Category Archives for Electric Knife Advice

2 fresh persimmons with knife on a table

What Is a Paring Knife Used for in an Everyday Kitchen?

In most residential and commercial kitchens, the paring knife is actually used more times than the chef’s knife. While the go-to knife for most food preparations is the chef’s knife, the paring knife is the next knife down the line. Hence, two questions are commonly asked, and they are: “What is a paring knife?” and “What is a paring knife used for in a kitchen?

If you are a budding chef or want to become one or someone who just loves to cook but wants to make sure that you get the job done more efficiently and present food better, we will provide you with the right information about paring knives. This way, you would know when to use the tool and why you should own one.

What Is a Paring Knife?

A paring knife usually has a total length ranging from eight to eleven inches and installed with a three- to a four-inch blade. The blade also usually has a pointed tip and a very sharp edge.

History

The paring knife got its name from a tool used in 16th-century French bookbinding. The tool was called a “conteau a parer” or simply translated in the English language as a paring knife.

Paring means to peel or cut away, so the knife was used to thin the edges of leather bindings of books. This was done to prepare a cover of a book to make sure it was cleaner and stuck better to the board. The term was eventually adopted by chefs who used a similar but smaller type of knife to peel or cut away smaller food items in the kitchen.

The knife was traditionally made with a large piece of steel with a very thin cutting edge and a wooden handle. It was custom made at first, but as the culinary world evolved, they were considered to be an important part of a chef’s arsenal.

Soon, most knife makers started to create smaller paring knives to go along with the chef knives. Now, most knife sets and chef sets will feature at least one kind of paring knife.

Qualities of a Good Paring Knife

Many qualities make a good paring knife. Like all knives used in the kitchen, the paring knife has to be durable.

As mentioned, a paring knife usually features a blade that is not longer than four inches, but not shorter than three inches. It is designed that way since it needs to be very thin so that it can peel away skins of fruits but still has to be durable enough to cut through meat products.

The blade has to be sharp at all times, and it has to be made with quality materials. Stainless steel and other hard-wearing materials are preferred. A good paring knife should also be capable of retaining a sharp edge despite being used daily.

The handle of a good paring knife will allow the user to move around certain foods, but it still has to be stable enough for chopping and slicing. The tip of a paring knife has to be sharp and fine for detailing work and intricate knife work.

What Is a Paring Knife Used For?

A paring knife is aptly described as a utility knife that can be used on almost anything in the kitchen. That means there is no one specific use for a paring knife. However, some preparation techniques can only be done by a good paring knife.

The paring knife also takes over when the chef’s knife is too big or too heavy. Here are the most common uses of the paring knife in any kitchen.

  • Slicing: A paring knife is used for slicing small food items. While a chef’s knife can also be used for this, when thinner slices are required, the paring knife is preferred since it can produce thinly sliced pieces.
  • Peeling: A paring knife is also used to peel small fruits such as apples and oranges since the small blade is ideal for making precise peels on the thin layers of these fruits. With its smaller blade, it makes it easier to use when maneuvering around a small rounded piece of fruit or food.
  • Skinning: Skinning is a term used when small garnishes are cut or sliced. This is done for cooking purposes, but it can also be done for design. A good example of skinning is when you remove the top of the strawberry for meal preparation or a garnish.
  • De-seeding: The small sharp blade of a paring knife makes it the ideal tool for de-seeding. It is a process when you carefully remove the seeds of certain kinds of food without damaging the outer surface or the skin. A good example of de-seeding is removing the seeds of chili and tomato.
  • De-veining: This is a process of removing the vein of the shrimp prior to cooking it. This needs to be done delicately so that the flesh of the shrimp remains intact, and the paring knife has all the right features to achieve such.
  • Scoring: This is the process of creating small uniform slits on the surface of food items, most commonly large pieces of meat such as steak. This is done to expose a greater surface area to the heat while it cooks. This method is also ideal for pieces of bread to let the steam escape.

Conclusion

What is a paring knife used for in the kitchen? Put simply a paring knife is used for fine tuning knife work. It is used for smaller slicing and cutting, as well as to make intricate cuts on food items and removing small parts of an ingredient that is of no use. Likewise, when you think the chef’s knife can damage the ingredient because of its big size, the paring knife should be your go-to tool.

As such, there are no restrictions when it comes to using a paring knife in any kitchen. In fact, it is considered to be an all-purpose knife, much like a chef’s knife, but smaller.

Kitchen knife set

How to Buy Kitchen Knives: A Buyer’s Guide

There are plenty of knives on the market and finding the ones you need may prove to be a tricky task as they come in different designs and features. For example, some have high-carbon German steel while others have Swiss steel for the blades. Some products have riveted handles and others don’t. This is because not all kitchen knives are created equal, which makes buying one a complicated task. Many first-timers in the art of buying kitchen knives often ask, “How to buy kitchen knives?

Before searching for one, you should first determine what kind of knife you need. Keep in mind that there are different kinds of knives.

The Basic Knives

Unless you are a culinary expert or a person who wants a precise cut for every ingredient, you do not have to buy all kinds of knives in the market. The basics will do. But what are they?

A basic knife set includes an all-purpose utility knife, a bread knife, a vegetable or paring knife, fillet, a cleaver, a carving knife, and a sharpener.

  • All-purpose knife

An all-purpose utility knife is roughly five inches long. It is used for a wide range of food. This knife is usually the first one to be bought since it can be used for different ingredients.

  • Bread knife

The bread knife is a serrated knife that is used for bread, fruits, tomato, and cakes.

  • Paring knife

A vegetable or more popularly known as paring knife is roughly three inches in length. It is used for cutting, peeling, and trimming small food items held by hand.

  • Chef’s knife

The chef’s knife is around 7.8 to nine inches long. It is mostly used for dicing, chopping, cutting and mincing.

  • Cleaver

A cleaver is for meat products and chopping of other items. This is best for those who are serious in the cutting of their meat.

  • Fillet knife

The fillet knife, as its name suggests, is for filleting the fish. Many people skip on this knife since most fish sold are already filleted.

