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Types of Knives and their Uses When you think of a knife, what do you imagine: a butter knife, steak knife, or a bread knife? You may be surprised to know that there are over 20 kinds of knives used in culinary arts today; many of which have very specialized functions. In this article, we’ll cover the major styles of knives and discuss how they’re used. Kitchen Knives •

Serrated Knives – These are used for objects with crusts or skin. Think sausages, bread, or bananas. The wavy blades allow greater pressure to be applied to the object being cut. They’re thin blades and easy to use without much effort.

Kullenschiff Knives – These German knives have hollowed out spaces on the sides of the blade. The grooves allow fat and juices to be wicked away from the flesh, which means that you’ll get thin and even cuts without damaging the meat. You won’t have as much mess to clean up, either – the grooves easily shed the product so that you won’t have to scrub at the blade to clean it.

Straight-Bladed Knives – If you’re doing simple cutting like slicing meat or chopping vegetables, you’ll want a straight-blade knife. You won’t find grooves or any serrated edges on this blade. Instead, you’ll notice that it makes precise and clean cuts on vegetables and raw meat.

Boning Knives Boning knives come in different widths that are used for different types of meat. The thinner the blade, the stronger the cut you can make – using a narrow boning knife on ribs can easy cut through the bone, whereas a wide boning knife is generally used to remove flesh from chicken and pork bones. A curved boning knife will offer more flexibility in angles when cutting around smaller bones. Paring Knives If you want to have a knife that offers a greater utility, choose a paring knife. There are a number of styles to choose from, and each has a particular function. •

Clip Point – This blade is used to remove eyes from potatoes, pits from fruits, or it can peel fruits and vegetables.

Bird’s Beak – This knife, like the clip point, is also used to peel any kind of round fruit or vegetable. It offers increased range of motion and the curved blade is well suited for fluting or otherwise precise cutting and carving.

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Sheep’s Foot – This unique blade offers peeling and paring functions. The blade is straight, which allows its user to work with precision.

Chef’s Knife This versatile knife can be used for almost anything – and they come in a wide range of sizes. Usually you can choose from 6”, 8”, 10”, and 12” blade lengths. The shape of the blade generally curves upward, allowing the knife to rock back and forth for fine mincing and dicing. Whether you are chopping or slicing fruits and vegetables, a chef’s knife can do the job quickly and easily. Santoku Knife This unique blade is the Japanese equivalent of a chef’s knife. It also works well for chopping fruits and vegetables. The curvature of the blade is slightly different than a Western chef’s knife in that it is wider at the end. This allows you to scoop sliced food off the cutting board with ease. This versatile knife can also be used to chop meat, particularly if it has the grooved edges featured on a Kullenschiff knife. Cleavers A cleaver is one of the most recognizable knives on the market – it has a thick handle to support the massive, wide blade, and it can be used to cut through almost anything: bone, muscle, meat, or seeds. You can also use it to crush garlic or completely pulverize meat. It is heavy and effective at its heavy-duty work. Chinese Cleavers A Chinese cleaver is a similar blade to its Western cousin; however, it has a thinner blade and a thicker tip. It can be used to chop through meat and vegetables with ease, or you can use it to remove meat from bones. Like the Santoku knife, its width makes it superior for scooping ingredients into bowls and pans. You should note that it cannot split bones like a standard cleaver, as its blade tends to be thinner and doesn’t yield the proper support for such force. Utility Knives Utility knives have neither large nor small blades. They are mid-sized knives with blades between 4 and 7 inches that are used for a wide range of cuts. Use them to cut large vegetables or sandwich meats that can’t be cut with a chef’s knife. They come with either plan or serrated edges, making them perfect for sandwich making. Perhaps this is why they’re sometimes referred to as sandwich knives!

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Tomato Knives The tomato knife is an immediately recognizable kitchen utensil that features a forked blade. The forked tip is perfect for picking up slices of food, such as the fleshy interior of a tomato. Tomato knives usually have serrated edges, which allow the user to make easy cuts through tough skin. Bread Knives Bread knives have thick blades and are always serrated. They are perfect for cutting through a thick, hard crust. Generally, the blade is around 8� or 9�, which makes it ideal to cut through a thick loaf of bread. They are not ideal for fruits and vegetables due to the depth of the serrations. Tomato knives make a much better choice for cutting these items. Steak Knives Just as the name implies, a steak knife is used to cut through thick slabs of meat. It is ideally sized to be held comfortably in the hand while cutting; generally speaking, it is used when dining and not in the preparation of meat. The edges are both serrated and straight, allowing it to cut through meat prepared in any way, from rare to well done. As you can see, there are a wide variety of knives that can be added to a wellstocked kitchen. The savvy chef will have many knives on hand, but the average person will only need a few key blades. With these tips, you now know which blades are best for your needs. Happy cutting!

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Kinds of knives and their typical uses