10 Useful Kitchen Tools That Are Sharp


Believe it or not, a good knife is not the only sharp, essential cooking implement man has developed since we first started roasting hog joints on an open barbecue (Presumably in a cave somewhere, and 1-2 million years ago).

Sure, a good set of sharpened knives in your kitchen drawer is the base for cooking any type of decent food. But there are several other sharp kitchen tools that you should consider. Not only can they ensure your food doesn’t look like it’s just been handled by a caveman, they can also make people go ‘Ow!’ as they thrash their hand around in your kitchen drawer looking for some other tool (Ok that’s a joke).

Here are 10 useful kitchen tools that happen to be sharp.

Micro-Plane hand grater

There are some things even the best knife can’t do very well, and that is grating food. You could spend minutes finely chopping up garlic cloves or you could do it in seconds using a grater. Hand-graters are the best for mobility.

Mandoline

Another area of use where knives get left in the dust is finely slicing. Sure, you can make thin slices with a knife but to slice food into delicate shaves you should invest in a mandoline for all your slicing and julienning needs.

Paring knife

Ok, I’ve been castigating knives all article long but this is a different type of knife. Paring knives are convenient little tools that can be used for anything from cutting off a spread of butter to peeling a citrus fruit. Get one.

Bench Scraper

While these are not particularly sharp, they are certainly sharp enough to part bits of uncooked meat, separate frozen patties or scrape food from the chopping board. Because that, and more, is what they are useful for and why you need one.

Peeler

These don’t take up much real estate in your kitchen door, and not only do fruits and vegetables not stand a chance when confronted with one, they are also pretty sharp. So they make the list.

Corkscrew

Any cook worth his salt will need to cook with wine at some stage, and when you do, you’ll need a corkscrew to open the bottle.

Can-Opener

Like the corkscrew, but even more self-explanatory. If you haven’t got one, you’re either highly dangerous with a knife or rather blasé about cooking.

Meat thermometer

Ok, this is a stretch for ‘sharp’ utensils. But give me a break. You need one to safely and perfectly cook your meats.

Spatula

Look, you can still nip yourself on one of these if you come at it with the wrong angle, so a spatula can be technically sharp. And very useful.

Hand-Blender

This tool’s sharpness is unquestionable, and rounds out the things that you can’t do as well with anything else.

Most Popular Styles of Kitchen Knives

If you’re like most new home cooks, you’ve got basic essentials in your kitchen. Pots and pans, mixing bowls and measuring cups are often the first items bought when stocking a kitchen. Most cooks will also have a few knives for basic cutting and chopping, but shopping for knives can be intimidating. Knife blades and handles come in a vast assortment of shapes, lengths and widths, and it can be difficult to decide which are essential for your daily needs. There are, however, 7 popular styles of kitchen knives which should be in every kitchen.

1. Chef’s knife

This knife can come in a variety of sizes, but Western style chef knives are generally long with a flat dull edge and a rounded sharp edge. Useful for almost any kitchen task, chef knives are used primarily in slicing, chopping and even mincing. Cubing or slicing meat is easily done with a chef knife. You’ll quickly find this knife one of the most versatile and useful of all your knives.

2. Paring knife

Paring knives not only vary slightly in size, but also in shape. Some are designed for removing meat from the bones of animals, some for peeling fruits and vegetables, and some have a serrated edge for slicing bread, or vegetables with a thick skin and a soft inside. Generally paring knives have a small handle with a three to four inch blade. Because of their size, paring knives can be used for more detailed, intricate kitchen work, and can even be used to make decorative fruit or vegetable creations.

3. Boning knife

As the name suggests, boning knives are used for removing meat from the bones of animals you’ve cooked, such as chicken and fish. The blades are usually about three to four inches long, but can be shorter. In contrast to the paring knife, boning knives often have a curved blade, allowing for easier access to meat around small bones such as the ribcage of a chicken. They’re also able to cut easily through bones and cartilage.

4. Cleaver

The cleaver is usually considered a butchering knife. It has a rectangular shaped blade, usually about six inches long. Not intended for slicing, the cleaver is an excellent tool for chopping meats, such as boned fish or pork ribs. While not the most widely used knife style, it can be convenient to have a cleaver if you do a lot of outdoor cooking or smoking.

5. Bread knife

The bread knife features a long, serrated blade which lends itself perfectly to cutting through crusty breads. Because of the serration, the blade will saw through thick crust and through the soft bread beneath without tearing it. In a pinch, the bread knife can be used to cut vegetables with thick skins and soft fruit, such as tomato, eggplant or avocado.

6. Tomato knife

The tomato actually has a knife of its own. The tomato knife features a small blade, generally around four inches long. It is serrated, and unique because of it’s pronged tip. The prongs are useful for picking up slices of food such as cucumber or, of course, tomato.

7.  Grapefruit knife

Like the cleaver, you may not find yourself using this knife very often. But if you do happen to own one, it can be helpful in sectioning oranges, grapefruit, or even spreading butter. The grapefruit knife is around four inches long, and is serrated on two sides. The tip of the knife is usually rounded, and the knife blade itself has a bend in it. The grapefruit knife, when inserted near the pith of a grapefruit, can “saw” in both directions, allowing you to scoop out individual chunks of grapefruit. It can also be used when cooking with lemons, oranges or other fruits.

Of all the knife styles, only you can determine which will be best for your kitchen. While a chef knife and a paring knife are essential to a well stocked kitchen, you may find that you’ll also use a boning or bread knife daily. Reviewing your diet and the foods you cook the most will assist you in deciding which knives will be most helpful to you. It’s most important to remember to have fun and experiment, and always use your knives with caution.

Top 5 Knife Skills

If you think to julienne a potato is to cook it like your mum’s best friend Julie does, then you are probably in need of some new knife skills.

