Tips on Using the Paring Knife

A paring knife is a small utility knife that can be used for peeling and chopping fruits and vegetables. Paring knives are extremely versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways, making them one of the most frequently utilized knives of a chef’s kitchen. If you donĂ­t have any knives in your kitchen yet, a paring knife is a great first investment.
Paring knives slice easily through many fruits and vegetables, including tougher ones like sweet potatoes. Place round fruits or vegetables on the cutting board on their side so the two ends are horizontal to the board. Place the paring knife against the fruit near one end and push it straight down as you slide the blade across the flesh to cut the end of the fruit or vegetable off. Turn the fruit around and repeat on the other end. Stand the fruit up on one of the cut ends to hold it stable as you slice. Hold the paring knife across the top cut on the fruit or vegetable and slice downward.

Paring knives can be used to peel back thin skins on foods like apples or potatoes. The sharp edge of the paring knife can make quicker, cleaner cuts than some peelers. Hold the food vertically with your index finger on its top edge and your thumb on the bottom. Hold the paring knife in your dominant hand with three fingers. Place the first knuckle of the index finger against the dull side of the paring knife’s blade. Position the edge of the knife at the top of the food below your index finger. Cut into the food slightly, slipping the knife beneath the skin. Peel the skin downward toward the thumb. Repeat until all the skin has been removed.

Paring knives can also be used to peel thick-skinned fruits like those found on citrus fruit. Hold the fruit in your free hand. Hold the handle of the paring knife with your dominant hand. Wrap all four fingers around the handle of the knife. Rest your thumb against the side of the blade. Make a small incision into the side of the fruit’s skin, cutting down beneath the skin and pith. Rotate the knife sideways slightly. Peel away the skin of the fruit by rotating the fruit and pushing the blade under the skin horizontally.

The tip of the paring knife is just as sharp as the blade and can be used for fine close work that a larger knife might ruin. Choke up on the blade of the paring knife so your thumb and index finger rest on either side of the blade. Slide the tip of the blade into the top of fruits like strawberries and twist to remove the hull. Slide the tip of the blade into the underside of shrimp and pull it back toward you to free the vein from the shrimp. Hold just the tip of the blade against small sections of vegetables like the ribs of a jalapeno and slice the blade across the flesh to remove them.

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