  • Carving knife

A carving knife us for slicing thin slices of meat or roasted poultry.

  • Sharpener

The sharpener is used for sharpening of the blades. One has the option of using a sharpening steel, electric honer or a knife-honing stone.

Single Knife vs. Sets

Knowing the different kinds of knives will help anyone buy exactly what they need. One can also consider buying a set to save money and time. However, the buyer has to remember that there is a risk in buying a set since the shopper may not like the feel and blade of each knife.

When choosing to buy a set or an individual knife, ask yourself whether you will be quite particular about the knife you will use for each food. If one prefers or only has a budget for a single knife, then the utility knife is the best option to buy.

How to Buy Kitchen Knives: Factors to Consider

After choosing a particular knife or between a knife and a set, then its time to shop for the one you need.

  • Checking the Fit Especially the Handle

Feeling how the item fits into your hands is important. This means checking how comfortable you’ll be in using the item. It is highly advisable to undergo some hand test before buying one.

If purchasing online, then you will need to consider the design of the handle. Many knives are triple riveted for a better grip. Plenty of products also have ergonomic handles.

The material of the handle also matters. The most commonly used are plastic, wood, and toughened resins. Wood handles tend to crumble and become brittle over time while plastic can sometimes be very slippery. Check the material of the handle as well as other features as some come with additional coating for better grip and protection.

  • Considering the Blades

Knowing how to buy kitchen knives also means making an effort in finding out about the material especially for the blades.

Product makers use different materials for the blades such as high-carbon stainless steel. European steel such as German and Swiss steel is highly regarded by culinary experts for their strength and durability.

Carbon steel is a favorite among culinary experts since they do not become dull quickly. They are also easy to sharpen but one should be careful with its cleaning and storage to avoid rusting. On the other hand, stainless steel is cheaper but they would require constant sharpening. However, they do not rust easily.

Choose forged blades over stamped one because forged ones are more durable.

Look at the promised characteristics of the material used for the blade. Some are can resist rust better than others. Many blades are non-staining. Find the features of the blades before purchasing a particular knife.

If shopping in a store, then check the blades up close if there are any joining especially on the knife’s hilt. This is because any signs of welding or joining could be the knives weakest point, which means it could break or bend easily.

Keep in mind that the best knife is made from a single piece of steel and are hand-forged. On the other hand, poorly made knives are often thin with some hilts on them.

  • Looking for Warranties

Many highly regarded kitchen knife manufacturers offer a warranty. They could either be for a year or even for a lifetime. The warranty is also a guarantee that the product makers believe in the great quality of their product.

Take Your Time

Finding a good knife is no easy task given the many choices available. If one is not in a hurry, then it would be best to take the time to scrutinize each choice. There are, after all, several factors to consider when buying a knife.

Ask yourself first whether you’d like a set or just one or two. Then shop for the knife by checking how they feel on your grip. If shopping online, then check the handles’ features. The blades, particularly its material and construction, matter a lot too. Finally, it is best to choose one with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Kitchen scissor and lettuce on white cutting board

How to Sharpen Kitchen Shears Easily and Effectively

Want to know how to sharpen kitchen shears? Is the process the same as with that of regular scissors? You might be surprised that it really is, but in order to properly sharpen them, you should first know what caused them to be dull in the first place.

We are all familiar with the annoying feeling of having your shears fail on you, especially when you are in a rush and you just cannot find a way to cut whatever it is that you want to cut successfully. The ending? We reach for regular scissors.

Unfortunately, there are really a handful of reasons why kitchen shears tend to dull easily. Of course, we are going to discuss those reasons in this article as well as the different steps on how to properly sharpen kitchen shears.

Are you ready to have all your shears be at their best? Then keep on reading!

The Relationship of Kitchen Shears and Dullness

Think of the relationship of kitchen shears and dullness as a lovesick affair. They both know that they are not good for each other, but they still cannot get enough off of one another. As romantic as it sounds, this is actually the reason why your kitchen shears are always acting out.

It is expected for your kitchen shears to become a bit dull even after a week of occasionally using it. Does it have something to do with the material or make of the blade? Not necessarily, but that might affect that as well.

More often than not, these blades are made of stainless steel. May they be high-quality or not, this material is very strong and sturdy. However, the truth of the matter is, it is the perfect material to experience bluntness.

So, does the bluntness just come on its own? Through consistent use and absolutely no maintenance, that is possible. However, there are several factors that cause this. Let us discuss them briefly.

Factors that Lead to Blade Dullness

Here are some of the major factors that contribute to the fast dulling of your kitchen shears. These factors will help you determine which process to do when sharpening your kitchen shears.

  • Moisture

Kitchen shears are consistently exposed to moisture—may it be due to cleaning it or leaving it out in the open, or even while using it. This cannot be prevented because they have a lot of purposes, and often times, they are the tools of choice when working on something.

The moisture that is left on the blades will surely wear down the coating of the blades. This, in turn, will eventually turn the blades dull.

  • Oils and Other Liquids

We are talking about the oils from the cooked meat that you recently cut, as well as the juices of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. This will coat the blade, and even though you are cleaning it regularly, they will still remain, and the buildup of those will help it become dull.

At the same time, there are certain chemicals that you use on the dishwasher that also affect the sharpness of the blade.

  • Bones

Surprising, right? But the truth is, when you are using a kitchen shear to get the meat out, you sometimes hit the bone, right? Also, you might even be cutting the bone itself. You might be thinking that this is helping the blade because it is scratching against something hard as well.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The unevenness of the surface and inconsistency of the cut will turn the blade dull, and in some cases, might even break the blade.

  • Improper Storage

As we have mentioned before, even if you are cleaning your shears on the regular, oil buildup is inevitable. If you partner this with wrong storage, such as always leaving it out in the open without using a knife block or a case, the air will just do its job and make your blade dull. Much worse, it will pave the way for rusting and corrosion.

How to Sharpen Kitchen Shears

Now that you know some of the major factors that contribute to dullness, let us now go over the things that you can do to take back the glory that was once your kitchen shears.

