Kitchen utensils of all kinds abound. Just look in any kitchen store or in the aisles of kitchenware at other retail stores and youll see an amazing array of items used for cooking. Some kitchen utensils are used only for one very specific task, so may not be used often. However, there are other utensils that are more versatile, and needed and used daily.
Knives Are The Workhorse of The Kitchen
If you do much cooking at all, youll use not one, but several kinds of knives. Each of these kitchen utensils has a specific function, like chopping, slicing, or filleting food.
However, all knives have pretty much the same parts.
The Major Player The Blade
The blade is pretty self-explanatory, being the metal part of the knife used for cutting, from the handle to the tip. Its the most important part of the knife, and the quality of the blade determines how well the knife cuts. Good quality blades make it much easy to do food preparation for cooking.
A Better Bolster
The bolster is the small part between the blade and the handle, connecting the two together. Obviously, it needs to hold the blade securely to the handle so the blade doesnt fall off while youre using it.
Its also worth noting, however, that there is an advantage to having a bolster that is not the full width of the end of the blade. That might seem sturdier, but it gets in the way of sharpening the blade. A bolster that doesnt reach clear to the edge of the blade is preferable for that reason.
The Whole Tang
The tang is an extension of the blade. It runs through the middle of the handle and not only provides a way to attach the handle, but it helps give the knife a good balance. It also strengthens the knife and makes it more durable.
The tang is of varying lengths, and sometimes only runs partway into the handle. The higher quality knives have a tang that runs the full length of the handle, making it strong and well-balanced.
Getting A Handle
You need a way to safely hold a knife, and thats the handle. The handle wraps around the tang and holds it secure. A handle can be made of many different materials, including wood, metal, or various types of plastic.
Not only should the handle should be sturdy, but it should also be easy to hold. Youre going to be using a knife a lot, and it should fit your hand well.
Types of Kitchen Knives
Checking the different parts of the knife for quality gives you an idea what to look for when buying a good knife. However, when it comes to buying a knife, theres a tremendous variation of types. Some of these include:
* Boning Knife
* Butter Knife
* Cheese Knife
* Chefs Knife
* Deli Knife
* Filet Knife
* Frozen Food Knife
* Mincing Knife
* Paring Knife
* Sandwich Knife
* Serrated Knife
* Slicing-Carving Knife
There are also specialty knives for chestnuts, clams, grapefruits, deveining, lettuce and oysters, plus specialty knives for different types of cuisines such as Japanese and Asian.
Fortunately you dont need to buy every kind of knife out there.
The Bare Essentials of Knives For The Kitchen
While every knife has a use, most people dont need so many of the more specialized knives. There are a few types, however, that should be found in every kitchen. These are the more versatile knives that can do a number of different types of food preparation.
The Paring Knife
If you dont have any other knife, you need a paring knife. Its a small knife with a straight, sharp blade. Paring knives run from about three to five inches long with a thin blade that tapers to a point at the tip.
This little knife is easy to handle and use. As indicated by the name, its main function if for paring foods. Its also good for cutting up small items, coring apples and such, and mincing garlic and other foods. Every kitchen should have at least one good paring knife.
The Chefs Knife
The Chefs or Cooks knife is another versatile knife. It comes in several different lengths, running from about 6 inches to 12 inches long. The smaller sized chef knives are called mini chefs knives. These are the best chef knives for people with smaller hands. The larger chef knives are handier for people with bigger hands that allow the bigger chef knives to balance better in their hands.
The chef knife picks up where the paring knife leaves off, and can cut bigger vegetables, fruits and meats. Its great for chopping, dicing, mincing or slicing foods. The bigger size makes it better suited for the heavy duty work, and making thicker slices than a paring knife.
A Serrated Knife
Instead of a straight edge like the paring and chef knives have, the serrated knife has notches in the blade. It can be anywhere from 5 to 10 inches long. It is best used for foods that are hard on the outside, while being soft on the inside. A perfect example is a loaf of homemade bread. The serrated blade is also good for slicing tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
Dont Forget A Cleaver
You could make do with a paring knife, chefs knife and serrated knife, but theres one other blade that is highly useful in the kitchen. This knife had a very wide blade which is usually about 6 inches in length.
A cleaver is good for pounding and crushing foods, although it can also be used to chop and shred foods like the other knives. Additionally, this is a good knife for cutting through hard materials like bones in chickens.
Not only can a cleaver pulverize meat, but the flat of the blade can be used to crush garlic and other herbs. It takes up a lot of space in a kitchen drawer, but most cleavers come with a hole near the end of the blade so it can be hung up somewhere out of the way.
Choose Good Quality Knives For The Kitchen
Whatever knives you chose, get the best quality you can. A kitchen knife gets used a lot, so make you food preparation easier by buying good ones.
The more you cook, the more you will appreciate using good quality knives, and may wish to expand your selection to include more types. For a starter kitchen, however, the paring knife, chefs knife, serrated knife and cleaver are good basic equipment.
Every kitchen can use a few good knives.