You could spend a fortune on fancy kitchen knives you’ll never use, but why TF would you do that when three awesome knives will do the trick every time! But before we talk about which knives you should own, we need to talk a little about how to choose your knives.
Choosing the Right Knives
Whether you’re slicing a roast or dicing a tomato, choosing the right knives is critical. But how do you know what you need? A good knife can make your cooking experience more fun and more efficient, which is essential if you’re planning to spend any time in the kitchen. So what makes a knife good? Primarily the measure of quality comes down to the blade.
Blades that are full tang are made of one full piece of metal and have the handle pieces closed on the sides. The alternative, half-tang, has a piece of metal that extends the full length of the knife, but only part of the width. So-called full-tang knives feel balanced and sturdy and seem to last longer than half-tang models. In addition, look for “forged” knives, which are made from a single piece of forged steel rather than being stamped or cut out of a large sheet of steel.
Find a knife that has a nice weight and is comfortable to hold. It needs to have a little heft to it in order to chop through firmer vegetables like carrots and butternut squash.
And remember, knives are geared to be used for specific tasks so be sure you know which type of knife you need for your recipe of choice. Read on and you’ll learn a little about the three essential knives everyone should own.
A chef’s or cook’s knife is your go-to for all things. The blade should be between six to ten inches long, making it perfect for chopping, dicing, and slicing. This knife is sure to be your go-to for the bulk of your culinary cut-ups with the exception of carving poultry and removing the skin of large vegetables. Choose blades made from one full piece of metal for a sturdier, more balanced feel. A good, high-quality chef’s knife will last forever.
Paring knives look like mini chef’s knives. Blades can be anywhere from two to four inches in length making them perfect for small, fine tasks like peeling garlic and onions, trimming veggies, and really anything that requires more attention to detail. Avoid using paring knives to cut very hard vegetables, such as carrots or celery root. Metal blades have a longer lifespan than ceramic knives and maybe sharpened as needed.
Serrated knives conjure up images of slicing bread but actually have a number of uses. The average blade length is 6 inches, making it useful for foods with waxier surfaces (think tomatoes, peppers, citrus, etc.). The jagged edge of the knife grips slippery exteriors and penetrates the surface, especially when used with a sawing rather than slicing motion. A good quality serrated knife should stay sharp for years, which is good because it’s difficult to sharpen once dull.
A Few Last Notes
- When you choose a knife, check the grip and balance before you buy to ensure that it fits comfortably in your hand.
- When it comes to construction, knives are forged or stamped. Forged are made from individual pieces of metal and forged to create heavy, durable blades. This is the most durable option. Stamped knives have been punched out of a sheet of steel and sharpened. Forged will always be stronger and more durable while stamped will be more economical.
- Common knife materials include stainless steel, ceramic, and high carbon stainless steel with the latter being the strongest.
- Knives work best when used on a wooden cutting board and washed and dried immediately after use.
- We highly recommend this set of Mercer knives. No, we aren’t famous enough to have sponsors so you know this is a genuine rec! Extremely solid knives for the price.
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