  • Use Sand Paper

First off, you should get a sandpaper sheet that has about a 150 to 200 grit. If you want your shears to have smoother edges, then you can use a grit that is lower.

Next, fold it in half while making sure that the rough side is facing outside. This is done so that the sandpaper will hit both of the blades. Next step is to cut through the sandpaper using a fluid cutting motion.

Cut through it 10 to 20 times, and you will notice that your blades will become sharper with every cut. If it does not work at first, just keep on cutting. You can also switch to a higher grit. Lastly, wipe your shears clean.

  • Use Aluminum Foil

Take out an aluminum foil and get at least eight to 10 inches of it. You should then fold it lengthwise while making sure that you have thick layers at the ends.

Just like before, cut through the foil at least 10 to 20 times. Make sure to use a fluid cutting motion and keep on cutting strips until your cuts get smoother and smoother. Afterward, wipe your blade.

  • Use a Sharpening Stone

A sharpening stone can be bought at any kitchen supply store. If you do not have one, you can use the underside of a ceramic plate or mug. For this one, you should take apart the blades of your kitchen shears first.

Then, take one blade with the cutting side facing the sharpening stone. Slowly grind it against the stone using firm but gentle strokes. Make sure that your fingers are out of the way.

Do not forget to do the same on the underside of the blade as it will remain dull if only one is sharpened. Do the same with the other blade, and finally, wipe down the blades and set up your kitchen shears again.

Final Words

Those are the three easiest ways on how to sharpen kitchen shears. As you have read, dullness is inevitable, but it can still be averted with proper care and maintenance of your kitchen shears.

But, again, for optimum performance, it is best to sharpen them at least once every two weeks. Constant sharpening can also prolong the life of your kitchen shears.

Chopping Vegetables using a Knife

How to Chop Vegetables Fast Using a Knife

One of the most important things you might want to learn while working in a kitchen is how to chop vegetables fast. Different cuisines require different vegetable cutting styles, which makes the task more challenging.

Cutting the vegetables is an art—the more you spend your time with your knife, the shorter it will take for you to master it. However, you should be careful while using a knife or else you will cut your finger or hand easily. To help out, here are some basic cutting tips for you to get this job done easily.

What Are the Pre-Requisites?

Before you start the procedure, be sure to prepare the cutting tools. We have jotted down few pre-chopping steps for you.

1. Choose the Perfect Cutting Surface

The cutting boards come in different materials like plastic, wood, or bamboo. Plastic is easy to use due to its lightweight, but it is not durable. Also, sharp knives can leave scars and ridges on it.

Wood boards are easy to clean and have antiseptic properties. Some people also like to use bamboo boards, but they can dull your knife easily.

2. Separate the Boards

Be careful while handling the meat and vegetables. One of the pro tips to prevent any mishap is to keep your cutting surfaces separate. Use one chopping board to cut the vegetables and fruits, and use another for chopping the meat.

3. Prevent It from Slipping Around

The chopping boards can slip around easily. If you want to prevent this from happening, do not forget to place a wet cloth beneath the chopping board.

4. Select the Right Knife

Not every knife is suitable for all the kitchen jobs. A balanced knife should feel a slight heavier when you hold it.

The wide blade of chef knives prevent you from exerting more pressure plus it is always plain, so for chopping, a chef knife of eight to ten inches works better. That said, you can use the serrated one for some small sized vegetables like tomatoes.

5. Sharpen It

One of the best ways on how to chop vegetables fast is not to forget to sharpen your knife. A sharp knife saves you time and energy, as well as gives you perfectly chopped vegetables.

On the contrary, a dull knife injures your finger and raggedly cuts the vegetables. The chef knife is easy to be honed because of its plain blade. Just dip it in water to keep vegetables from sticking.

6. Prepare the Vegetables

Rinsing your stuff and vegetables is the first step in cooking since it removes all the attached dirt and dust. Some recipes require peeled vegetables, while some do not. So, it is up to you if you want to peel the vegetable or not.

Most of the recipes tell you to remove the kernels and seed as they can produce a slight offending taste in the cuisine. Some recipes though are fine with the presence of seeds and kernels. Just do as directed by the recipe to enjoy the delicious taste of your food.

How to Chop Vegetables Fast?

Once you are done with the basic steps, it’s time to move towards the real battle zone.

1. Decide on the Final Cut

It’s important to know the lingo of your recipe. Some common types of food cutting styles include peel, slice, julienne, cubes, and ribbon. Once you get to know the desired shape, you are good to go.

2. Root On

Most of the recipes want you to remove the roots of vegetables just to avoid the addition of any bitter taste. However, experts suggest that you should cut the vegetables with the roots on. This way, the small vegetables like an onion does not slip away easily.

Additionally, roots let you hold the vegetable firmly, so it is suggested that you remove the roots at the end of the cutting.

3. One by One

You must have seen someone around you who gathers all the vegetable on the chopping board and cuts in one go. We recommend avoiding this method.

It is best that you place one vegetable at a time on the chopping board. This technique saves you time and space as well. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting half of the time while gathering the fallen vegetables from the floor.

4. Hold the Knife Properly

It is advised that you always use your dominant hand to hold the knife. Then, grip the handle with the index finger, while placing your thumb on the blade. It should look like you are pinching the bolster with the index finger and your thumb.

5. Follow the Claw Rule

The claw prevents you from cutting your fingers and also keeps the vegetable from sliding away. To do so, with your subordinate hand, hold the food that you want to cut. Form a claw with this hand by curving your fingertips towards the palm.

6. Always Tuck in the Thumb

Keep the thumb of the subordinate hand tucked in. Also, place the knuckles of your thumb closer to the knife blade. This technique prevents injuries.

7. Cut in Half

Always cut the vegetables into two halves first. To do so, always place the flat side of the vegetable on the cutting board. This technique makes the food stay steady on the chopping board.

8. Get to Know the Chopping Styles

The cross chop is the best style for beginners, but it may produce unequal sizes of the vegetables. For better results, just place your subordinate hand on the opposite side of the dominant hand.

