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Explore the Different Kinds of Kitchen Knives

Feb 26, 2008
Everyone's kitchen should have a good set of kitchen knives. But there are so many different kinds of kitchen knives out there, how do you choose the ones that you need?

There are carving, pastry, cheese and steak knives to name a few. We should start with steak knives because everyone should have a good set of steak knives, whether you eat steak or not. It's a good idea to have these kinds of knives because they can cut lots of food besides meats. They can cut breads without smashing it down because these knives are serrated like a saw; apples and other hard covered fruits like pineapples and melons. Vegetables are another good food a steak knife can cut through that a butter knife cannot.

General Kitchen Knives

In the general knife category we have a chef's knife, bread knife, paring and utility knives. The chef's knife is usually large and can chop just about anything from onions to tomatoes with easy. A bread knife is like a saw, serrated so as not to smash the bread down. A paring knife is a small knife used for pealing things or intricate, delicate work such as de-veining shrimp. And a utility knife is a medium sized knife meant for all types of cutting jobs, however, it's too small to handle large cutting jobs, so it's best for general purpose usage, some compare it to a butter knife, only sharper.

Carving and Boning Knives

A carving knife, also known as a V-shaped knife is used most often when carving a turkey or ham or some type of meat. They are very sharp knives and the only sharpening needed is back and forth against a metal rod every now and again. Among the meat knives is a boning knife, which as the name suggests, helps when boning a fish and a fillet knife which can also be used with fish, although it can also be used with other meats.

Small Kitchen Knives

Small knives come in handy for, well, small jobs, such as peeling, decorating and trimming. The peeling knife, also known as a bird's beak knife because of its tip on the end that points down, are often used the same as paring knives so there is usually no need to have both.

Good Knives for Cooks

Then there are the miscellaneous knives that someone who cooks a lot can use. However, someone who barely knows where their kitchen is can probably live with out these types of knives. They are the cheese knives, one for each, soft and hard cheeses; the Asian knives, Santuko, the Sashimi, Usuba and Deba Hocho knives and finally the specialty knives which would be your tomato, oyster, de-veining, grapefruit, chestnut, mincing and tourner knives.

How a Kitchen Knife is Made

The construction process of the knives is important to know, and just as vital as owning them, and knowing which knives you own. There are at least seven different types of materials knives can be made of; you have the knives made of carbon steel which is carbon and iron. These are very inexpensive and very sharp. Next, you will find the knives that are made out of plain stainless steel. These are the low end stainless steel and are used mostly in flatware such as knives, forks and spoons.

Then you get into the higher end alloys for your better made knives. One good example is the high carbon stainless steel which refers to a higher-grade of stainless steel. Then there are the laminated blades. These use the greatest various materials and sandwich them one on top of the other with the harder surface in the center and the softer ones on the outer.

Some knives are made of titanium, a much lighter weight, further resistant to wear and more bendable than steel. However, it's not as firm and won't hold a sharp edge as long. Ceramic blades are very hard and durable and hold a good, razor-sharp edge for many months and maybe even a year with absolutely no upkeep at all. And finally, plastic knives are not very sharp at all; they are used mainly for cutting vegetables and soft things.

There are several different styles of handles as well, such as wood, which is not as easy to care for as the plastic but are more attractive. The plastic handles don't absorb microorganisms as much as the wood or composite handles, which are made of two or more types of wood.

Whatever knife set you are choosing, always choose one that has the tang the width of the knife. The tang is the blade going all the way through the handle; this gives the blade balance and will not cause it to crack off if you do some heavy cutting.

Know your kitchen knives and get the best set for you.
About the Author
William "Cole" Doggett is a knife expert and owns an Internet knife shop, Knife & Supply Company, LLC at Pocket Knife | Hunting Knife | SOG Knife. His website is devoted to all things pocket knives, Kitchen Knives, swords, kitchen cutlery, sharpeners, machetes and a wealth of information. Stop by!
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