Your ability to wield a knife can be the difference between serving high-class cuisine or crude diner-level slop. To give you the best chance of whipping up the former, here are 5 top knife skills everyone should have in their locker.

Sharpening your knife

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Before you even start cooking, you need to ensure that your blade is sharp and if it isn’t, you should know how to sharpen one. The best method is to use a whetstone (or sharpening stone). Drag your knife across the surface back and forth with the blade about 2cm from being flat to the surface. Repeat on the other side.

Julienning or allumette

With this skill the idea is cut vegetables into thin, uniform matchsticks and it is most useful for salads and stir fries. The most common vegetables to julienne are potatoes, carrots and zucchini.

  • After washing and drying, place veg on a cutting board and chop off ends.
  • Peel if necessary.
  • Cut the vegetable into two.
  • Trim on all four lengthway sides to make a flat surface.
  • Cut into sheets while holding together, then turn block and cut into sticks.

Chiffonade

This method is used mostly for cutting greens and herbs and helps you cut long, thin strips of ingredients which can be used as dressing or garnishes.

  • Pull off the stems of your leaves.
  • Stack them according to size to ensure cuts are even.
  • Use the knife in a rocking motion to finely shave the greens.

Tournet

Used on vegetables like carrots, potatoes and squash, this technique cuts ingredients into oblong-shaped pieces and is similar to an allumette cut.

  • Peel the veg, cut off the ends and then square.
  • Cut in half and then again lengthways.
  • Taper the edges of both ends so the veg resembles the shape of an American football.
  • Pare each piece down so it has seven sides, turning the piece in your hand as you go.

Supreme citrus fruit

Dealing with citrus fruits shouldn’t be any harder than veg. Here’s how to professionally segment those oranges and lemons.

  • Cut off ends.
  • Place knife under skin at top of fruit.
  • Peel in one by rotating fruit as you slice under skin.
  • Hold fruit in hand and cut down between each segment.

 

10 Things you can use a knife for in the Kitchen

Did you know that you can use a good knife to open a can of food? How about using this everyday tool to batonnet an onion?

Because you see, in the hands of a cooking pro, the kitchen knife is a versatile weapon and not just something to chop up ingredients into basic chunks.

Read on to find out 10 essential uses of a knife and how to put one to proper use when cooking.

Dicing

Ok, let’s start with an easy one. Dicing is different to cutting because it allows you to chop fruits and veggies into even-sided cubes and is a more professional way of preparing them. First cut your food into square-sided pieces of equal length, place them in a row and cut the whole group into cubes. Simple.

Mincing

Once you know how, mincing food is so simple but it is shocking how few home cooks employ this method. Simply hold the knife and place your second hand on the blunt end of the end. Now simply roll the knife over your food item (herbs, greens) in a smooth motion.

Batonnet vegetables

A French word that means literally ‘baton’, use this method to make sticks out of your veg. Top and tail it first, stand it on its end, then cut down into strips. Now line these up flat and slice away to form lovely batons.

Julienning

Similar to the batonnet technique, to julienne, cut food into rectangular 1/8-inch strips Then stack the strips on top of each other and slice lengthwise into ½ cm cubes.

Scraping

After everything’s chopped up, don’t use your grubby hands to claw food into the pan, use your knife!

Transporting ingredients

Need to transfer ingredients to a pot? Use your knife! And save on washing-up in the process.

Crushing

Ever need to crush peppercorns? Or mince garlic? A knife is perfect for the job. Either the blade or the handle can perfectly crush food.

Package opening

A chef doesn’t have time to fiddle about with scissors to open packaged food. No, they slice everything open with their sharp kitchen knife.

Opening cans

A good steel knife can be used to cut open any standard tin can of food. Either cut it horizontally by anchoring back and forth slowly, or pierce a hole in the top and continue this around to form an opening.

Opening bottles

No need to rummage around in your drawer for a bottle opener. Simply use your knife to carefully prise the top off bottles instead.

 

 

5 Essential Kitchen Utensils

If you’re so bad at cooking that family turn and snigger amongst themselves any time you enter a kitchen, friends mysteriously go down with illnesses whenever you invite them to your dinner parties, or your partner feels peculiarly more attracted to others that can cook than is normal, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

So here’s how to solve it. Do you know the saying ‘A good cook always blames his tools’? No?! Well let’s pretend for a minute that you do. Because it’s true – you can’t cook good food without the proper kitchen utensils. The foundation for all good food is a set of the right tools to cook it with. So give yourself half a chance and consider adding these to your kitchen drawer.

Wooden spoon

You’re going to spend an inordinate amount of time stirring things if you want to take cooking even half seriously. God forbid, even if you want to take it seriously by just 25%, you are going to need to stir things at some point. The only alternative to stirring is shaking, but only the biggest chancer of a cook is going to pull that trick regularly. So you will need a spoon, and the best types of stirring spoons are wooden. Not only will this not scratch your Tefal pan, you can also use it as a handy implement to thwack the back of eager hands hovering over your pans.

Whisk

Unless you have a penchant for self-punishment, trying to whisk up a meringue with a fork is the preserve of a lunatic. There’s only one tool that will do in this case, or any other food item that requires vigorous sloshing around, and that is a whisk.

Peeler

There’s always a reason why your friend serves carrots with the skin not shaved off or potatoes with the peel left to get stuck in your teeth – they’ve probably lost their peeler. Get a metal peeler and you can remove that unsightly skin faster than any knife.

Knives

If you are from the school of thought that thinks using a bread knife is sufficient for all your cooking needs, I can’t help you. You are too far gone. For everyone else, let me tell you that a good, stainless steel cutting knife is the most elementary of kitchen tools you’ll need for cooking. Buy a set of different types of knives if you want to be taken seriously.