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Knives and Slicers

Updated on March 2, 2014

The Cutting Edge

There is nothing more important in the kitchen than having a good set of knives. Knives that are sharp so they won't slip and slice your finger instead of the food!

Besides having a good set of knives there are a number of slicers that are as important. One slicer that I can't do without is the mandoline. A good one shouldn't be too expensive and it should also be able grate, shred, slice, julienne, crinkle cut. Just one word of caution when using this utensil: use the guard! I ended up in emergency one New Year's day because I didn't and it almost took the top off my finger!

Any good kitchen should have a number of different knives. A good knife can be very expensive so if you are just starting out the knives you should have include a paring knife, serrated bread knife, a 6-inch chef's knife as well as a 10 or 12-inch slicing knife.

Adding to your collection over time is a good way to add good quality knives to your kitchen. Or you can always ask friends or family members to give them to your for gifts on special occasions such as a birthday or anniversary.

From peeling and paring to chopping and dicing, and even a julienne or two, no task is too small or too big for these fantastic kithen tools!

The Chef's Knife is a Perfect Addition to Any Kitchen

This chef's knife features an 8-inch blade made of high carbon, stainless steel and hand finished by Swiss craftsmen. A special tempering process was used to produce an sharp edge that can be resharpened over and over again.

How to Use a Chef's Knife Video

Top Tips for Kitchen Knives

It is important to remember to use a kitchen knife for its intended purpose. Since you probably paid good money for your knives, they should not be used as a screwdriver or to pry open a stuck drawer or stuck lid!

Using the wrong knife for a task can also be a safety hazard. If you use a knife to pry apart frozen hamburger patties, for instance, you run the risk of the knife slipping and cutting yourself. Also, this could result in the tip of the knife snapping off, something to be avoided.

How to Care for Your Knives:

It is a good rule of thumb to never put your knives in the dishwasher. For one thing the harsh chemicals in the dishwasher soap can destroy wooden handles. If the knife comes in contact with glasses or plates, the knife edge can be ruined or damaged.

It is a good idea to simply wash them with mild dishwasher soap and dry them with a towel. Allowing them to air dry is also not a good idea because moisture can dull the knife and again damage wooden handles.

When using the knives it is a good idea to use a cutting board. Wood is a good choice but not glass. A glass cutting board may dull the knife.

Knives will get dull after they have been used for a while so they will need to be sharpened from time to time. Make sure you use a professional to do this job. You don't want to damage the knife and a professional will make sure that you knives are well sharpened.

It is a good idea to use a wooden block to store your knives although you can also use a magnetic strip attached to the wall. Storing your knives in a kitchen drawer alongside other metal objects is not a good idea as this can damage or dull the knife edge.

It is important to use the right knife for the right job. Use a serrated bread knife for only slicing bread. A chef's knife is great for all sorts of kitchen tasks from slicing and dicing. A paring knife is important for peeling and trimming or cutting up small items. I just recently bought one and I can't believe I didn't get one sooner. This knife makes it so easy to peel oranges and other fruit!

When you take care of your knives, you will find that they last a long time and make cooking tasks easier and a lot more fun!

How to Select and Care for a Knife

How to Use a Knife

Before you start using a knife it is important to know how to hold it properly. You want to place your index finger and thumb behind the blade to provide the right amount of support. Your fingers should curl around the handle.

Now you are ready to start slicing. If you are slicing vegetables you want to bring the knife down onto the vegetables as you draw the blade backwards, towards yourself. Complete the slicing by dragging the point of the knife through the vegetable.

Some chef's will recommend adding pressure to the top of the blade with the palm of your other hand. This works best for mincing or dicing food such as onions.

What is a Mandoline?

No it isn't a musical instrument, in fact it is a wonder addition to any kitchen. Often called a vegetable slicer, a mandoline can make short work of slicing or dicing fruits and vegetables.

Each slice is precisely cut so it can make the presentation of your food more enjoyable but it also helps to cook them more evenly.

Mandolines can be made of plastic or metal. They are adjustable so you can get any thickness you want. They also have a number of attachments so you can make slices, crinkle cuts, waffle cuts and more.

There are a number of different brands of this type of slicer. The one I have in my kitchen is the Swissmar Borner (pictures to the right). It works great and makes slicing all sorts of fruits and vegetables so easy.

Number one lesson: use the guide. I've cut myself a couple of times because I thought I would be able to stop when the food got too small. Not a smart move on my part! I almost lost the top of my finger one time and ended up in emergency. It took months for the feeling to come back in the tip of my finger. So be warned.

Mandoline Slicer/Grater

Make your slicing easier with this mandoline. It not only slices food but it will also grate, shred, julienne and crinkle cut. Great for making salads and fries!

Here is what one happy customer had to say about this mandoline: "It has been used to slice tomatoes, onions, carrots, and LOTS of potatoes. The blade has held up nicely, and the attachments work very well. The unit sits very solid on my table top, and have had no worries about it tipping or moving around on me. It does have grooves to fit to a bowl as well."

How to use a Mandoline with Curtis Stone Video

Do You Have a Favorite Knife?

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