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How and when do you use a paring knife?

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Eamon Burke

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I'm talking paring, NOT petty, or birds beak, or whatever. Just a paring knife. What do you use it to do, and how do you use it?

I used to hate them, and still pretty much do. I use mine, however, for peeling things, cutting things like muffin tops loose from their pan, cutting berries and grapes in half, trimming things when I notice rouge fat/bad spots/eyes/etc, coring apples, scoring fruits. I abuse it to, using it to open containers, stab potatoes, etc. Almost all of this happens in mid air, and I essentially treat a paring knife in a kitchen like my pocket knife.

How do you use a paring knife? And if you don't use one, why not?
 

Mattias504

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I hardly ever use a paring knife. I just find the length not to be enough. I'd rather use a petty for anything a paring knife might do. That being said, I'd rather use a suji than a paring knife.
 

steeley

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Butch made some nice paring knife's a while back. I love a little paring knife for small work.
 

jm2hill

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Gonna have to agree with steeley. I love a paring knife for small work. Every knife set I've ever owned or will own my first two buys will be gyuto and paring. Use it mostly for berries, peeling, and some other delicate fruits. Every once in a while I venture into shaped fruit cutting and it gets used there as well.

But I'll be honest. I abuse the hell out of it. I will occasionally grab it to open mail or will use it to cut things out of pans. something that smalls just needs the abuse.

Now petty's on the other hand. I hardly use mine at all. I really only own it for when other people come over and help cook. Or tomatos. Petty's do my tomato's for me. Every time I use a chef's knife for a tomato it slips and I nick myself. Thats what I get for having a dull blade! Please canada post deliver my j-knives!
 

FryBoy

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Used my Misono Moly 80mm paring knife this morning to peel a ripe peach. I don't think there's a better knife for that particular task.

 

99Limited

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Let's see, I use a paring knife to cap strawberries, score orange rind before I peel them, score the bottom of roma tomatoes when I parboil them prior to peeling. Use to peel asparagus with a paring knife. I also use two of the five I have for opening boxes.
 

EdipisReks

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i have a Robert Herder carbon sheepsfoot parer that i use for avocados, taking the skin off of chicken breasts (a sin, but my girlfriend insists that the skin come off) and scoring the tops of my bread loaves. i have a Shun that is only used by said chicken skin averse girlfriend. the rest were given away long ago.
 

Lefty

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I use my paring knife when I want to use a Sabatier, because I love the company so much! Haha
To be honest, I VERY rarely use one and don't like them at all.
Ever since I got my 120mm FKH petty a while back, I use it almost exclusively for "paring type tasks". The petty has the added benefit of being great on a board for little stuff.
Give me a nice big 150-180mm petty and I can do 85% of any prep I need to do. I love pettys more than anyone, I think and I'm ok with that! Parers on the other hand....
My wife, however uses a paring knife, almost exclusively. For her, it's cultural.
 

EdipisReks

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i like my 6 inch Shun petty enough that i've been thinking about getting a better petty knife (i'm thinking about the 180 Masamoto). it is a handy size for anything not terribly intensive. then again, i love using my Mizuno 270, the Kono 270 and my Shig 240 that any excuse, even cutting an apple, is enough to get one of them out. my GF uses a paring for everything too, because her mother (the quintessential midwestern farmwife who has three good dishes and thus thinks she is god's gift to cooking) does. i've been trying to break her of the habit, with limited success. i have her brother (who works at a cafe) using a 7 inch Tojiro gyuto (that i bought for him this past Christmas), though, so that's a start.
 

