They say that home is where the heart is, and the heart of the home is the kitchen. This is where excellent, nourishing food is prepared. And whether you’re a first-rate chef or the average foodie, you’ll need to have the right tools to cook your food. One of the most important kitchen tool is the knife (or knife set); without it, you can’t remove fat from meat, cut vegetables or fruits, or slice bread. But finding the perfect knife for your kitchen doesn’t have to be rocket science.
The Chef’s Knife
This is one of the most important knives in your kitchen arsenal. It’s a long, thick blade and should feel comfortable in your hand when you use it. It’s used to slice, dice, chop, and mince products like vegetables, meats, and fish.
The best chef’s knife that you can find at Cut It Fine will be one made of high-carbon stainless steel, which gives it strength, excellent edge retention, and prevents rusting. They’re available in different lengths, but an 8-inch chef’s knife is ideal for home kitchen use.
The Paring Knife
This is a small bladed knife, usually 3 or 4 inches in length. You’ll use this knife for delicate slicing or dicing work when the chef’s knife is just too much blade. Don’t underestimate how much you’ll use this knife, and make sure you get a high-quality blade.
Bread (or Serrated) Knife
A bread knife is usually 8-inches long and has curved serrations, but it’s not just for bread. You can use a bread knife for tough-skinned things like tomatoes and eggplant, but it’s also effective for fruits and veggies with tough rinds like pineapple or melons. The edges are also perfect for slicing through bread without smashing them. Though you can’t sharpen a bread knife like you can other blades, a professional knife sharpener can do the job for you.
A utility knife can take on some of the duties of a paring knife, but it’s ideal for everyday use. It’s usually 5 or 6 inches long and can have either a straight or serrated edge.
If you buy all your meat products ready-to-use, you probably will never use a boning knife. But, it’s perfect if you hunt and butcher your kills, because it allows you to slice meat from the bones. It also works great for cleaning and fileting fish, so if you have a fisherman in your home, you’re going to need a boning knife, usually around 5 inches long.
This is generally used for slicing things like roasts into thin pieces. They’re usually 8 to 12 inches long and can come with either a round or pointed tip. A sharp slicing knife will let you cut pretty, even slices of cake, too.
The Filet Knife
This thin, flexible-bladed knife is similar to a boning knife, but it’s used for removing thick filets from fish. But, it’s also useful for removing the skin from other meats as well as veggies.
What’s in a Knife?
Knives are made from different materials, so it’s important to know what you’re looking at when you shop for new knives. Materials also range in price, so you’ll need to understand this when you’re searching for a knife.
This material offers a thinner blade but is more brittle than other metals and is prone to rust and discoloration. You’ll have to clean and lubricate the knife after each use, and it will still take on a darker color with age (called patina).
This is an alloy made of iron, chromium, and other metals with a very low amount of carbon. They’re not prone to rusting or patina, but you can’t get quite as sharp an edge with stainless as you can with carbon steel blades. However, they can be inexpensive and make a good starter knife.
High-Carbon Stainless Steel
As the name implies, they have more carbon in the mixture than regular stainless blades. They can hold an edge for a long time and sharpen quickly and easily. Though they can rust, it takes quite a lot of abuse for a high-carbon blade to rust. These are probably the best overall kitchen knives.
This is a light-weight material that is truly hard. A ceramic blade will hold an edge longer than the others. You can’t sharpen them at home because they are so hard, so keep that in mind. But it also won’t discolor or add an odd taste to any of the food it’s used on.
No matter what kind of kitchen knives you ultimately decide on, it’s important to keep them clean and sharp. Whether you’re a top-level chef or just a family cook, your knives are one of the most important tools you’ll ever own. When searching for the perfect kitchen knife, make sure it’s balanced in your hand and will fit all your cooking needs.