When it comes to stocking a kitchen, knives and cutting boards are essential tools. But how do you pick the right ones? Read on for a comprehensive guide to choosing and using the right knives and cutting boards for your needs.
How to Select a Knife
Choosing the right knife can be a daunting task. To get started, consider the following:
- Purpose: What type of cutting will the knife primarily be used for? Are you primarily slicing and dicing smaller vegetables, or will you be hacking away at roots and larger produce? Is it for slicing bread or carving a roast? Each task requires a different blade.
- Size: Consider finding a knife with a blade length that fits your hand comfortably and can easily be maneuvered. Too large of a knife can be wasteful and difficult to wield in tight spaces.
- Maintenance: Certain knives require more maintenance than others. Look for knives with rust-proof blades and smooth handles that dont trap bits of food and dirt.
- Material: The type of metal used for the blade will determine the type and quality of knife. Low-quality knives are made with softer metals, whereas high quality knives are made with harder metals. Harder metals are also easier to sharpen and keep sharp for longer.
- Feels: Most importantly, the handle should be comfortable to hold and the blade should not wobble when lightly shaken.
How to Select a Cutting Board
When selecting a cutting board, there are a few considerations to make. Here are some tips on how to pick the perfect cutting board for your needs:
- Material: The type of material can affect the performance and longevity of the board. Cutting boards can be made from wood, plastic, or even metal. Wood boards are naturally nonstick and ideal for cutting fruits and vegetables. Plastic boards are lightweight and dishwasher safe. Metal boards are ideal for tougher tasks such as slicing through thicker items like chicken, steak, and pork.
- Size: Make sure the board is the right size for your countertop and the tasks you plan to do. You dont want a board that takes up too much space and gets in the way.
- Maintenance: Look for cutting boards that can be easily cleaned and maintained. Some boards may need to be oiled regularly or treated with a special solution to prevent them from becoming stained, warped, or cracked.
- Humidity: High humidity can cause wooden boards to warp. Be sure to store your wooden boards in a cool, dry place to prevent it from warping.
- Grains: Look for boards with a tight, close grain, as these are less likely to splinter and are easier to clean.
How to Use Knives and Cutting Boards Safely and Properly
When using knives and cutting boards, its important to take steps to ensure safety and proper usage. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Sharpening: Keep knives sharpened to avoid tearing or bruising food. Dull knives require more force, and can be more dangerous.
- Grips: Hold the knife correctly. For most tasks, the claw grip technique is recommended. Hold the handle with your palm and index finger around the bolster, with your other fingers wrapped gently around the handle. Place your thumb on top of the knife.
- Angles: When cutting, use a back and forth up and down motion, rather than a rocking motion that might slip and cause injury.
- Tight Areas: Use a smaller knife when cutting in tight spaces. This will lessen the chance of injury.
- Cleaning: Clean the knife and board after each use. Bacteria can be transferred from one food type to another if the same knife and board are used without cleaning.
Common Questions About Knives and Cutting Boards
- How do you get scratches out of knives? To remove scratches, use a light abrasive like steel wool. With a little bit of elbow grease and a polishing product like a stainless steel cleaner or baby oil, you will have your knife looking good as new in no time.
- How do you clean and sanitize a cutting board? After every use, its important to clean and sanitize the board. First, use a soft bristle brush and hot, soapy water to remove any food debris. Rinse the board with hot water and dry it completely. Then use a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach and 1 gallon of water. Flush the surface with the bleach solution, let sit for several minutes, then rinse with hot water. Let it air dry completely.
- How often should you replace your knives and cutting boards? Its important to replace your knives and cutting boards when they start to show signs of wear and tear. Blades should be replaced when they become dull or nicked. Boards should be replaced when they become cracked or have deep scoring. Its also important to replace boards when they start to take on the smell of the food they are used for.
When it comes to stocking a kitchen, knives and cutting boards are essential tools. In order to select the right ones for your needs, consider the purpose for which they will be used and the properties of the material. Additionally, its important to use knives and cutting boards safely and to clean and replace them as needed. By following these tips, you can ensure that your knives and cutting boards stay in top condition and can last for many years.