Knife Skills

Whenever you are going to use a knife, ask an adult to help you. Always make sure your knife is sharp. Sharp knives are safer than dull knives because they cut cleanly and easily. You need to use a lot of pressure to cut with a dull knife, and it is more likely to slip or get stuck in what you are cutting. (You can hurt yourself with sharp knives too, of course, so use them with care.)

Cutting boards
Use a cutting board, made from wood or plastic, every time you cut. Other surfaces may be slippery, or they may dull your knife. To avoid spreading germs, it is best to keep 2 cutting boards, one for fruits and vegetables and one for raw meat, poultry and fish.

Using a knife
Choose a knife that fits comfortably in your hand and does not feel too big. Your hands are much smaller than those of an adult, so you can do the same jobs they do with a smaller tool. Keep these tips in mind when cutting:

  • Hold the knife firmly by the handle. You can extend your index finger along the top or side of the blade to help guide the knife.
  • Hold down the item you are cutting with your other hand, placing the food on a flat side whenever you can. (You can even cut a little slice off a round item if you like.)
  • Curl under the fingers of the hand that is holding the food to keep them safe. You can use your knuckles as a shield to keep the blade from coming too close to your fingertips.
  • Start to cut, always moving the knife away from your body as you do. The recipe will tell you whether to cut crosswise (across) or lengthwise (along the length).