There are so many different knives. There are different brands, styles, cuts and sizes. If you’re new to cooking or you just want to clean out your kitchen cabinet of all the things you don’t really use, this guide will help you know where to begin.
This Paleo Guide To Knives will explain the only knives you really need in your kitchen, and break down the reasons why all the other knives really just take up space.
I came across this really great infographic that explains all the different knives (see below), how each knife is used and how to maintain each one. I was going to just pin it and call it a day, but I figured why not share it here and explain why you really only need one knife.
The Only Knife You Need
Truthfully, I feel you only need one knife. Let me explain first by talking a little about each of the knives you don’t need.
Not Needed: Bread Knife
I think this one is the most obvious with regard to the Paleo lifestyle, but since you’re not eating bread, you’ll no longer need a bread knife. It’s as easy as that.
I will admit that I do own a bread knife because I owned one B.P. (Before Paleo) when I used to make my own bread at home, but now it is only used to cut whole watermelon.
Not Needed: Boning Knife
Unless you filet your own fish often, you’re not going to need to own a boning knife.
A boning knife is a sharp knife with a narrow blade. It’s used just as the name claims, for removing bones from poultry, meat and fish.
Here’s an easy way to bypass needing this type of knife. Ask your butcher to filet your fish and debone any cuts for you before you leave the store, processor or farm.
Not Needed: Cleaver
Most of the uses for a cleaver fall into cutting large pieces of meat and bone, such as spatchcocking a chicken.
I have never owned a cleaver. I have made do with my kitchen sheers and other knives for most additional uses for a cleaver aside from those already listed.
Not Needed: Paring Knife
A paring knife is used for mincing, peeling, coring and removing partial pieces of potatoes and other vegetables.
The thing is, if you have a peeler then you’ll probably use that for the task, like I do.
With mincing, you can do that with your typical everyday knife.
Not Needed: Utility Knife
Utility knives are used for peeling, slicing and trimming.
They can have a straight or serrated edge, though like the paring knife, I find that I can use my everyday knife to do all those things and therefore I don’t own a utility knife either.
Not Needed: Santoku Knife
The Santoku knife is a multi-purpose knife. They are typically lighter, thinner and sharper than most Western-style knives.
Since this is a multi-purpose knife, I tend to use my Chef’s knife regularly and therefore don’t need another everyday knife. You’re only going to hold one knife in your hand at a time so multiples of the same knife aren’t really necessary.
Not Needed: Every Specialty Cutting Item. Ever
Let me explain. Have you seen the pineapple corer and the apple corer and the avocado peeler and the egg slicer and…and…and…none of these items are truly necessary. Whether you’re trying to pare down or just starting from scratch please do not start out thinking you need all these specialty items.
What Knife Do You Need?
The only knife I use is a Chef’s knife, which is also known as a Cook’s knife. No, I didn’t make that name up, that’s really the name of the type of knife.
As I’ve mentioned in several sections above, the Chef’s knife is a multi-purpose tool that can be used for chopping, slicing, mincing, dicing, and depending on the size, peeling as well. Sizes range from 6 to 14 inches.
When I started cooking I was given an 8″ Pampered Chef Chef’s knife for our wedding. I used that regularly as my everyday knife for the longest time.
More recently I switched to a 6″ Wüsthof Classic Chef’s Knife for my daily user and I could not be happier! With my small hands, the 6″ just works better for me and I’m able to do all the things with just this one knife.
The Knives I Own
So you may be questioning whether one knife is enough. I can hear the inner workings of your brain wondering if that is really all I own, so I wanted to go in depth about all the knives I have. In addition to my everyday knife, I also have a few irregular ones that I keep for very specific reasons.
- Wüsthof 6″ Chef’s Knife
- Pampered Chef 8″ Chef’s Knife
- Pampered Chef 9″ Serrated Bread Knife
- KitchenAid Ceramic Paring Knife
- Pampered Chef 4.5″ Serrated Stainless Steel Knife
- Crinkle Cutter
This is my go-to knife for everyday use.
This used to be my go-to knife but now I only bring this knife out to cut larger items such as butternut squash and turkey.
As I’ve already mentioned I do own a bread knife that I bust out during summer to saw through watermelons.
We purchased this knife because when we make Kombucha and need to trim our mother scoby, we don’t use a metal knife.
My entire kitchen was branded with Pampered Chef from the start since we had our wedding registry with them and the majority of what we asked for was filled and that included this serrated tomato knife. I keep it for the occasional sliced tomato.
The last “knife” I own is just for fun. When I have some time and feel like going with a fancier cut for crinkle fries or chips, I use this crinkle cutter.
Basic Care For Your Knife
When it comes to caring for your knife there’s only a few basic things you need to know.
- A sharp knife is the best knife.
- Hand wash only.
- Store your knife carefully.
Brands really don’t matter as much as keeping it sharp. Find an individual or business nearby you can rely on to help keep your knives sharp and you’ll lose less blood.
Putting your knives in the dishwasher will diminish the blade and if you refer to number 1 above, you want to keep it sharp, so don’t do that. Hand wash the knife with a little soap and hot water.
If your knife came with a cover, you’ll want to protect your knife from getting nicked by other utensils in the drawer. An easy fix for this is to not overcrowd your drawer and to store your knife covered. Since I only use one knife, my 6″ Chef’s knife lives on my cutting board on my counter top at all times.
Which Knife Do You Use?
Choosing what works best for you may seem daunting, but if you stick with a Chef’s knife as your only knife and only have to think about the size that works best, you’ll take out all the hassle and stress of choosing.
To figure out which size works best for you take a field trip to a kitchen store such as Sur La Table or Crate & Barrel and physically put each knife in your hand to see what feels best. You don’t have to buy it right then and there but this way you can get a feel for what is best for you.