Kitchen Knives – An Overview
When working in a kitchen, many different types of knives are used for different tasks. The metal that a knife is made of is important, since the metal must be able to take and hold a very fine edge.
1. Carbon Steel – this is the traditional favorite because it can be sharpened to an extremely sharp edge. Its disadvantages are that it corrodes and discolors easily, especially when used with acidic foods and onions. It even discolors some foods (such as hard-cooked eggs) and can leave a metallic taste.
2. Stainless Steel – This type of steel will not rust or corrode, but it is much harder to sharpen.
3. High-Carbon Stainless Steel – This alloy combines the best aspects of carbon steel and stainless steel. It takes and edge almost as well as carbon steel, and it wont rust, corrode or discolor. Knives made of this material are relatively expensive.
ANATOMY OF A KNIFE
The tang is the portion of the metal blade that is inside the handle. The best-quality, most durable knives have a full tang, meaning that the tang runs the full length of the handle through to the end of the knife.
TYPES OF KNIVES
1. French or Chef’s Knife – most common knife used in the kitchen; used for chopping, slicing, dicing and so on. Blade length of 10 inches is most popular for general work. Larger knives are heavy for cutting and chopping.
2. Utility or Salad Knife – Narrow pointed knife 6-8 inches long. Used mostly for pantry work, cutting and preparing lettuce, fruits and so on.
3. Paring Knife – Small pointed blade about 2-4 inches long. Used for paring and trimming vegetables and fruits.
4. Boning Knife – Thin, pointed blade about 6 inches long. Used for boning raw meats and poultry.
5. Slicer – Long, slender flexible blade up to 14 inches long. Used for carving and slicing cooked meats.
6. Serrated Slicer – Slicer with serrated edge. Used for cutting breads, cakes and similar items.
7. Butcher Knife – Heavy, broad, slightly curved blade. Used for cutting, sectioning, and trimming raw meats in a the butcher chop.
8. Scimitar or Steak Knife – Curved pointed blade. Used for accurate cutting of steaks.
9. Cleaver – Very heavy, broad blade. Used for cutting through bones when butchering meats and chicken.
10. Oyster Knife – Short, rigid, blunt knife with a dull edge. Used for opening oysters.
11. Clam Knife – Short, rigid, knife with a slight edge. Used for opening clams.
12. Vegetable Peeler – Short tool with slotted, swiveling blade. Used for peeling vegetables and fruits.