To help complete your kitchen collection, we have brought together the complete guides to the best kitchen knives out there on the market today. In the first part of our series, we take a look at an essential piece of chef equipment and ask: Just what is a paring knife and what is a paring knife used for?
WTF is a paring knife?
Paring knives are small, all-purpose knives that usually measure from around 3 to 5 inches long and are handy for producing small, delicate cuts such as coring apples or peeling potatoes. Paring knives are an essential addition to any kitchen that can range in price from being very inexpensive to quite pricey, depending on the quality.
By the end of our guide, you will not only know what a paring knife is, but also where to find real value when buying this type of knife.
To learn more about kitchen knives, be sure to check out our summary of the types of knives.
What makes a good paring knife?
Paring knives are generally meant to be compact, particularly as their primary use is often for intricate tasks such as seeding small vegetables. A great paring knife will be lightweight without feeling insubstantial or flimsy and will have a handle that is both firm and easy to grip, an essential feature as any excess slippage could make it very easy to get cut should you lose control of the knife.
These little knives are often extremely sharp and durable and a great blade will keep its edge for an extended period of time without requiring excessive sharpening. That being said, as with any knife it’s vital to sharpen your blades regularly with knife sharpener in order to maintain their optimal condition.
Why is a paring knife good choice?
There are four basic uses for a paring knife and given that the knife you’re using is of high-quality, these cuts can make cooking faster and more convenient while allowing for optimal presentation.
Slicing: Other than the electric knife, Slicing is one of the most popular uses for paring knives, and for anyone who has ever had to slice small yet tough vegetables such as sweet potatoes or carrots, a great knife with a sharp blade can be a great way to save time while making the task far less frustrating.
Thin Peels: The compact blade of a paring knife makes it the perfect tool for peeling thin layers of skin from fruit and vegetables; far sharper and easier to manipulate than a vegetable peeler, these little knives make it possible to peel away the skin without losing excessive amounts of the fruit or vegetable with it.
Thick Peels: Thick peels such as those of oranges, grapefruit and a variety of other citrus fruits can be difficult to remove easily and paring knives get the job done fast and with minimum effort. While this type of peel can be tough and time-consuming to remove, an excellent paring knife can make the job significantly easier.
Precision Cuts: From deveining shrimp to de-seeding vegetables and removing the tops of small fruits, the compact and lightweight paring knife can make dealing with extremely small and delicate cuts simple and effective; for those who are concerned with presenting their food in the most picturesque way while making the task as quick and easy as possible, paring knives are a wonderful tool for tiny, sophisticated cuts.
Paring knives are one of the most popular kitchen knives on the market today and rightfully so. When equipped with a sharp blade, durable and easy-to-grip handle and a lightweight yet sturdy feel, these little knives can help you make short work of some of the most challenging cuts and help you reduce time in the kitchen!