One of the most important aspects of becoming a good cook is learning how to use knives properly. Knife skills are essential for creating a wide variety of dishes as well as ensuring safety in the kitchen, but they do come with a bit of a learning curve. Whether you’re just starting out on your culinary journey or are a seasoned pro looking for a refresher, read on for some of our best tips on how to cultivate your knife skills and keep them sharp over time.
Choose the Right Knife
Kitchen knives come in several different shapes and sizes that are each designed to serve a particular purpose. Choosing the right knife will allow you to complete your desired task with ease and precision, resulting in clean, even cuts, and saving you time. The most versatile type of kitchen knife is the chef’s knife, which can be used to chop ingredients such as meats and vegetables with ease. For more intricate jobs such as peeling produce or boning fish, a paring knife will work best. Serrated knives are optimal for slicing bread.
Practice Your Technique
Even the best knife will only take you so far if you don’t know how to use it properly. Familiarize yourself with basic cutting techniques by reading about how they’re performed or watching videos of demonstrations on YouTube. One of the most fundamental techniques, called the “pinch grip” involves holding the blade between your thumb and index finger as you grasp the handle with your other fingers. Chop with a rocking motion by ensuring the tip of the knife stays in contact with the cutting board while using your wrist to move the rest of the blade up and down.
Take Care of Your Knives
Dull knives are not only difficult to use but can also be quite dangerous, as they’re more likely to slip and cause accidents and injuries. To keep your knives in top working order, regularly sharpen them using a honing rod or a whetstone and store them in a knife block or on a magnetic strip. Never cut anything without using a cutting board on a stable, non-slip surface.