1. Size. What do you need your knife to do? A chef’s knife or kitchen knife can be between 15cm and 25cm long: choose a larger knife if you often need to cut through large items such as butternut squash and melons or bigger cuts of meat, a shorter one will be fine for smaller items, or if you simply don’t like huge knives, though it will make tackling bigger veg with thick skins harder. Check that when you chop downwards your knuckles don’t hit the surface, if they do the blade isn’t deep enough.
2. Weight. Does the knife feel heavy or light, and do you like that about it? If you like heavier knives think about what you will be using it for, if you use it for any length of time will it start to feel too heavy?
3. Handle size. Try knife handles out, some suit smaller hands, others need bigger hands to grip them properly. You shouldn’t have to keep adjusting your grip, it should feel like an extension of your arm.
4. Ease of use. Is it easy to chop with? A blade that gently curves from the tip towards the handle will rock backwards and forwards more easily. Try the movement out if you can.
5. Sharpness. Is it sharp when you buy it (don’t test it on your finger!) and will you be able to hone (keep the blade straight and even out any nicks on the blade edge with a steel) or sharpen it easily? A knife is only good when it is sharp.
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