Another chopping style is the tap chop, which is best for chopping things into slices. For this, place the fingers of your subordinate hand on the spine of the knife. Keep your thumb away from the blade.

9. Uniform Cutting

The smaller chops are quicker to cook than the larger ones. If you are cooking the uneven sizes together, you may end with some overcooked and undercooked pieces.

10. Stay Focused

When chopping vegetables, always focus your vision on the back of the blade. Also, hold the knife in a way that it stays in a vertical position, and then, cut the slices in a single stroke.

Summing It Up

Chopping the vegetables with a knife is not difficult. All it requires is learning, regularly practicing, and applying the different techniques we discussed. You may begin at a slower speed, but once you progress, you will chop the bunch of items in no significant time.

However, if you really have no time, one of the safest options to cut vegetables or fruits is to use manual or electric choppers instead of knives. These choppers can keep your hands away from the knife or sharp blades, as well as can chop vegetables in a minute or less.

Mandoline Slicer and sliced cucumber

How to Sharpen a Mandoline Slicer Blade?

Regular cleaning and maintenance help extend the lifespan and increase the usability of kitchen tools such as the mandoline slicer, which mounts a very sharp blade that provides precise cutting of the foods. However, frequent use can still dull the blade. So, here are some helpful tips on how to sharpen a mandoline slicer blade and keep it in good shape.

What Do You Need in Sharpening the Blade?

Before learning how to sharpen the blade, it is important to know the basic tools that are needed to carry out the task effectively.

  • Safety Gear

This includes protective gloves that are usually made from thicker materials such as steel mesh and Kevlar. These materials are guaranteed cut-resistant.

  • Adjustment Tools

Proper tools such as screwdriver help in disassembling the mandoline unit into several parts. This will also be used to put back the screws in place.

  • Sharpening Stone

The key to having truly sharp blades is using the proper sharpening stones. It comes in different types including natural, diamond, oil, synthetic, and ceramic stones.

How to Sharpen a Mandoline Slicer?

The blade of the mandoline slicer can be safely sharpened and restored by following these steps:

Step 1 – Wear protective gloves

The most important step is to put a pair of safety gloves. This will reduce the risk of injuring yourself when handling sharp edges.

Step 2 – Remove the blade

Different kinds of mandoline slicers are manufactured differently from one another. Some may have a simple mechanism that allows the removal of just the blade, while others need disassembling of the entire unit. Read the instructions manual carefully to know how your unit works. Use the proper tools, such as screwdrivers, whenever necessary.

You can also take this opportunity to clean hard to reach areas that are impossible to clean when the blade is on.

Step 3 – Know your sharpening stone

Familiarize yourself with your sharpening stone. Carefully read and understand the user’s manual on how to use it as some require lubrication with oil or water. Choose an oil that is approved for sharpening stones to ensure efficiency.

Step 4 – Set-up the sharpening stone

Place the sharpening stone horizontally on your chosen surface. Be sure that the working space is stable and flat. This will prevent sliding of the parts you removed from the mandoline slicer.

Hold the sharpening stone with your dominant hand to ensure control and steadiness. You can also place the stone on a damp towel or cloth to avoid sliding during sharpening.

Step 5 – Position the blade

Correctly position the blade on the sharpening stone. Hold it with your non-dominant hand and facing away from you.

Also, follow the correct angle for sharpening when positioning the blade. This is to sharpen the blade of your mandoline effectively. Generally, a 20-degree angle is recommended. But check the manual for more information. In some cases, too much angle results to a dull blade while too shallow angle takes a sloping edge.

Step 6 – Push the stone

Tightly push the sharpening stone across the blade creating a sharp and slicing sound. Rub the blade quickly using the stone.

Step 7 – Repeat stroking motion

Continue stroking or rubbing the blade with the stone for five minutes. Be patient as it may take some time to perfect even the smallest details. You can test its sharpness by cutting vegetables.

Step 8 – Rinse the blade

Rinse the sharpened blade under cold running water. This will remove the debris and remains from sharpening. Never put back the blade without cleaning.

Step 9 – Assemble the mandoline slicer

Put the parts back using proper tools to ensure they aren’t reassembled loosely. Check thoroughly if the screws are properly fastened. Give it a wiggle before using again to ensure the security of the parts and safety of the user.

Get Professional Help

If you are too busy to clean your mandolines by yourself, then you can have it done by experts. You may send out the units to professionals that guarantee services that will return your mandoline to its former glory at minimal costs.

Mandoline Slicer’s Blade Replacement

If you’ve tried so hard to sharpen the blades of your mandoline but are still dull and worn-out, then it’s about time to replace them. Several factors should be considered when getting a replacement.

  • Durability

Blade replacements should be made from durable and sturdy materials. Better quality means that your blade will last longer.

  • Construction

Be sure that the construction of the replacement blade is compatible with your existing mandoline unit. It should guarantee the same output as the original ones.

  • Size

Carefully check the dimensions to ensure that it perfectly fits your mandoline. A minor discrepancy with the size will render the unit unusable, and if still used can result in poor cutting, or worse, lead to injuries and accidents.

  • Price

The replacements can come in various price ranges depending on style and features. Choose the one that fits your needs and budget.

  • Manufacturer’s Warranty

This will protect you as the consumer. In case problems arise, this will keep you worry-free.

  • Maintenance

Choose replacements that are easy to clean and maintain using the stuff you have readily available in your house.

Important Reminders

  • Safety is always crucial when using, cleaning, and sharpening your mandoline slicer. They have extremely sharp blades that can cause injury. Always ensure that the slicer is properly assembled and secured before every use.
  • Focus on what you do especially during cleaning of the blades. Use the proper gears for added safety and protection.
  • Always keep this stuff away from children and pets. Never let them touch and play with any of the parts.
  • Throw away any damaged parts. Never try to repair them on your own. Seek expert help.
  • Religiously follow what is stated in the manual. They are for your own good.

The mandoline slicers are a great addition to your kitchen. Give them the necessary love and care to extend their lifespan. Know the best ways on how to sharpen a mandoline slicer and keep them in their optimal condition. It’s an awesome tool that will bring delight to your home-cooked meals.

mandoline slicer

How to Use a Mandoline Slicer?

