Japanese knives are known to offer thinner, better sharpness and edge retention. This means that they offer an improved cutting performance. They are also quite versatile, allowing you to use them with meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruits.
But, even with its incredibly rated cutting abilities, a Japanese knife cannot cut everything. Let’s find out here just what exactly not to cut with Japanese knives.
What Japanese Knives Can Cut and Can Not?
You can use a Japanese knife to cut most food types, from meat, poultry, and fish to vegetables and fruits. However, you should never use a Japanese knife to cut foods considered tough due to their thinner and more delicate blades.
You cannot use a Japanese knife to cut bones, even smaller bones. Moreover, a Japanese knife should not be used to cut frozen foods, hard-skinned vegetables, or shelf fish (particularly the shell).
What Makes Japanese Knives So Special?
Japanese knives stand out for their overall refined build. They feature thinner and harder blades that hold their edge much longer.
The thin and hard nature of their blades makes them sharper and easier to cut with. Additionally, Japanese knives feel much lighter and balanced in hand when using them.
Why Are Japanese Knives Curved?
The curved nature of Japanese knife blades helps to enhance their functionality. The curved edge enhances the length of the knife when compared to a regular straight-edge knife.
The blade design facilitates cutting with longer strokes, making such tasks smoother. A curved Japanese knife also comes in handy when making thin and delicate slicing, like preparing sushi and sashimi.
Do Japanese Knives Rust?
Like European knives, some Japanese knives may be susceptible to rust, depending on the material. For example, knives made from carbon steel tend to be more susceptible to rust than those made from stainless steel.
So, when in contact with water or acidic foods over time, a carbon steel Japanese knife can easily rust. However, stainless steel boasts anti-rust properties.
Are Japanese Knives Easy to Sharpen?
Japanese knives are pretty easy to sharpen to a finer angle once you master the angle and technique. As a beginner, you also want to put in some practice. Furthermore, most Japanese knives feature carbon steel blades, considered quite easy to sharpen.
Are Single or Double Edge Japanese Knives Better?
Many cooks prefer single-edge Japanese knives to their double-edge counterparts. A single-edge Japanese knife features an extremely sharp blade, improving its cutting ability.
When it comes to resharpening the knife, a single edge makes it a lot easier to do so. Additionally, since you only hone a single-edge knife on one side, you can easily create a sharper angle.
Is a Japanese Knife Ideal for Cutting Through Bones?
A Japanese knife is not ideal for cutting bones. You are not even advised to use knives, like gyuto or nakiri on small bones.
A Japanese knife typically boasts a thin and delicate blade that easily cracks or chips when used on tough food items. Replacing or repairing a Japanese knife blade is pretty expensive too.
Are Japanese or German Knives Better?
Whether a Japanese or German knife is better depends on your needs. German knives feature robust construction, making them best to handle hefty jobs.
You can even use them to cut bones and joints. On the other hand, a Japanese knife works best for those who seek precision cutting and chopping. Their thinner blades allow you to achieve finer and more delicate cuts.
Best Way to Store a Japanese Knife
You can store a Japanese knife in a knife block, although a knife drawer or rack also works well. Due to their delicate nature, you don’t want to mix Japanese knives with other utensils. This is because you may risk chipping or cracking their blades.
Additionally, as soon as you are done washing the knife, wipe it dry and store it away. You don’t want to leave it on the dish drainer wet and increase the possibility of rust formation.
Are Japanese Knives Worth Buying?
Japanese knives are certainly worth buying. Their design doesn’t only improve their functionality. It also makes them more comfortable to use.
A Japanese knife gives you a sharper blade and longer-lasting blade. Plus, it feels lighter and balanced for the hand, great for both beginners and seasoned cooks alike.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Japanese Knives
Here are the 3 top-rated Japanese knives on the market;
Mac Professional 8-inch Chef Knife
The Mac Professional 8-inch Chef Knife integrates a pretty versatile fabrication to handle various food items. Fitted with a 2.5mm blade, the Japan-made knife produces thin and delicate cuts. You can use it on meat, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
Additionally, the blade has dimpled patterns towards the edge for a more distinctive look and to boost its functionality. The added dimples allow the knife to glide smoothly through food.
It even produces clean cuts with no food sticking on items such as summer squash and apples. The knife also features a lightweight Pakkawood handle for superior grip and cutting comfort.
Shun Premier 5.5-inch Santoku Knife
An elevated Japanese version of a European kitchen knife, the Shun Premier 5.5-inch Santoku Knife brings magic to the kitchen. The all-purpose knife allows you to cut, slice, chop, dice, and mince. You can use it on meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and even nuts. The knife is particularly favored for its somewhat shorter blade as it promotes better handling.
This knife’s size also makes it great for beginner cooks and professional chefs alike. Plus, the shorter knife blade makes it significantly lighter.
Nonetheless, you will be more impressed with its VG-Max super steel blade technology which makes it stronger, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Its beautiful tsuchime blade patterns and walnut Pakkawood handle also enhance its appearance.
Global 7-inch Vegetable Knife
The Global 7-inch Vegetable Knife features an authentic nakiri knife design that transforms your vegetable cutting experience. The all stainless steel knife features a precisely balanced fabrication which promotes smoother slicing and chopping of vegetables.
The use of its high-tech molybdenum and vanadium stainless steel blade reinforces its qualities even further. The blade is ultra sharper and resistant to stains and rust.
Moreover, its durable design promotes a longer-lasting edge and razor sharpness. On the other end of the knife is the stainless steel molded handle. The handle features a dimpled finish to improve grip and comfort.
Undoubtedly, Japanese knives improve your food preparation experience for the better. Their thin and hard blades boost their sharpness and allow them to retain their edge much longer.
Plus, their light blade makes it easier to handle and balance them. Nonetheless, to truly enjoy these qualities, you must figure out what to cut and what not to cut with Japanese knives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What materials should not be cut with a knife?
For optimal performance and longevity, refrain from using your knife on hard materials such as glass, marble, granite, and ceramic. As someone who once made the mistake of chopping veggies straight on a ceramic plate, I can confirm that these materials can quickly degrade the sharp edge of your knife. The heart of the matter is, these materials are tougher than steel and can, therefore, leave your knife edge dull and ineffective. Personal experience taught me a simple slice on a marble cheese board or a ceramic dinner plate could potentially damage your cherished kitchen tool. So, protect your investment and opt instead for a traditional wooden or plastic cutting board.
What is the number one rule for sharp knife?
From my own journey in the kitchen, one safety rule always stands above the rest: **Cut Away From You.** This rule is derived from the understanding that accidents in the kitchen can happen, and we always want to minimize personal injury should the knife slip or stick unexpectedly. Mirroring my personal experience and expert advice, adhere to this rule not just when cutting but also during the sharpening process. It’s a simple yet crucial step to safeguarding yourself against potential mishaps.
What is the best Japanese knife to start with?
If you are a novice stepping into the world of Japanese cutlery, I wholeheartedly recommend beginning with Moritaka’s Gyuto 210mm. The virtue of this knife is its versatility; having been a beginner once myself, I found its size, between 210mm-240mm, to be ideal – neither discomfortingly large nor inconveniently small. Essentially, the Gyuto 210mm was the backbone of my daily kitchen operations. On the other hand, if preparing vegetables is your primary task, Nakiri 165mm or Nakiri 160mm could be your perfect kitchen-companions. Their designs are particularly tailored for impeccable vegetable slicing – entirely transforming my homemade salads in their day!
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