Good Knives Make Canning Easier

knife rack

Earlier tonight, I drove down to Pumpkin Market (a fabulous little shop that primarily stocks food that is locally farmed, raised, grown and produced) and picked up 100 pounds of roma tomatoes. I have a four-day weekend coming up and am going to be spending most of that time applying myself to these tomatoes.

The bulk will be canned whole, but there’s also quite a lot of chopping for salsa, slicing for dehydrating and dicing for pint canning in my future. In preparation for this canning marathon, I’m gathering jars, restocking my lid supply and making sure my go-to knives are sharp.

salsa prep

I believe that knives are the unsung heros of the home canning kitchen. When I talk canning equipment, I always mention funnels, jar lifters and sturdy stock pots, frequently failing to mention the paring and chef’s knives that make it all possible. Thing is, having good, sharp cutlery makes an incredible difference in your canning experience, as well as the quality of the product you produce.

As you can see from the picture at the top of this post, I’m a fan of knives and I have a wide variety. I particularly love a good paring knife and up until recently, my favorite one was that orange-handled Messermeister one you see next to the black-handled shears. It cost about $6, held an edge nicely and was easy to spot in a sink of dirty dishes. But then, some new knives entered my life.

grape tomatoes

Back in June, while I was up in New York attending the Fancy Food Show, I met a representative from CUTCO at the Food Fete. I told her about the volume of canning I do and she thought I should try their knives. Soon after, she sent me their Kitchen Classics Set*. It includes a slender chef knife, a trimmer (it’s become my go-to knife for separating melons from their rind) and a compact paring knife.

Before trying these knives, I’d always been a little bit scornful of CUTCO products. Mostly, it was an aesthetic thing. I thought those molded plastic handles were kind of ugly. But having spend some time with them, I am now a total convert. They are so light and comfortable to hold. I find that they are now the knives I reach for first.

Photo courtesy of CUTCO

The folks at CUTCO have been nice enough to offer one of my readers that same Kitchen Classics set they sent me. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite knife (paring? chef? Santoku?). All entries must be received by Saturday, September 4, 2010 by 11:59 p.m. After that time, comments will be closed. I’ll do my best to post the winner promptly.

*Disclosure! They sent it to me at no cost, in the hopes that I’d use it and review it. However, I only talk about the stuff I truly like, so had these knives been lackluster, I wouldn’t be raving about them here.

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407 Responses to Good Knives Make Canning Easier

  1. 401
    Troy Adams says:

    Ok, weird to admit, but my favorite knife has come to be….

    A Cutco serrated bread knife. Which I didn’t really want because it was so expensive, but I bought it from a friend’s kid who was trying to make some money for college. I use it for slicing most things that need slicing, including (today) a bucket of tomatoes I’m drying and the shallots that were in our dinner. I pull it out for carving chicken, slicing bread (which is what I originally bought it for) and lots of other things. I love it so much that for quite a while I’ve been considering buying one or two more of their knives. Especially since my son managed to break the handle of my spare chef’s knife.

  2. 402
    leah says:

    I like a good paring knife myself

  3. 403
    Suzie says:

    I don’t have a favorite knife yet, because I don’t have any good ones. So winning great knives would be very helpful! :)

  4. 404
    susan says:

    I don’t have very good knives because I’m a cheapskate, but I’m trying to talk myself into buying a Santuko knife because I’ve heard how great they are. I always reach for a little paring knife, so I suppose that’s my favorite for now.

  5. 405
    Shelli says:

    I have been married for 15 years and my favorite go to knife is a serrated steak knife we got as a wedding gift. I would love to try something different that really makes food prep easier.

  6. 406
    Hazel says:

    I only own knives I’ve purchased at thrift stores, and I’ve managed to land some good ones. My old standbys are a bread knife that I use for tomatoes & bread, a chef’s knife that could use a good sharpening, and a little miraculous paring knife.

  7. 407
    Joan says:

    I have a Wüsthof chef’s knife that I bought for 100.00 but I always seem to reach for a Hampton Forge set that seems to stay sharper even though I sharpen both myself…go figure