Want to have uniformed and perfectly cut fruits and vegetables? Then you need a mandoline slicer! This amazing tool slices and dices foods with absolute precision and uniformity. However, the use of mandolines can be quite dangerous. Proper knowledge and techniques on how to use a mandoline slicer are necessary for safer and more effective use.

What Are the Basic Parts?

Before learning how to use the slicer, familiarize yourself first on the basic parts.

Body

The main part of the mandoline slicer that is usually made from plastic or stainless steel. Grooves can be found on its runway to prevent food from sticking. It has legs and handles for better upright support during use.

Handguard

The handguard also acts as a food holder. This will protect your fingers against the razor-sharp blade. It has spikes under the handle for better gripping or holding of foods.

Thickness Control

This dial or knob is used to adjust the thickness of the slices. It can be easily tweaked depending on the user’s preference. Other mandoline slicer models have preset settings for easier use.

Add-on Blades

High-end models of mandoline slicers come with additional blades for fancy cuts. This includes toothed, rippled, or zigzag blades.

How to Use a Mandoline Slicer?

The basic and safe use of mandoline slicers requires several steps. Below are some guides and tips to help you.

  • Place the mandoline slicer on a cutting board

Be sure to secure the slicer’s legs in place to prevent slipping or shaking during use. Use a sturdy, dry, and clean cutting board. Chopped foods will have direct contact with the board, so keep it clean.

  • Position the mandolin perpendicular to your body

Keep the raised end near you. Forward pushing will give you the most control. Never position it side-by-side or parallel to you as it can lead to slipping and uneven cuts.

  • Cut food to create a flat surface

Mandolin slicers can only slice on a flat surface. Cut round fruits and vegetables into half before slicing. Smaller pieces may be required to fit in the handguard. Always aim for better grip.

  • Sprinkle the runway with water

Wetting the runway with a few drops of water can help ensure a smooth and better sliding. This applies mostly to dry and starchy foods. Juicy and watery foods can already produce moisture on their own.

  • Secure the food inside the handguard

Mandolin slicer usually comes with a cylinder-shaped handguard. Place the food in a way that the flat surface faces the runway. Slowly place the handguard over the slicer and make sure it fits properly.

The blades of the mandolines are sharp and can easily cause injury to your finger. Be careful and always use the hand guard. Only the professionals can work without the guards. You can also use cut-resistant gloves for additional hand protection.

  • Hold the mandoline slicer steadily

Always hold the nearest leg of the mandolin slicer with your non-dominant hand. You need the more powered hand to hold and push the handguard with food.

  • Push the food on the runway

After gripping the handguard, push it along the runway in a downward manner. The blade will start to cut your food. Repeat this motion and add a little pressure to get slices with uniform thickness.

How to Adjust the Settings?

Some mandoline slicers offer setting adjustments and other extra features.

  • Thickness Settings

Units with knobs on the side are most likely adjustable. Easy thickness adjustments can be done by simply turning the knob to lower or raise the blade. However, this does not always give perfect results due to the pressure exerted during slicing.

  • Blade Swapping

Some mandoline slicers have extra features that can cut food into different slices by just changing the blade–toothed, rippled, or zigzag. It can give special cuts including julienne, waffle, or crinkle depending on the blade used.

The process of changing blades can be dangerous. Following the user’s manual is highly recommended to ensure a safe and efficient process.

How to Clean and Store?

Proper cleaning and storage are essential to prolong the life and efficiency of your mandoline slicer.

  • Return and Adjust the Blade

For maximum safety, the adjustable main blade should be set to the lowest position. The extra blades used should be returned to its original hidden position.

  • Clean the Blade

Wipe the blade using a wet and soapy cloth. Do it slowly from the base to the tip to reduce the risk of hand injury. Once the food scrap and stains are gone, rinse with clean water.

  • Dry Thoroughly

Air-dry the slicer by putting in on a drying rack. You can also wipe it with a clean towel but give extra care. Never store the slicer while it is still wet as it can lead to corrosion.

  • Keep Away from Children and Pets

This tool can be dangerous when mishandled. Never leave it in areas accessible to children and pets. It is advisable to keep it in a labeled container instead of placing it on a high shelf or loose drawers.

  • Clean Thoroughly and Accordingly

Occasional deep cleaning of the mandoline slicer is highly advised. You can run it through your dishwasher, but hand washing, especially on the blades, is a lot better and gentler. Handle it with care and wear protective gears when you hand wash it.

Slicers made from steel sometimes require lubrication by rubbing a small amount of oil during cleaning. Be sure to use oil that is safe for consumption since they are in direct contact with your food. Plastic units do not require the same cleaning method as the steel ones. It is best to check the user’s manual to determine the proper care for your slicers.

After learning how to use a mandoline slicer correctly and safely, you can now have uniform and super thin slices of foods. Use this as a secret weapon to impress your family and friends with freshly made salad and home-cooked meals. Believe us; it is worth the investment.

Sliced beef meat

How Thick Do You Cut Meat for Jerky?

Isn’t it a real challenge to decide about how thick do you cut meat for jerky? For most cooks out there, it is. Cooking perfect beef jerky is not easy, but a bigger challenge is cutting even slices in the ideal thickness. The thickness of the meat slice is the most important thing when it comes to cooking a perfect meat jerky.

The final thickness of the meat slice also depends on the type of jerky you want to cook, whether that be a tender/soft jerky or a chewy/tougher jerky. Even though jerky is a very popular meat dish and can be a great treat to your guest’s taste buds, you can only achieve this if you get the thickness right.

How Thick Do You Cut Meat for Jerky?

As mentioned above, it all depends on the type of the jerky you need to cook and your personal liking. This means that there is no established rule for the thickness. However, for the best results, most professionals recommend a ¼-inch thickness. Some choose 3/16-inch slices.

Overall, both the ¼-inch and 3/16-inch slices are the most used thickness by professional chefs. To make it a more chewy jerky, you can increase the thickness according to your own personal liking, or decrease it to cook tender jerky.

