Instant Expert: Get a Grip on the Paring Knife

paring knife how to
Photo: Victorinox

If you've been using a steak knife for peeling apples and onions, you're lucky you haven't sliced your finger, girl. It's time to get a paring knife. Just a small knife, it's the least intimidating of kitchen cutlery.

Get an edge up in the kitchen: You do need to use more than flatware to prep a meal (and those plastic knives in those leftover takeout packets definitely won't cut it). The mini blade on a paring knife (it can range anywhere between three and four inches) is perfect for peeling, coring and cutting small ingredients like garlic. Don't make the rookie mistake of busting out a paring knife for a heavy-duty job — it's not for sawing away on a melon.

Get a grip: You should feel comfortable holding every knife you use, but the type of handle you choose (plastic or wood, perhaps?) is up to you. Wood looks great, but you'll be hand washing to not warp it. (Sure, you really shouldn't be putting any knives in the dishwasher, but let's get real.)

Stay sharp: If the thought of using a sharp knife gives you the shivers, just relax. You're more likely to nick yourself with a blunt blade. The better the edge, the more control you'll have when prepping. When the blade dulls (aka, you suddenly have to put a little give into cutting), get it sharpened pronto (check a nearby Sur La Table — it might do it for cheap or sometimes even for free). Or if you didn't spend much (we're talking like 10 bucks or less) on your paring knife, it's okay to get a new one.

Get one now: Need an affordable option? Try out Victorinox. Want to spend a bit more? Pick up a Wüsthof paring knife instead.

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