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

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.  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 the quality of knife.

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.

There are three things to consider price, materials, and construction

The most common types of knives are:

              • 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 of the knife.

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

Stamped steel knives are not as well made as the carbon steel knives.  The handle may come off after a short amount of time.

 

 

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. 

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
  • It has more carbon which will prevent rusting and discoloring.
Cons Doesn’t hold an edge very well like the other metals It 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 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.

A knife being sharpened
Professional knife sharpening service
Kitchen Knife Care
A knife Steel

In addition to buying a good quality, the knife is to get knife steel. It looks like a giant cylindrical nail file. A lot of people confuse the steel with a knife sharpener. A steel is not a knife sharpener

Let me say this one more time. A steel is not a knife sharpener.

While you are slicing or dicing the micro-edges 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 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.

Bottom Line:  You don’t need a whole knife set to prepare basic recipes at home. There are plenty of quality knives that are budget-friendly.

I recommend a knife with a riveted handle.

Be sure to leave some comments regarding knives and cutting tips.

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