The way you cut the meat can also affect the end result even when the slice is of the same size. We will learn about that in the next section.

Preparing the Meat for the Cut

Even though the most popular meat used in jerky is beef, you can also use chicken, turkey, and fish. However, most people prefer beef jerky over other types of meats.

For perfect meat slices, you first need to find the leanest part of the meat. Make sure there is no fat attached to it because fat can ruin the taste and can spoil your effort. Some most commonly used cuts of meat for beef jerky are:

  • Eye of round (The oval muscle in the rear leg)
  • Bottom round (The outer muscle in the upper rear leg)
  • Top round (The meat cut from inside thigh area)
  • Flank steak (The meat cut from the bottom rib area)

After that, cut the meat into ¼-inch thick slices. One of the best ways to do this, if you are using a knife, is to cut in regards to the grain of the meat. Most professional chefs recommend cutting with the grain, which means you cut it parallel to the meat muscle fibers. Why?

Cutting the meat parallel to its fibers will keep the meat slice intact during cooking as fibers keep it together. However, it also depends on the type you want to cook. If you want to cook tough and chewy jerky, then cut the meat with the grain. As mentioned above, it will keep the slice together and makes it chewier. If you want soft jerky, it is better to slice it against the grain.

Finding the Grain of the Meat

To find the grain of the meat, look for the muscle fiber in the meat, which are the thin white lines that run parallel to each other. There are two rules in this regard:

  • When you cut in the same direction as that of the fiber lines, you are cutting the meat with the grain.
  • When you are cutting it horizontal to the fiber lines, you are cutting it against the grain.

How to Cut Precise Slices for Meat Jerky?

The traditional way to cut precise slices is to use sharp knives. However, many asks, “Is it the best way?” The truth is, no, it isn’t.

For perfect slices with accurate thickness, you can use meat slicers. There are many affordable models available in the market for home use, so you don’t have to go to a restaurant or a butcher shop for perfect meat slices.

Meat Slicers

Modern electric meat slicers are a good addition to your kitchen counter that not only provides you precise meat slice for jerky or any other meat dish, but can also cut vegetables, fruits, and even cheese. Overall, we find meat slicers much better than knives in cutting precise slices.

Actually, when you cut meat using a knife, you cut it based on your guess about the thickness. You don’t do a precise calculation to measure the thickness, right?

We’ve never seen anyone who uses a measurement scale to measure the thickness of meat before cutting it with a knife. This increases the chances of error because there is a big chance that you will cut it too thin or too thick.

However, this is not the case with meat slicers. The latest models almost all come with an option to adjust thickness with precision. You can just set the thickness you want and can get the accurate thickness with absolutely no margin or error.

Jerky Slicers

Another popular option to take advantage of is a jerky slicer. This equipment can also help you cut even meat slices. It is also very important to cut all your pieces in the same size because you need to dry them first. If not of the same thickness, they will not dry evenly and develop different texture and taste when cooked.

This is exactly why knives are often not a good idea to use when it comes to jerky slices unless you are too precise with your measurement. Use a meat slicer or jerky slicer for better precision.

Final Words

Beef jerky is a popular dish all over the world, but it is not very easy to cook it perfectly. You need to take care of a lot of things precisely to cook a tasty beef or any other meat jerky. One of the most important things is to cut the meat slices in the perfect size, which is 1/4 inch but also to keep all pieces exactly of the same size.

We are sure you now know the answer of the question how thick do you cut meat for jerky, but to achieve a perfect cut, you also need to look into tools you use and the method you are following.

Do you have lean meat with you? Is it completely fat-free? Are you using a knife, or more precise meat slicer or jerky slicer? Are you cutting the meat with the grain or against the grain? You need to take care of all these things to ensure perfect thickness for your jerky meat slices.

Meat Slicer machines

What to Look for in a Meat Slicer?

Slicing meat by hand is a difficult task that can take a lot of time. Think of supermarkets and restaurants where there is so much meat to be cut and sliced. For this, they use meat slicers. If you are planning on buying a meat slicer, then you should know what to look for in a meat slicer.

The fact that a meat slicer gives out perfect cuts in a short amount of time makes it a must-have for restaurants as well as for homes. It is an important investment as it will have a direct impact on the many aspects of food preparation.

What to Look for in a Meat Slicer: Five Most Important Things

Here are the five things you need to look for in a meat slicer:

1. Large Infeed

This is directly related to the efficiency of the meat slicer. The larger the size of the infeed, the less work on your part. Also, this feature also allows you to get a variety of meat slices of different sizes.

During busy hours at a restaurant or at home, you will be pressed for time. Having a large feed mouth will allow you to put in larger pieces of meat, eliminating the need to cut them into smaller pieces.

As a guideline, look for a meat slicer that has an infeed that is eight inches wide or bigger. Some manufacturers producing premium-tier meat slicers may also be able to provide a feed size that is customized to your requirements.

2. Power

The power of a meat slicer is measured in horsepower. If you are going to use the meat slicer frequently (few times a day), then go for the one with higher horsepower. Usually, you can find 120- to 240-watt motors. The more powerful the motor, the better the precision it offers.

The power varies depending on the size of the slicer. Entry level meat slicers usually have the lowest power. They are not meant for frequent use and can stop working if you use it to slice a large amount of meat at one time.

3. Manual or Automatic

Whether to go for a manual or automatic one is purely based on your needs. The most basic and traditional meat slicers are manual, which means that you have to operate the machine manually to cut the meat into slices. However, automatic slicers have a motor that does the work for you at a faster rate.

Any facility where large amounts of meat have to be cut should go for an automatic one. Less manpower would be required to run the machine, and the work will be done much faster. Most supermarkets and delis use large automatic meat slicers. However, automatic electric meat slicers are also getting popular among home users.

4. Safety

Safety features are crucial and should never be ignored when buying a meat slicer. It can cause an injury to the person operating it if there are no proper guards on the machine. Make sure they are high-quality and easily removable.

