Shun Blade Shapes & Uses 101: the Paring Knife

From the most multi-purpose to the most specialized, Shun offers you exactly the right knife for every job. At first glance, all those blade shapes and choices might seem confusing. So over the next posts, we'll discuss a number of the key blade shapes, how they're intended to be used, and how using the right knife for the right job can help make cooking easier and better than ever. The #2 must-have knife is the paring knife:

The Basics    The Paring Knife

Next to the chef's knife, the paring knife is the most-used knife in the kitchen. The paring knife gets its name from one of its main tasks: paring. To pare something is to remove some part of it. Most often, this will mean removing the peel or skin from fruit or vegetables.

Before the kitchen peeler came into widespread use, the paring knife was THE tool for the common kitchen task of peeling. (Some cooks still prefer to peel with a paring knife as they feel it gives them more control of the process.) Other uses for your paring knife include removing cores, hulling strawberries, seeding small chilies, and cleaning shrimp.

When peeling, a paring knife is held in your dominant hand with the food being pared in your other hand. The knife's small size provides greater control for this kind of in-hand detail work. Yet paring knives can also be used against a cutting board, for example, when mincing garlic. A smaller knife enables precision cuts when working with smaller product.

The Options      Paring Knife, Bird's Beak & Vegetable Knife

Shun Classic offers two lengths of paring knife: the Shun Classic 3 1/2-inch Paring or the Shun Classic 4-inch Paring. Which one you choose depends on personal preference and, to some extent, the size of your hand.

The Classic line also offers two specialty paring knives. The Shun Classic Bird's Beak has a deeply curved blade and is the best choice for carving foods into decorative shapes or for peeling smaller, rounder foods, such as radishes. We also offer a Shun Classic Vegetable Knife, which has a sheepsfoot-style blade (because it resembles a hoof) and is perfect for making straight cuts against the cutting board, for instance when mincing, ginger or julienning small fruits and vegetables.

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