JohnnyChance

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Used my Misono Moly 80mm paring knife this morning to peel a ripe peach. I don't think there's a better knife for that particular task.
Why would you need or want to peel a peach?
 

karloevaristo

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stuff that could be done in mid-air... so that I don't have to wash the cutting board... hehe... :D
 

Citizen Snips

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i dont own one nor have any use for one. there is nothing a paring knife can do that a petty cannot. i find the small size hard to work with in my hands and think that it is an unnecessary knife. i do own a birds-beak for my boss who is still stuck in the classic french cuisine and thinks turning vegetables is beautiful.

anyway, i only own 4 knives and dont want anymore!!!
 

stevenStefano

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I use my parer a lot. I only have a Global that I haven't really got round to replacing. I peel quite a lot of potatoes, but I also use mine a lot for quartering mushrooms in my hand. I find mine comes in very handy for many small tasks like cutting blocks of butter and that sort of thing. I also don't like it to be super sharp because then when I peel potatoes I end up with a cut hand
 

apicius9

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I like my parers, probably use the Dojo the most but also have a few old beaters like a Henckels and a few German Windmuehl and Herder parers. When I think about it, it's mostly for fruit and for opening packages, though. Coming to think of it, I do have a parer blade from Butch somewhere that I wanted to put a handle on, I wonder where that is. Clearly too much stuff.

Stefan
 

JohnnyChance

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Ever think about switching to nectarines?

Parers are also good for cleaning the crud out from under your fingernails.
 

azmark

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I don't use my paring knife since I picked up a 4" utility knife. It works great for butterflying birds and quartering them
 

BraisedorStewed

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I hardly ever use a parer but always keep one on my person at work. It most often gets used to open boxes and cryovac bags. The only food related task I use it for much clipping the bottom off of garlic or ramps, things done in-hand.
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

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I'm clearly a gyuto/chefs guy, but my parer is arguably used more. Especially since I got a couple from Pierre! It's my jack-of-all-trades knife, used from food prep to baking (butter/vanilla beans) to household needs (mail anyone?). It should be noted my nice parers don't get used for the latter haha.

BTW, with the exception of tomatoes, I find a petty to be awkward...to each their own!
 

FryBoy

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Ever think about switching to nectarines?

Parers are also good for cleaning the crud out from under your fingernails.
NO! Nectarines are ok, although they have a bit of a funky plum flavor at times. But a good peach -- perfectly ripe, sweet, flavorful, not mealy, not stringy -- is a gift of the gods wrapped in a protective seal of nasty fuzz.
 

UglyJoe

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...is a gift of the gods wrapped in a protective seal of nasty fuzz.
There are just to many places to go with that one.... must.... resist...... temptations.........
 

bieniek

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My basic chefs set is parer and chefs knife. I could propably use just one bigger petty for all-round but why would you call 180mm chefs knife a "petite"?
Cannot peel stuff with it, higher blade makes it hard to operate and crap to handle when you peel a bag of king edwards for example.


That Misono shown earlier looks interesting.
 

jm2hill

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I'm clearly a gyuto/chefs guy, but my parer is arguably used more. Especially since I got a couple from Pierre! It's my jack-of-all-trades knife, used from food prep to baking (butter/vanilla beans) to household needs (mail anyone?). It should be noted my nice parers don't get used for the latter haha.

BTW, with the exception of tomatoes, I find a petty to be awkward...to each their own!
my thoughts exactly. Petty's are for tomato and friends who I don't trust with a gyuto or chef knife.

Parers are for mail... I mean everything else that a gyuto or similar is too big for.
 

WildBoar

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I use the parer for over-the-sink stuff, like hulling strawberries, havling a few cherry tomatoes, etc. My wife is the parer expert in the house, though -- she can kill a moose, gut it, skin it, butcher it and slice it up using only a parer :biggrin:
 

kalaeb

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I use my paring knives for canning season, yes I remove the skin of pears, peaches, apricots... and I make them tasty all winter long. I have tried using pettys for the task, but always go back to using my paring knives. I am able to take less meat with the skin with my paring knives. :hungry2:
 

Cadillac J

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I never used my paring, so I permanently threw it in my work laptop bag and occasionally bust it out to cut fruit on my desk.
 

DwarvenChef

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Only one I have is a is an old Chicago Cutlery Bio Curve perry with a 2" blade. What do I use it for... hell I don't know, but I don't use it enough to have to sharpen it more than once a year or so :p However it fits my hand very well when I do need some thing to cut in both hands. It's my first kitchen knife purchas from to long ago to remember and I'll keep it till it falls apart :)
 
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