There should be an emergency off switch as well as lockout features too. Generally, all the slicer blades have guards, some removable while others are permanent, which is done so that very little part of the blade is exposed.

Also, your slicer should not require you to use your hand to push the meat in. The contact with the machine and its blades should be as minimum as possible. It would also be good to make sure the feet have a good grip, and it doesn’t move on your kitchen counter when in use.

5. Easy to Clean

You will not really understand the importance of this quality until such a time that you need to clean the machine. Since it handles different kinds of food items, you need to put real effort into making sure that it is always sanitary, which is why it should also be easy to clean and wash.

For starters, look for a meat slicer that is made of stainless steel and has a wash-down motor. All the electrical components in the slicer should be properly insulated and sealed so that you can easily wash it.

Another important thing to look for in the context of easy cleaning is a removable guard that does not require any tools to be detached. This can save you a lot of time when it comes to clean up.

Washing the meat slicer every once in a while is important because otherwise there can be bacteria build up. You do not want you family complaining about bad meat. After all, it is our responsibility to keep the standards of sanitization in our kitchen very high, right?

Secondary Things to Look for

Here are some other things you might want to look for in order to get the best meat slicer:

Non-tempered Meat: Some slicers do not slice frozen meat and require you to temper or unfreeze it, which can be time-consuming. If you are running a busy kitchen that handles a big amount of meat every day, you would want a slicer that can slice non-tempered meat as well.

Belt-driven: There are two types of meat slicers. One is belt-driven, and the other is gear-driven. If you want something that has easy and cheap maintenance, then go for the belt-driven slicer. Belts are cheaper to replace, while a gear-driven slicer would be very costly to repair.

Blade Size: Blade size usually corresponds to the size of the slicer, but it does not hurt to check out the size and quality of the blade before purchasing the product. Smaller slicers have smaller blades while premium-tier slicers have the biggest and heaviest blades.

A 12-inch blade is good enough for industrial use while a seven- to 10-inch blade is more than enough for home use.

Warranty: A good quality meat slicer would go a long way and would give you perfectly cut meat pieces for years. Make sure there is a warranty for the expensive parts of the meat slicer too. The warranty can save you in case anything goes wrong.

Final Words

At the end of the day, your own needs should be the most important consideration before buying a meat slicer. While there are different sizes, advanced features, and many brands to choose from, you should only go for what you really need.

Now, the new models are exceptionally safe, but still, you can never be too safe. Thus, make sure to be careful when using a slicer. We are sure after reading our guide on what to look for in a meat slicer, you can now make the best decision.

Vegetable spiralizer

What Is a Spiralizer and Why Use It?

In the past, people would spend a lot of time in their kitchen countertop to perfect the slicing of vegetable or fruit in their salads. Today, more and more people are learning to use a spiralizer to lessen their time in the kitchen and spend more time with their family and friends. But what is a spiralizer?

What Is a Spiralizer?

Spiralizing is a technique wherein you convert your vegetables and fruits into beautiful and colorful pasta and noodles (which is commonly known as “zoodles”) without the hassle of slicing it into bits and pieces. The device used in this technique is called a spiralizer.

A spiralizer will make it easy for any user to slice through almost any fruit and vegetable. By using this machine, it helps you lessen the time in working through your ingredients and give you more time with your prep work for the sauce and spending more time with your family.

Spiralizers come in different sizes and shapes. Most of the time, it functions as a pencil sharpener and has around the same size as a toaster. 

Why Use a Spiralizer?

Now that you know what is a spiralizer, it’s important to know why you should use it. Not only does it simplify your work, but it also provides you with a means to get your required nutritional values for your everyday diet.

Here are some of the reasons why you should start using a spiralizer:

  • For a better weight loss and lower calorie intake

Spiralizing your vegetable is a science of increasing your daily intake with minimal effort. A lot of people find it hard to resist the temptation of eating pasta, which contains a high level of carbs.

Spiralizing your vegetable helps you support low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie intake without sacrificing your love for pastas.

  • To complement your meal and diet preferences

Having different kinds of diet is not a problem at all for a spiralizer because it improves the aesthetic, aroma, and taste of your next meal. You can easily create your own combination of vegetables and sauces to make sure that you still follow your daily diet routine.

  • Dual detoxification

By having the right amount of vegetable intake, you can have a daily dose of high-quality fiber in your body, which keeps your stomach full for longer periods. In turn, you get to enjoy more energy. Furthermore, eating veggies gives your body antioxidants that help flush out toxins.

  • Boosts your immunity and metabolism

Vitamins and minerals are important to our body because it keeps our metabolism always on the go. By spiralizing your food, you increase your vegetable and fruit intake in order to get the minerals that you need for your body to be stronger and more functional.

  • Easy to mix a variety of vegetables

By spiralizing your food, you can easily mix different vegetables with each other and make a unique gourmet every day. You don’t have to worry about the different tastes and composition of the individual vegetables because if you mix it together with your favorite sauce, it wouldn’t matter at all.

  • Maximum nutrition value retention

When you spiralize your food, you get to keep all the nutritional value from your fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to worry about getting all the juices out or throwing away the unwanted cuts of vegetables.

  • Requires little to no expertise and saves your cooking time

Spiralizers are very easy to use, especially if you’re using handheld spiralizers. No need to prepare your cutting board and knives because this machine can do it all for you. If you choose to buy electric spiralizers, you can just insert the food into the tube and turn the machine on and concentrate on your other tasks.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Spiralizer

With all the spiralizers in the market today, it can be quite difficult to choose what’s the best one for you. It’s important to know the right features that a spiralizer must have to make sure that you can have the best experience when using this machine.

Here are the factors that you should consider if you’re going to buy a spiralizer:

  • Price

The price of a spiralizer would differ whether you choose a manual or an electric machine. Manuals would usually cost not more than $30, and an electric spiralizer would not cost more than $100.

  • Ease of Use

The main function of a spiralizer is to make sure that your work will get done as easy and as fast as possible. When choosing a spiralizer, you should check the manual first so that you’ll know how to use the machine properly. This will give you an idea if you find it easy or hard to use.

