Get off my damn knife!
October 26, 2008 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Why do the slices stick to the side of my chef's knife when I'm slicing apples and such? Is there anything I can do to stop it? It doesn't seem to happen to the TV chefs.
posted by smackfu to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Some knives have grooves on the blade (called Kullenschliff or Granton grooves), which will keep food from sticking to the blade.
posted by amarynth at 7:07 PM on October 26, 2008

Yeah, a lot of times it doesn't happen to TV chefs because of the type of knife that they use. Get a cheap Victorinox / Forschner santoku-style knife at your nearest restaurant supply store (about twenty or thirty bucks); it will have grantons that will keep your potatoes/apples/etc. from sticking.
posted by rossination at 7:25 PM on October 26, 2008

I have seen some spray the knife with non-stick spray such as Pam.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:27 PM on October 26, 2008

It depends on the knife. I spent 15 years cooking professionally, and this was a common occurrence with a lot of things - apples, squashes, carrots - any kind of fruit or vegetable that is somewhat "wet" will do this. All my chef knives from back then had standard blades, the only knife I ever had while I was a professional cook that had the granton edge was a very long and thin bladed slicing knife. I still have the scar on my right ring finger from where I took off a hunk of skin with it too. Very sharp, that knife.

Recently, however, Mrs ralan and I got this Santoku knife as a present, and it has the granton-style blade. I love that knife, partly because things don't really stick to it like they do with my other chef knives. If you can find one of those knives with a granton-style blade, that might solve the problem for you. I wish I would have had one back when I was still cooking for a living.

On preview, what rossination said.
posted by ralan at 7:41 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

J.P. Penny has cheap but decent Santoku knives. They have a big sale about twice per year where they just give the things away. Buy like an 11 incher...

It's big but there is nothing like it.
posted by Jfalways at 8:11 PM on October 26, 2008

Best answer: The movement you use affects this greatly. Take your apple in your left hand, knife in the right, then slice down and pull the knife slightly towards you as you push the apple slightly to the right to position it for the next stroke. Practice this with something simpler like a carrot and go for speed. The drawing back toward yourself is critical to keeping the slice from sticking, or at least from piling up over the top and then falling over and off the cutting board. Alternatively, you can push the knife slightly forward with each stroke. The key is to not let the slices build up under one another and the combination of the downward and fore/aft movement tends to peel the slice off of the blade. I do the pushing forward movement, but I think the pulling back movement is easier. You can give the knife a little twist to the right also to help unload the slice from the blade. Pushing the food and keeping the blade in place is also important. A sharp knife makes a difference, and of course a few kerfs don't hurt.
posted by caddis at 8:21 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

What caddis said.

Once you get the stroke going smoothly you can thinly slice a whole cucumber or bunch of scallions without stopping once. The new slice pushes the last one off.

(What's a kerf? You don't mean this?)
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:36 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

By kerf (a word I have quite abused and please just forget I ever wrote it) I meant those little hollow indentations along the side of the blade which reduce the surface area against which the slices can adhere. Sorry about that.
posted by caddis at 9:06 PM on October 26, 2008

One more vote for slicing down & toward yourself.

When you get this down right, only the very tip of the knife is slicing through the last bit of the fruit/vegetable/whatever. Something to do with the knife & the food sharing some kind of surface tension - if you minimise the amount of knife in contact with the food when cut is finished, it's less likely to want to stick together. I guess the grooves on a granton edge break that surface tension up a bit which is why they're less likely to stick when more of the knife in contact.

Like ralan, I only really notice this myself with particularly "wet" type foods. I'm also planning on getting a Santoku, but was going to try a blade with a granton edge vs. one made with layered steel to see if it made any difference with these kinds of items.

Changing how you use an existing knife is cheaper than buying a new one though...
posted by MatJ at 1:14 AM on October 27, 2008

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