via Amazon.

The cheese knife: with its characteristic curved blade to cut and serve cheese. The blade is often hollowed for soft cheese for soft cheese, as it reduces the blade sticking to the cheese. Only useful for chic dinner!

If you want to follow the fashion of Japanese knives, choose a Santoku Knife with a blade designed for chopping vegetables, herbs, fish and meat. It is the japanese version of the chef’s knife.

Tips
The maintenance of a knife is essential to be useful for a long time. Wash your knives by hand, without soaking them and dry them imediately. Sharpen them once a month with a sharpening stone on both sides of the blade.

Don’t miss the book from Norman Weinstein Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen , as it explains how to choose, use and keep your knives at their best.

Photo by gardener41

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