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Knowing the correct kitchen knives to have at your disposal makes a lot of sense. This is because it then decides what you can cook. However, there’s a problem.
The problem is that you will have to walk into a store that sells knives and other kitchen items to see how many different options there are before you. It seems as if there’s a knife for every eventuality, and that’s because that is pretty much the case.
But while getting to grips with knives isn’t easy, there are a few options that you should seriously consider adding to your collection. It’s fair to say that without these knives, life will become that bit harder.
Why You Need Different Types of Knives
There are many situations where you need the correct knife to peel, cut, chop, carve, or anything else. While you may have the occasional knife that will be capable of doing more than one job, that’s not always the case.
Now, we aren’t saying you need a full set like you are a chef. However, having a handful of different knives, such as a bread knife or a serrated knife, is certainly going to make your life a whole lot easier.
So, which ones should you own?
First, we need to address the materials that your knives should be made from. There’s no doubt that stainless steel knives are the way to go. They are also the cheapest option out there. But be warned that kitchen knives made of stainless steel will often need to be sharpened.
Keep in mind, though, that it is not the only option you have.
You can also buy something known as Damascus steel knives, but they are certainly on the rarer side. This type of steel has a carbon core, and the knife appears to be somewhat mottled on the outside. However, the carbon core is covered by many thin layers of steel. It’s those thin layers that will eventually give these kitchen knives their razor-sharp edge.
Another option is the straightforward carbon steel knife. These knives are solid and remain sharp for a longer period. However, they are often more expensive than other options, so do consider this factor.
The final option is ceramic knives. If you have never thought about them, then it may be time to change your choices. Ceramic blades are ten times stronger than carbon steel blades, which is quite surprising for many people. Not only that, but they can also remain nice and sharp for longer than other blades, and that does mean you don’t have to worry about them needing to be sharpened.
The only problem with a ceramic blade knife is that it can chip if you are not careful handling it. That will damage the sharp point and the knife’s cutting edge, so do handle it with care.
Buying Quality Knives
Before you think about the basic knife set, you should be focused on what you should have in your kitchen. Let’s take a quick look at whether you should be going for specialist knives or something a bit more basic.
You should try to buy the best quality knives you can. This is especially true with utility knives, where they will be used for a variety of purposes. Using the same knife over and over again does mean it will become blunt quite quickly. You’d want to buy quality to get a sharper edge that will last longer.
However, do be warned about one thing. An item such as a small paring knife has a habit of being lost or landing in the bin. Some people prefer to buy a less expensive paring knife and then going for a more expensive chef knife.
Tied in with the quality has to be the idea of maintaining your knives. All the knives you buy will probably end up needing to be sharpened at some point. The only way you will continue producing that fine slicing motion is to have a knife with a sharp blade.
You can easily buy a sharpener for your knife collection, and they are easy to use. Also, its essential knives are washed and dried as soon as they are used. Could you not wash them and leave them alone? That water resting on them will affect them over time, and next thing you know, it just seems all that harder slicing tomatoes, and you don’t know why.
However, the time will come that no matter how often you sharpen your knives, they will remain dull. When this happens, you have to think about how to dispose of them properly.
But let’s move onto the knives, and we have four essential knives that can be used for various kitchen tasks.
Types of Knives
You may already know it, but there are different types of knives. They are designed for different functions. However, several of them can be used in different ways.
One of the absolute staples for you to have is a paring knife. A paring knife is small in size, but don’t think that its size renders it useless. That’s not the case.
Instead, this small knife can be used for a variety of purposes, as it can be used to chop or slice fruit and vegetables. However, it doesn’t end there.
A paring knife can also be used in many other ways in and around the kitchen. Peeling, cutting out bad bits from food, and removing seeds will also fall into the domain of the paring knife.
You can’t expect your kitchen to be able to function unless you have a paring knife. They are one of the best knives to have around, and people tend to see this as perhaps the most important knife in their collection.
In fact, some people often refer to this as a real utility knife, thanks to the various ways it can be used. If you don’t have a paring knife in your knife block, you should change that and add one straight away.
Serrated Bread Knife
A serrated bread knife should be another type of knife that no kitchen should be without. Of course, this knife will be self-explanatory, with its sharp blade being able to make quick work of bread. Its serrated blade cuts through bread, cakes, and other softer items with ease, giving you a clean cut that is easier to handle.
