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The Must-Have Simplicity of A Paring Knife

The humble paring knife is a must in every kitchen. While some people love a kitchen full of every specialty knife available and others insist on only essentials, there is no getting around the perfect functionality of a paring knife. And since you must have one, enjoy the process of shopping for one and invest in a beauty that will always have its place close at hand. This is your everyday culinary go-to tool. Find one you love.

What Is A Paring Knife?

A paring knife is a small kitchen knife used for the preparation of fruits and vegetables. Paring means to cut away the surface or ends of a piece of produce--which is why it's sometimes called a peeling knife. You may still decide to select a variety of fruit knives for specific tasks, but your parer is your utility tool.

  • The blade of a paring knife is usually about 3 to 4 inches long. Anything longer becomes a chef's knife or utility knife.
  • A bolster in the middle of the knife at the base or heel of the blade protects your fingers while you work with a sharp blade on smaller food items.
  • The handles of paring knives are often triple riveted for longevity and hygiene. A handle with two rivets is also very good.
  • Some of the best cutlers produce the majority of their knives, like chef or bread knives with triple-riveted handles and then give their paring styles only two rivets.
  • Knife handles made of full pieces of wood usually forego rivets in favor of focusing on the grain and grip of the wood.

Selecting Your New Peeling Knife

When selecting your new peeling knife, consider the shape and length of the blade to get the best use out of it. Feel free to choose two types if you prepare a lot of produce or love a good garnish.

  • For cooks who use their knives for handiwork, like peeling cucumbers, hulling strawberries or turning fruit into flowers, choose a shorter blade of 3-1/2 inches.
  • If you plan to use your knife on your cutting board for tasks like trimming asparagus, go with the 4-inch. These longer parers are good for Eastern culinary prep, like slicing paper-thin radishes, too.
  • Many peeling knives have a spear tip. This classic blade style is versatile and easy to use.
  • Sheep's foot knives are the best for chopping quickly. These knives have a flat-bottomed blade that doesn't rock on the board for matchsticking carrots or other veggies.
  • Bird's beak paring knives are good for garnishes, fruit wheels or slices or hulling.

These knives are so handy that you can select singles to add to a set or choose a new style to round out your arsenal. In a minimalist kitchen, they handle a wide variety of tasks for even gourmet home chefs.

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