Buying Guide to Paring Knives
4 Things to Know Before You Buy
With its short 2 ½ to 4-inch blade and sharp point, a paring knife enables you to perform detailed, intricate cutting tasks such as hulling strawberries, slicing and mincing garlic and onions and de-veining shrimp. Considering the many tasks this kitchen knife performs, it's an integral part of your culinary collection.
When buying a paring knife, keep in mind the following four features of this vital kitchen tool.
Fact #1: Types
Yes, there is more than one type of paring knife.
The most common type of paring knife is the straight-edged classic version, which features a straight blade and sharp, pointed tip.
Other paring knife options include the bird's beak with its curved blade that allows you to peel fruit and carve vegetables, including garnishes. Because it lacks a straight edge, this type of knife is designed only for handheld cutting.
A sheep's foot paring knife is perfectly straight and is especially useful for cutting board tasks like julienning. This knife type features a dull back spine and a somewhat rounded tip, which means you don't have to worry about puncturing what you're cutting with a sharp point.
Serrated, straight blade paring Knives do a good job of tasks such as peeling thick-skinned vegetables and fruits like citrus.
Fact #2: Design
Considering that you are likely to use your paring knife while holding it aloft, it's important that the knife is easy to maneuver. Texturized or dimpled ergonomic handles are slip-resistant and make handling the knife easier.
Knives that are lightweight and well-balanced between blade and handle make paring tasks run smoothly. In the case of all but sheep's foot blades, it is best to choose a knife with a sharp point, which makes it easy to puncture and enter foods prior to slicing.
Fact #3: Construction
High-quality Knives have a full tang, which means the blade runs from the tip of the knife all the way through the handle. This construction makes for a durable, safe knife, as it's impossible for the blade to come free.
Fact #4: Materials
Paring knife handles are constructed of plastic, wood or metal. Plastic handles are often dishwasher safe but tend not to be as long-lasting as metal, which is particularly durable. Wood handles will also stand the test of time as long as the Knives are hand washed.
Paring knife blades are either metal or ceramic. In metal, you'll find high-carbon stainless steel and stainless steel blades, which both hold a sharp edge for an extended period of time and resist rusting and staining. Ceramic blades are razor sharp and also hold their cutting edge. These blades are lightweight and don't react with acids and salts as metal Knives can.
No matter how you slice it, adding a high-quality paring knife to your knife block will make much of your kitchen prep-work easier.