This is the best knife when it comes to trying to slice bread. No other knife will come close to giving you the same end result when slicing bread like this one. However, as was mentioned earlier, it’s also going to work well with pastry, rolls, and other cakes.
Flexible Serrated Knife
This type of knife can also be called a tomato knife, and its aim is to be used to thinly slice a tomato or even to peel fruit, including oranges and other citrus fruits.
This knife is small, and it has those serrations to allow it to effectively saw through things such as tomatoes without it ripping at the flesh and making a mess. You can also use it to cut up other fruit and vegetables so that it can be pretty versatile for the jobs it can be used for.
Chef’s knives can also be referred to as cook’s knives, but it does mean the exact same thing. What you have here is a larger knife that can be used for so much of the prep work that’s carried out before you go ahead and start cooking.
These knives can be used to chop up nuts, seeds, herbs, prepare meat, cut up hard vegetables, and even make very precise cuts on other items.
When looking at chef’s knives, you should also be aware that they do come in a variety of sizes. They will generally range from being about 15cm in length to over 30cm in length, and it’s all about you finding something that is going to be comfortable for you to use without being too difficult.
The key here is to make sure that the handle feels good in your hand. That is why you can read reviews and see what other people have to say about this before you go ahead and buy one. Also, these knives should be able to last you a considerable length of time before they need to be replaced, so be prepared to invest a bit more money into buying one as it’s going to end up being worth it in the end.
Knives Designed for Specific Tasks
The knives mentioned above are staples, but there are various other ones out there for more specific tasks. It’s useful to know which ones exist to help you pick and choose the ones to buy depending on the tasks you know you perform regularly.
A boning knife has a very specific role to play. You can easily identify a boning knife, as it tends to be slender and more like a dagger in shape. People will use a boning knife when they know they do some butchery at home, so if you are cutting out bones from joints, then a boning knife is something you will need.
Some boning knives may have more of a curved blade to them. Also, please pay attention to the size as they can also vary somewhat, and you need to feel confident in using this knife to get the most out of it.
This is another pretty obvious knife that you should add to your list, as a carving knife does make it easier for you to go ahead and carve from a lovely roast. A carving knife is something of elegance. The blade tends to be long and slender, but it then delivers a fine and smooth cut to the roast rather than ripping into it and shredding the meat.
You may find that you get a carving knife in a set with the fork. This is kind of essential since it holds the roast in place while the knife gets to work.
The thing to remember about a filleting knife is that it does have a different knife blade to other options. Instead of having a straightforward serrated edge, this knife has a flexible blade. This flexible blade makes it easy to fillet fish, which is the reason for its name, while it can also be used to remove the skin from chicken in an instant.
The key here is that it is often used on its side and while it’s not one of the real essential knives that everyone needs, if you do have fish regularly, then this is something you should be looking at owning.
You can get filleting knives of various sizes. However, a small chef’s knife can also be used in this way, but only if you are skilled enough as this is a difficult thing to do.
A santoku knife is Japanese in origin, but don’t think that it only works with Japanese cuisine. With this knife, what you get is something that has a blunted end rather than a point and dimples on the side of the blade. It’s those dimples that tend to make this knife stand out from the crowd.
With this knife, the dimples are designed to help thin slices to just peel off the knife rather than sticking there, leading to smoother cuts. This knife can be used for chopping, slicing, or dicing, and you can produce some very fine end results if you know how to handle the knife correctly.
Santoku knives can be expensive to purchase, but they can be worth it. These forged knives are made from honing steel in a unique way. By honing steel in a tried and tested method, it produces an ultra-sharp long blade. However, it also has a straight blade, but this makes it all the better for chopping and slicing where you want a lot of control.
Which Knives Will You Buy?
So those are the sorts of kitchen knives you should look at including in any setting. As you can see, there are not that many to choose from. When you find yourself asking, “Which kitchen knives do I need?”, do look at pushing to buy something that is of the best quality you can afford.
However, there’s no need to go out and buy Japanese knives, even though they are often viewed as being some of the best knives on the market. They are more aimed at a chef or people that feel strongly about cooking and preparing food.
Instead, focus on making sure you have certain knives, including paring knives, a bread knife, a chef’s knife, and make sure you have something else that is some form of a serrated knife.
As long as you have those basic items, then the average cook at home is going to have enough knives to deal with almost every eventuality. After that, you can then think about getting some of those specialist knives that we also mentioned. Once again, we only discussed several options, so shop around and see how they fit in with the way you operate in the kitchen.