chef knife chopping red pepper

My 3 Essential Kitchen Knives

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If I could only have three knives in my kitchen, it would be these three:

Paring Knife

This used to be my go-to knife in the kitchen. I used it for peeling, chopping, slicing, and utility even when what I was working with was too big for this small knife. Nowadays, its primary functions in my kitchen are for peeling and utility. Any chopping and slicing it does is rare and with appropriately sized fruits and veggies.

This style of paring knife is my favorite. It fits nicely in my hand and is lightweight. It’s agile too which is great for detail work. I grab this knife when I need to slice small fruits like grapes or cherry tomatoes. Or for notching out an eye on a potato or a bruised section of fruit. It is also my peeling tool of choice when it comes to potatoes and apples.

I love to have a few of these paring knives on hand. And they conveniently come in a multi-pack! In addition to slicing food, they make a great multi-tool. Especially for opening food packaging. It’s satisfying to puncture a meat tray blister pack with this knife. (Gotta toss that contaminated knife in the wash right away though.) This knife is also great for opening blocks of cheese. It’s the perfect tool for slicing in between the plastic and cheese in that very tight packaging.

These are many of the reasons I love these paring knives. They are also great because they are easy to care for. They can be tossed in the dishwasher. And they’re inexpensive to stock up on or replace.

chef knife chopping red pepper
Photo by Sarah Chai / Pexels

Chef Knife

I was first introduced to the Chef knife (also known as the Chef’s knife or cook’s knife) when I received my first (and so far, only) knife block. And I simply knew it as the largest knife in my block.

It is now my go-to knife. I use it regularly for chopping fruits, slicing veggies, and peeling garlic. It is the first knife I reach for when I get my cutting board out.

I used to reach for my paring knife or a variety of chopping gadgets I used to have on hand. Now, my chef knife has replaced a number of those gadgets that take up space and cause clutter.

meat cleaver knife wooden board
Image by xb100 on Freepik

Japanese Cleaver Knife

Also referred to as a meat cleaver or butcher knife, my Japanese cleaver knife is the newest addition to my kitchen knives. This knife is great for chopping just about anything but where it really excels is in chopping meat. It makes quick work of roasts, chicken, pre-cooked sausage, and shrimp. It is great for chopping vegetables however the vegetables do slide up the side of the tall blade. This tends to slow me down. Maybe it’s my technique but the vegetable slices get in the way of each other, pile up, or fall off when I’m not expecting.

Overall, I really like the size and sharpness of the blade and the weight of the knife. It is easy to handle and makes quick work of whatever you’re working on. I used to buy more pre-cubed meats or use kitchen shears. This resulted in either higher prices for the pre-cut meat or blisters and hand cramps from the shears. I’m glad to feel more confident and have an easier time chopping and cubing meat myself with my Japanese cleaver knife.

Kitchen Knife Care

I would like to learn more about kitchen knife care. I never used to pay attention to sharpening my knives. More recently, I’ve begun to appreciate the concept that “a dull knife is a dangerous knife.” Also, remember that “a falling knife has no handle.” Thankfully, I have not had to experience either of these lessons for myself, but there have been a few close calls.

For now, my knife care routine is to hand wash my chef knife and Japanese cleaver knife. For the paring knife, I may hand wash or toss in the dishwasher. I like to use this scrubber on knife blades. Then, before putting the clean kitchen knives away, I use this small tool to sharpen my paring knife and chef knife. I run each blade through each side about 5-10 times. Currently, I do not have a sharpening routine for the Japanese cleaver knife.

I hope to learn more and share more about knife care soon.

In the meantime, be sure to add these kitchen knives to your toolbox. Follow our links above. And let me know what you think!

Featured Image Photo by Sarah Chai / Pexels

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