Cooking knives are possibly the most important thing you need to know in the kitchen. Why??? Because you need to cut things before cooking them, and the better you get at chopping, the faster cooking will go.
Also, there’s the safety thing. The better you are with cooking knives, the less likely you are to cut yourself. ?? So practice as much as you can!
First off, you only need three things to be a SUPER NINJA with cooking knives:
- A sharp 8” knife
- A cutting board
- A grippy thing (see below)
Seriously, that’s it. Now… details:
King of Cooking Knives: Sharp 8” chef’s knife
It’s nice to have pricey cooking knives, but it’s not even remotely necessary. You can chop just as well with a knife that’s $20 as you can with a knife that’s $90. The key is to keep it SHARP. A dull knife slips all over the place because it can’t get a grip, which will cause you to cut yourself.
Also, chefs use 8-inch cooking knives for a reason. They’re good for chopping almost everything, from herbs to huge roasts. They’re the most important tool in your kitchen.
This seems easy, but a lot of people stumble here. First, don’t get a small cutting board. Trust me. Get one large enough so you don’t feel cramped while working. I recommend at least 12” x 24” (30cm x 60cm).
Plastic or wood? Honestly plastic cutting boards harbor more bacteria than wood ones do, since wood had its own inherent bacterial properties. (Yay, nature!) BUT… you can’t put wood in the dishwasher like you can plastic. So, use whatever you’re most comfortable with.
I will say this, though: it’s smart to have two cutting boards, one for meat and one for everything else. This will go a long way towards making sure meat bacteria stays faaaar away from your raw veggies!
This is a place almost EVERYONE fails. If your cutting board is slipping all over your counter, I guarantee you will eventually cut yourself. This is SO easily fixable:
- Take a single paper towel and get it pretty wet. Wring out the excess water, fold it in half, and set it under your cutting board.
- Or do what I do — buy a roll of grippy shelf liner (Amazon affiliate link) and cut a 6”x 6” square to put under your board. Reusable a thousand times!
Ok, let’s get to actually chopping some stuff. There are two great items people tend to struggle with to start — onions and garlic — so I’ve gone ahead and made you videos that will show you exactly what to do with them:
Practice Makes Perfect ?
Knife skills are the type of thing you need to practice to get better at, but the good news is that once you’re good, it’s like riding a bike — you’ll never lose the muscle memory. If you make it a point to chop an item a few times a week, within a month you will be a total ninja at that one thing (or anything that’s similar).
Here are a few items that are worth chopping 2-3 times a week, just to improve your skills. Once you master these common foods, you’ll be able to chop almost anything:
- Bell peppers <– intermediate level!
- Pumpkin <– advanced!
That’s about it! Now get to chopping. ?? If you have any questions, hop into the cooking support group and ask away. I’ll get you help right quick. ?