Kitchen Knives Review

The Knives that Every Home Cook Should Have

A lot of the low carb recipes require some chopping, mincing, dicing and slicing.  A good quality knife will cut the desired size and thickness with little effort.

This article will provide a basic review of kitchen knives that are commonly used in restaurants and home kitchens.

Knife set mounted on magnetic Strip
Knife set mounted on a magnetic strip

There are a lot different types of kitchen knives on the market. The major difference of course is  price and any well constructed knife can cut through tough, fibrous fruits and vegetables with ease. This article will highlight the different types of kitchen knives on the market and what features and benefits to look for when purchasing a knife.

Lacerated hand

Don’t Buy Any Old Knife!

A knife is nothing to mess with! Sure you’ll save some money but you’ll pay in other ways.  A 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? .

All you need is one quality knife and not a set of knives.  So go ahead and spend the money and don’t compromise price for quality.

What Kind of  Knife Should I Buy?

Small Paring knife
Small Paring knife

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.

When purchasing a good quality knife, there are three things to consider price, materials, and construction

The price of the knife depends on the material it’s made from and how it was made. When making a purchasing decision there are three types of material to consider:

              • carbon steel
              • Stamped Steel
              • stainless steel.

High carbon stainless steel is the most expensive knife on the market and preferred by professional chefs.  The heavy-duty bolster makes the knife durable for intense cutting jobs in professional kitchens.

The carbon and high carbon steeled forged 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 balanced needed  to cut through fibrous vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, celery, and broccoli. Because of the extra care in making the knife it is the most expensive on the market.

Parts of Carbon Steel knife
Parts of Carbon steel knife

The metal stamped 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 it can cut most fibrous fruits and vegetables. The knife should suit most budget conscious home cooks for years to come depending on use.

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 the knife.

plastic non-riveted handle
Chef’s knives non-riveted handles

Stamped steel knives are not as well made and will fall apart after a short amount of time. Make sure you test the knife out before you buy, 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. 

Chef’s knife with Riveted Handle

The Different Types of Kitchen Knives on the Market 

Stainless Steel Carbon Steel High Carbon Stainless Steel
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to Sharpen
  • Doesn’t stain or rust
  • Durable
  • Preferred by professional chefs
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Holds an edge and will last longer than stainless steel
  • Durable construct
  • Will hold an edge
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Has more carbon which will prevent from rusting and discoloring.
Cons Doesn’t hold an edge very well like the other metals Can rust and become discolored with moderate use.
  • Can be expensive
  • Between $50 – $200 dollars

Which Knife Should I Pick?

Japanese Santoku Knife
Japanese Santoku Knife: Note the dimples in the bottom half of the blade which prevents the blade from binding while cutting through dense vegetables.

If you want to go with a full knife set and show off to your foodie friends your culinary prowess then go ahead and purchase a full-set and proudly display the set in your kitchen. Most home cooks will never take advantage of a full set but if budget and space is not a problem then go ahead and purchase the full set. As your cooking skills grow you different knife options may come in handy.

Knife set mounted on magnetic Strip
Knife set mounted on a magnetic strip
Kitchen Knife Care
A knife Steel

In addition to buying a good quality knife is to get a steel which looks like a giant cylindrical nail file. Now a lot people confuse the steel with a knife sharpener.

While you are slicing or dicing the micro-edge of your knife will develop little bends and dull the blade. By steeling the knife you are realigning the edge of the blade which will give the knife more cutting power.  The knife will be perceived to be sharpened but the steel does not sharpen the blade. It 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.

The way to steel the knife is to 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 as this technique will further misalign the edge of the knife.

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.

Cutting board made out compressed wood chips
A particle cutting board with rubber stoppers

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 a hard wood particle board that has rubber stoppers on the bottom to prevent from 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 on line 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.

Bottom Line:  You don’t need a whole knife set to prepare basic recipes at home. There are plenty of quality knives on the market that are buget friendly. I recommend a knife with a riveted handle.

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