  • Storage

Handheld spiralizers are often easy to store if you’re not using it and can be easily moved around in your kitchen. For electric spiralizers, however, it’s often difficult to store because it can be quite heavy and it usually has suction cups on the bottom.

  • Quality of Results

When trying out a spiralizer, it’s important to make sure that you get the quality results that you want. Some spiralizers can only give you large cuts of spirals, but more advanced machines usually have a lot of blades included in it, in which you can choose the blade that you want so that you can get the outcome that you need.

  • Durability

Although these spiralizers can be easy on the pocket, it’s still important to know how durable the machine is. Most of the time, spiralizers have years of service life and can still give you the same results. If ever the spiralizer that you buy gets broken, you should immediately contact your supplier and ask a replacement.

  • Ease of Cleaning

A lot of spiralizers today is very easy to clean. Some of them already have cleaning brushes included to easily wipe away your blades without worrying if you’ll get cut. You should also check if the removable parts can be cleaned with a dishwasher, which will even lessen your working time.

Conclusion

Spiralizers are a big use in any kitchen. It can easily help you cut through difficult fruits and vegetables with clean slices and beautiful spirals. With this machine, you can create different types of zoodles with different recipes and vegetables mixed together.

If you’re going to look for a spiralizer, you should always check the factors mentioned above so that you can get the right product from your money.

Vegetable Spiralizer

How to Use a Spiralizer: A Beginner’s Guide

A healthy diet must include three cups of vegetables and fresh fruits depending on the weight of the person. With the advancement of technology, manufacturers are looking for ways to improve our everyday kitchen appliances, and that includes the spiralizer. In this article, you’ll know the different types of this machine and the right steps on how to use a spiralizer.

Among the many challenges that our society is facing today are health problems such as cancer and obesity. With all the fast-food and take-out restaurants today, many people find it time-consuming and unwise to prepare their own food at home. This is where a spiralizer comes in very handy.

Different Types of Spiralizers

There are two types of spiralizers that you can find in the market. Both types have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but choosing between the two of them usually depend on your preference.

Handheld & Hourglass Spiralizers

Handheld spiralizers are often shaped like an hourglass. They are manual spiralizers that would require the user to put in more effort and strength when operating this machine. To use this appliance, you just put your vegetable inside the spiralizer and turn the handle to give you a spiral result.

The Pros

  • Doesn’t take too much counter space
  • Can be easily stored away
  • Affordable

The Cons

  • Requires work
  • Can only be used in vegetables
  • Can waste a lot of leftover vegetables

Tabletop & Electric Spiralizers

Electric spiralizers are often placed on the countertops of the kitchen. This is more popular compared to handheld spiralizers because it’s convenient to use and can give you better results in no time. These machines are mostly high-quality and need more maintenance.

At the bottom of the tabletop spiralizers, you usually find suctions cups to keep them in place. They have a handle or crank so that you can easily feed in your vegetable. Electric spiralizers, however, often have a tube in which you insert your vegetable and you just turn it on.

The Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Produces better-quality spirals
  • Can be used with vegetables or fruits

The Cons

  • Requires more space
  • Costs more compared to handheld spiralizers

How to Use a Spiralizer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Spiralizers are very useful to those people who are not fond of eating huge chunky bits of fruits and vegetables or to those families who are picky eaters. This kitchen appliances cut the products into thin slices—depending on your preference—and will allow you to mix it with your sauces easily.

Here is a four-step guide to using your spiralizer:

  • Choose and prepare the product that you would like to eat. Almost all fruits and vegetables can be used for your spiralizer as long as it can fit into the machine. Make sure that you wash the food in running water and pat it dry.
  • Choose the blade that you would like to use. Your typical spiralizer would often come with three different blades in which they would slice your food in different sizes. Less advanced spiralizers come with a single blade, and the more advanced ones come with more blades. The most common blades are:
    • Spiral blade – Best used for curly fries and if you want your food to have the size of bucatini noodles
    • Noodle blade – Best used if you want spaghetti-like sized noodles
    • Ribbon blade – Best used in veggie salads because it creates delicate spiral ribbons
  • Insert your chosen blade into the machine. Make sure that you follow the usage instructions that came in with your spiralizer when you’re inserting the blade. A lot of advanced models have a slide and lock attachment so that you can easily change your blades. Always make sure that the blade is firmly locked into place before using it and always handle it with care.
  • Put your food in the machine. A lot of spiralizers would need you to slice your product so that it can fit the size of the machine. These spiralizers would usually hold the food either side-to-side or up-and-down position. In these cases, you would need to hold the food in place and push it once the machine starts. For more advanced spiralizers, they would have a put-and-lock feature, which would allow you to spiralize your foods hands-free.

Tips for Using Your Spiralizer

Knowing the different types of spiralizers and how to use it is not enough for you to easily and confidently do it. Therefore, here are five simple tips that you can easily remember the next time you use your spiralizer:

  • Symmetrical foods

Most often than not, spiralizers have a tube in which you can insert your fruit or vegetable. In cases of crooked products, you might want to trim down your food so that it may fit your machine.

  • Size matters

There are times that spiralizers won’t work if the food is not big enough (or too big). Always make sure that if you went out to your next grocery trip, you remember the right size of your spiralizer.

  • Clean and peel your food

It is very important that you always clean the food before spiralizing them because you may ruin its design if you do otherwise. Sometimes, you also need to cut the front side of your food so that you can start with a clean slicing.

  • Always put your food in the center

Not paying attention to where you are putting your food may cause you to have different spirals. For you to have continuous and beautiful spirals, always make sure that you put your food in the center of the spiralizer.

  • Dry the zoodles

Zoodles (or your spiralized food) can get very soggy as soon as you put them in your sauces. Make sure that you pat them dry after spiralizing or sprinkle them with salt while you are doing your prep.

Conclusion

Knowing how to use a spiralizer is important, especially for those who are planning to start having a healthy diet. It is vital to remember the simple steps and tips mentioned above to make sure that you can get the results that you want and, at the same time, maintain the quality of your machine.

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