The Knives that Every Home Cook Should Have
A lot of the low carb recipes require some chopping, mincing, dicing, and slicing. One good knife is all that you need to prepare food.
If you are in the market for a good quality knife this article will provide a basic review of kitchen knives that are commonly used in restaurants and home kitchens. The blade of a knife can be made from high carbon steel, stainless steel, high carbon stainless steel, titanium, ceramic and plastic. The REAL difference is COST. Ceramic is sharp and durable but over time it may chip or break. Plastic doesn’t retain an edge and can break under stress. Plus, a considerable amount of force is needed to cut through materials.
Let’s begin with features and benefits to look for when purchasing a knife.
Don’t Buy Any Old Knife!
A knife is nothing to mess with! A low-quality knife will save you some money but you’ll pay in other ways. Cheaper knives may slip or break while cutting and you may end up in the emergency room getting multiple stitches. Not a fun way to spend your day… agreed?
What Kind of Knife Should I Buy?
The only knife you need is a basic Chef’s knife. The blade is about 8 – 10 inches long and can be used to cut most items. You could also purchase a small paring knife for smaller fruits and vegetables.
There are three things to consider when purchasing a knife: price, materials, and construction
The three most common types of knives are:
- Carbon steel
- Stamped Steel
- Stainless steel.
- High carbon stainless steel knife is the most expensive knife on the market and preferred by professional chefs. The heavy-duty bolster and carbon steel makes the knife durable for intense cutting jobs. The knives are made from one single piece of steel with the blade extending all the way down to the handle called the tang. The bolster gives the knife the durability and balance needed to cut through fibrous vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, celery, and broccoli.
2. The stamped steel knives, as the name implies, are made by stamping the metal in a cookie-cutter fashion in the shape of a blade. The steel is thinner, flexible and the least expensive. The knife is not as durable as the carbon steel knives but for the price, the knife should suit most budget-conscious home cooks.
The difference between the stamped steel blade and the carbon steel blade is the tang. There is no riveted handle on the stamped steel blade and usually, the handle is made out of plastic attached to the bottom of the knife.
Stamped steel knives do not come with a riveted handle and it may come off after a short amount of time.
3. Stainless Steel is made of an alloy of chromium, nickel, and carbon. The chromium provides rust resistance and the nickel makes the blade durable.
Make sure you test the knife out before you buy it because a poorly constructed handle will fall out during use and can cause a major cut. I’ve had this happen to me when I was chopping an onion.
The Different Types of Kitchen Knives on the Market
|Stainless Steel||Carbon Steel||High Carbon Stainless Steel|
|Cons||Doesn’t hold an edge very well and hard to maintain in the home kitchen||It can rust and become discolored with moderate use.||
Which Knife Should I Pick?
If you want to go with a full knife set and show off your culinary prowess then go ahead and purchase a full set. Most home cooks will never take advantage of a full set but if budget and space are not a problem then purchase the full set. As your cooking skills grow the different knife options may come in handy.
Kitchen Knife Care
It’s always a good idea to purchase a “steel”. It looks like a giant cylindrical nail file and it can get confused with a knife sharpener.
While you are slicing or dicing the micro-edges of your knife will develop little bends and dull the blade.
Steeling the knife realigns the microfibers on the edge of the blade so that the blade makes full contact with the surface while cutting. The knife should be “steeled” before each cutting job for maximum cutting efficiency.
How To “Steel” a knife
Hold the blade against the steel at a 20-degree angle and draw the blade down towards the end of the steel. Alternate both sides of the knife for a total of 6 or 7 passes. Try not to use too wide of an angle on the blade or the edges will not align properly on the blade.
Sharpening a knife, on the other hand, should be done once a month by a professional depending on use.
Also, get yourself a good cutting board like the one depicted down below. This corkboard is inexpensive, easy to clean and stores conveniently upright in most home kitchen cabinets.
I recommend a cutting board that has a hard surface such as acrylic or hard plastic. A hard cut-resistant surface will not form deep grooves in the board where bacteria can grow and cause food contamination. I use hardwood particleboard that has rubber stoppers on the bottom to prevent slipping while cutting.
Picking a knife should not be a big deal and most locals stores will carry great high-quality knives that we’ve discussed and you can also find some great deals online if you prefer.
Be sure to shop around and do some research, there are some good high-quality knives on the market that are easy on the wallet and will suit home kitchen use.
Bottom Line: You don’t need a knife set to prepare basic recipes at home. There are plenty of quality chef knives that are budget-friendly and will do the job.
I recommend a knife with a riveted handle
Be sure to leave some comments regarding knives and cutting tips.