Cooking at Home – Knife Skills

Learning how to use a knife can decrease the time you spend preparing meals and can save you money by chopping your own ingredients instead of buying costly, pre-chopped ingredients. However, working with sharp tools can be a little intimidating. With knife skills, a little practice goes a long way.

To start, choosing the right knife for the job is important. A chef’s knife is about 8-10 inches long and has a broader blade than most other knives. This is what you will use for most chopping, slicing, and dicing.

To begin, pinch the blade (sharp edge down) near the handle with your forefinger and thumb. Wrap your remaining fingers around the handle. This gives you maximum control of the knife. It may not feel natural at first, but it will allow the knife to work as an extension of your hand.

The non-knife hand will help guide the knife and keep the ingredient you are chopping from moving around. Make a claw with the non-knife hand, tucking your fingers under as you steady the item you are cutting. If the item you are cutting is round or could roll, try cutting a small flat spot first or cut the item in half and place the flat side on the cutting board.

Next, keeping the point of the knife angled down towards the cutting board, let the flat side of the blade slide against the backs of your fingers, pressing through the item you are cutting as you lower the handle and push the knife away from you. Continue with this motion, starting slow at first. Once you get the hang of it, you can develop a nice rhythm. To see it in action:

Junior chefs (aka kiddos) in the home can also practice their skills using a non-sharp knife, such as a butter knife or plastic knife, to cut soft fruits like bananas, kiwis, or strawberries. This is a great way to get kids in the kitchen and excited about eating healthy foods.

Learn how to properly clean and store a knife on the Create Better Health website:

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