Knife Basics

Basic Knife Skills Having the right knives and knowing how to
use them is essential for preparing simple, healthy meals at home.
You really only need 4 cutting tools: a paring knife, a bread knife, a chef’s knife, and
a pair of kitchen shears. A paring knife is a small knife about 2 ½
to 4 inches long for peeling, cutting and coring small fruits and vegetables.
A chef’s knife is an all-purpose knife with a curved blade that is about 6 to 12 inches
long. It is great for a variety of cutting tasks from chopping fruits and vegetables
to slicing meat. The most versatile chef’s knife is between 6 and 8 inches long.
A bread knife is about 6 to 10 inches long and has a serrated edge to keep food from
tearing during cutting. It is perfect for slicing bread, but can also be used to cut
sandwiches, tomatoes, or other soft fruits and vegetables. Even use it as a carving knife
for cutting meats and poultry. Kitchen shears are very handy for opening
packages, cutting chicken or herbs, and other tasks. The pull-apart ones are the best for
easy cleaning. Knife safety and care is essential to protect
yourself and your knives. Remember these important tips about using and caring for your knives.
Always cut on a wood or plastic cutting board and never on the counter, a plate, or hard
surfaces like tile or granite. Don’t store knives loosely in a drawer.
The blade could get damaged or cut someone reaching into the drawer.
Carry knives with the blade pointing straight down at your side and the cutting edge pointing
behind you. Never carry a knife with the blade pointing up or out, because it could accidentally
hurt someone. Don’t use a knife in place of another tool
like a can opener or screwdriver. This can damage the blade and could injure the user.
Clean your knives by washing them by hand in hot, soapy water. Do not put them in the
dishwasher. The best method of drying knives is to let them air dry.
Store your clean knives in a block or case. If you need to transport them, use a knife
case or roll them up in a towel and put in a hard storage container.
Keeping knives sharp is also important. A knife that is not sharp is dangerous and won’t
work as well. Sharpen your knives with a knife sharpener
at least once a year, and more often if you use them frequently. Instead of doing this
yourself, you could have them professionally sharpened.
Just a few basic knives and cutting boards are all you need to keep cooking smart and
eating smart!

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