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Best Knives for Cutting Vegetables
What is a vegetable knife?
A vegetable knife cuts vegetables, and some knives work exclusively for vegetables. Other knives can work for both vegetables and meat. A vegetable knife usually has a blade between five to seven inches long, and they are best for preparing vegetables, including chopping, cutting, dicing, and slicing. Most vegetable knives can be used for both small and large vegetables.
Vegetable knives come in more than one shape and size, including a large variety. The blades of a vegetable knife are, however, usually made with broad blades with a square tip similar to a meat cleaver but lighter and thinner. Furthermore, the blade tends to be straight, allowing them to cut through vegetables without the need for a horizontal push motion. This allows you to control the knife with ease in a single direction.
Some vegetable knives have scallops on the side that help to reduce vegetables from sticking to the sides. The edge can be beveled, too, with Japanese knives having both a single or double beveled edge. Which knife you pick depends on the type of vegetables you are cutting and how you want to cut the plants.
The main four types of vegetable knives are Santoku, Nakiri, tomato, and peeling. In addition, a few styles of chef knives serve multiple purposes and can work for both meats and vegetables, including chef, utility, and paring knives. Ideally, your kitchen will have each of these knives along with meat cutting knives to function properly.
What is the purpose of a vegetable knife?
The purpose of a vegetable knife is to peel, chop, cut, dice, and slice vegetables. Each type of vegetable knife serves a different purpose. If you are limited in space, make sure you get a chef’s knife and a santoku knife but make sure you know what each knife does.
Chef’s knives have a broad blade with a tapered point and measure between six to twelve inches long. The size depends on the size of the chef’s hands. These knives work to cut anything from chicken to carrots and a variety of other foods. Use this knife for harder vegetables like squash, garlic, or onions.
Utility knives measure between four and seven inches long and work for cutting smaller items because of the narrow blade. They can cut, slice, trim, and fillet a variety of foods. Use this knife to slice or dice mid-sized vegetables and herbs or cutting up fruit. Some utility knives have serrated blades making them helpful for cutting soft fruits and veggies like tomatoes.
Santoku knives are Japanese chef’s knives with a shorter, thinner blades, making them a great option for smaller hands. Use this knife for mincing, dicing, and slicing. As the blades do not rock, they are fabulous for vegetables and herbs. Scallops on the sides prevent food from sticking to the blade.
Nakiri knives are also Japanese knives used for vegetables. A straight flat blade and scallops allow you to chow without pushing or pulling. However, the Nakiri knife isn’t as useful as a chef’s knife or Santoku. Use this knife exclusively for l vegetables and never use them on meat or harder fruits or vegetables like watermelon or pumpkin.
Tomato knives are usually about six to seven inches long and lightweight. They usually have a serrated edge that cuts through soft fruits and vegetables with ease. Also, they can have sharp or rounded tips, each with different purposes, but the rounded tip is the most common unless you plan on making garnishes.
Peeling knives can peel the skin off of vegetables and fruits. These knives are short, rigid, and have slightly curved blades that are extremely sharp at the tip, allowing them to peel with ease.
Paring knives are tiny three to four-inch blades with a pointed tip great for cutting fruits and vegetables. Use them to trim excess fat off meat.
Kitchen Shears work well for cutting the fat off of meat, stripping herb branches, and various other uses, making them an all-purpose item perfect for any kitchen.
What knife do I use to cut vegetables?
The best knives for cutting vegetables are chef’s, Santoku, and Nakiri knives. Tomato and peeling knives can be used for certain vegetables as well. Which knife you use will depend on what you are cutting.
Use chef’s knives for onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, and celery. Serrated knives work best for tomatoes or citrus fruits. A paring knife cuts apricots, plums, berries, apples, garlic, and shallots with ease. Santoku knives can cut cucumbers and zucchini very well.
What is a vegetable knife used for in cooking?
Vegetable knives are not used for cooking but for prepping food for cooking. As vegetable knives cut, chop, mince, and dice vegetables, they can prepare food and make it ready to go into the oven, on the stove, or in the air fryer. However you choose to cook, most vegetables require cutting before eating, and it’s vegetable knives that you need to get the food small enough to cook properly. Also, knives can be used after cooking to cut up vegetables cooked intact, like spaghetti squash.
Do I need a vegetable knife?
Everyone needs a vegetable knife as everyone should and usually does eat vegetables. Your best bet for a fully stocked kitchen is to get a chef’s knife, utility knife, Nakiri knife, santoku knife, and a paring knife. With all of these knives in your block, you can cut any vegetable that comes into your kitchen.
What is the difference between a vegetable knife and a chef’s knife?
Chef’s knives are versatile knives ready to cut just about anything you want to cook. From fish to veggies, these knives can do it all like a jack of all trades. Vegetable knives are designed specifically for cutting vegetables and should not be used on meat or bone. Their purpose is to cut, dice, slice, and chop veggies.
What is the best knife for cutting tomatoes?
Tomato knives are unique compared to other vegetable knives as they have a sharp serrated edge. Never use a dull straight knife to cut a tomato, as it will shred the beautiful red fruit. Serrated knives are more delicate with juicy and often slippery fruit as they allow you to cut across rather in a downward motion to make thin, even slices without pressing the seeds out of the flesh.
How do you use a vegetable knife?
Use a vegetable knife to cut food without sawing. A good knife should be sharp enough to slice through food without the need for excessive motion. Simply push the knife straight down and slightly over to cut food in a sliding motion. With practice, you can get a slight rocking motion into the cut and help to remove the food as you cut. For softer foods, cut gently. Either way, be gentle with your knives, as aggressive chopping can take a toll on the blade.
To start, hold the knife in with your index finger on top of the blade for control and the rest of your fingers wrapped around the handle. Hold your food down with the other hand with your fingers far away from the blade. Continue to move your fingers as you slice through the food. Again, move in a downward and slightly forward direction, allowing the blade’s sharpness to do the majority of the work. Try not to lift the knife too high as this puts excessive effort on your arm can cause uneven slices. Stick close to the food between slices for thin, even slices.
Do you need to sharpen vegetable knives?
Yes, vegetable knives need to be sharpened so they can cut food properly. Otherwise, you will need to be aggressive with the blade to cut the food. Sharp knives will produce even and proper cuts at an even rate. All knives dull over time and require sharpening. You can reduce how often you need to sharpen knives by hand washing them, as putting them in the dishwasher can cause them to dull out faster.