Even Cooking Newbies Should Have These Knives In Their Kitchens
Knife sets are great and all, but for the average home cook, they’re not always necessary. Of course it’s always better to have the best tool for the job, but knives are expensive, so just buy the key players and you can improvise the rest of the time. You’ll be amazed at how much easier cooking is when you have the right tools. Since everyone’s diet is so different, it makes more sense to buy knives a la carte.
Besides cutting up a baguette for bruschetta or crostini, serrated knives come in handy when you’re cutting pretty much anything with a fibrous surface. If you’ve ever tried to cut tomatoes with a regular chef’s knife, you know the struggle. If you’re cutting watermelon or pineapple with a smooth blade it could easily slip off of the surface and cut you. That’s why these toothed long knives are perfect for the job.
Serrated knives grab onto the surface so you don’t have to worry as much about cutting yourself. They also work well for cutting through chocolate. There is way less wear and tear with serrated knives so you’ll have them for a while before you need to get them sharpened.
A chef’s knife, AKA a cook’s knife or French knife, will be the most important knife in your collection. On a general note, an 8-inch chef’s knife will always be a good standard size. These knives are usually made of stainless steal and have a pointed tip and curved cutting edge. Choosing the right chef’s knife can depend on a bunch of factors like the size of your hands, your cooking style and what type of grip feels comfortable for you.
The right chef’s knife is big enough for all of your chopping, dicing, slicing and butchering needs. The broad spectrum of things you can do with a chef’s knife make it the number one tool you should have on hand. You can cut everything from meat to vegetables to bread to cheese, no matter the size.
If you’re a vegetarian, chances are you won’t have a use for a boning knife, but if you eat any kind of meat, this one will be your best friend. A boning knife has a very sharp point and a narrow blade. It’s used for removing bones from poultry, meat and fish. The flexible boning knives, as opposed to the stiff ones, are even better because they cut right along the bone and let you get as much yield from your piece of meat as possible. Use a boning knife as a guide. You basically just run it along the bone, cutting the meat away until you get a clean boneless piece for whatever you’re cooking.
Boning knives are a great tool if you’re on a budget and looking to save a few bucks on your grocery bill. Boneless chicken breasts are more expensive than whole breasts, where you would cut out the bones yourself. Of course, if you’re squeamish when it comes to touching meat, this might not be a tempting option for you, but if you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty you can save some money this way.
If you’re always cutting up fruits and vegetables, a pairing knife should be in your drawer. Pairing knives are small, easy to maneuver and slightly curved. The small pointed tip is great for working with both meat and vegetables and all shapes of foods. The blades are about 3.5 inches. You can use a pairing knife to easily peel all kinds of citrus fruits, take the core out of tomatoes, clean up seafood and slice through all types of potatoes. When you’re working with something small, you don’t want to use a big chef’s knife. It’ll turn into a clumsy production.
While a pair of kitchen shears doesn’t exactly qualify as a knife, it can hold its own in the knife drawer. They’re sharp, easy to use and they make messy kitchen tasks way more manageable. If you do buy a whole knife-block set, chances are a pair of kitchen shears will be a part of it. You can use kitchen shears for everything from cutting through bones or meat, removing herbs from their stems, cutting through leafy greens, easily separating a pizza into slices or just cutting things into bite-sized pieces. Pretty much any job you’re too lazy to use a regular knife for, whip out the kitchen shears for the job.
If you stick with these five knives, your life in the kitchen will be way easier. Even if you don’t actually like to cook, whoever does the cooking in your house will be grateful you have these core tools on hand.