Are you using the right knife? – Part 1.
Small cutting tasks: paring, cleaning, trimming
We are often asked why we offer so many different blade shapes and sizes and whether it is really necessary to have so many knives to hand. It isn’t strictly necessary but it makes cooking so much more fun and the work a great deal easier. Why, how, in what way – this is what we shall explain in a few articles on this subject.
At first glance, knives can be differentiated above all by their size. We sell knives with blade lengths ranging from 7 cm to 36 cm. This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that small knives should be used to cut small things and large knives to cut larger items. It is not unusual for large knives to be used to slice or dice plenty of smaller items.
Today we shall start by looking at small knives with blades up to 14 cm in length.
These are all well suited to cutting particularly thin slices and chopping small pieces – dice, strips etc.
But let’s have a look at these little specialist knives in detail:
Small and handy with a short, sabre-shaped, curved blade, this knife – also known as a turning knife – is particularly good at peeling and cleaning fruit and vegetables.
Its special blade shape makes it particularly quick and easy to remove the peel from round shapes such as apples, potatoes and mangos. The beneficial vitamins, which are just under the skin, are therefore left behind. The knobbly peel of ginger and the stems of artichokes can also be peeled in a very precise and controlled way with this knife.
The smooth cutting edge of the peeling knife ensures very precise cuts and therefore makes it ideal for scooping out and decorating fruit, vegetables or mushrooms.
This slender knife – the 4 ½ inch version is also called a utility knife – is best suited to cutting onions, garlic and vegetables as it enables a particularly fine slice. Its slender and straight blade means it is also perfect for finely chopping herbs, studding meat or coring fruit.
Paring knife with straight blade (hollow edge)
This small and handy knife is suitable for all kinds of paring jobs. Whether you want to cut apples up small, chop carrots and peppers or cut cucumber or radishes to use as decorations – this knife is just right for the job. Trimming knives with a hollow edge have hollows on the blade to produce little air pockets, which prevent food from sticking to the blade and therefore make it easier for the blade to glide.
Serrated utility knife
With a 14 centimetre long blade, this is a medium-sized knife. The serrated edge is better suited to cutting many types of food with a hard or firm skin than the small knives mentioned above. Particularly good at cutting cured sausage, as well as cheese and bread rolls or baguette – this is the ideal knife for breakfast, brunch and slicing bread.
The serrated edge of the tomato knife cleanly cuts tomatoes into fine slices – as well as aubergines, pods or soft fruits (plums, peaches, nectarines etc.).
It is also ideal for making cocktail decorations. The forked tip makes it easy to pick up individual slices that have been cut.
Many of our “large” knives are also available with short but wide blades, because some people like it best this way. For example, our range includes cook’s knives with 12 cm and 14 cm blades and the Santoku with a 14 cm blade.
The cook’s knife is a real all-rounder when it comes to cutting vegetables and herbs. Its wide, curved blade is ideal for chopping using the rocking technique.
This type of knife makes it easy to produce julienne strips, bâtonnets or a fine dice. As it is the most important knife to have in the kitchen, we have devoted an entire page to the cook’s knife under the “Knowledge” section of our website.
The Santoku knife is perfect for fine cutting tasks. The hollow edge ensures that any thin or soft food you are cutting does not stick to the blade – so it’s excellent for cutting or dicing cucumbers, for example. Its wide blade makes it easy to pick up and transport the food you have cut or press it flat. It also ensures that there is sufficient space between your fingers and the cutting board when you are cutting.
Over the next few months, you can look forward to some other articles in this series covering the following topics:
• Large cuts: carving, portioning
• Fish: chopping, filleting
• Herbs: cutting, dicing, chopping
• Small vegetables
• Large vegetables
• Meat and poultry on the bone
• Crusts and firm foods
• Different types of bread
• Filleting meat and poultry, and preparing fruit
• Hard and soft cheeses
• Sticky, gooey foods
• Exotic knives for special applications
If there are any other topics you would like to see, please feel free to send in questions and suggestions.
After all, you have to ask a question to be sure to get the answer you need.
So, with this in mind, happy cutting and cooking!