Review: Vegetable Cleavers by America’s Test Kitchen

If you’ve been watching this blog, you know I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen.  They are my go-to for equipment and grocery store food reviews.  Well… this is the newest thing I’ve been thinking about.

Fall is upon us (yay!), and an array of gorgeous gourds will be available soon.  I always struggle with cutting through acorn and butternut squashes.  What to do?  Well, how about the right tool:  a vegetable cleaver?

The winner: MAC 6 1/2" Japanese Style Vegetable Cleaver. Image courtesy of MAC.

The winner: MAC 6 1/2″ Japanese Style Vegetable Cleaver which retails for up to $105. Image courtesy of MAC.

From America’s Test Kitchen (and check out the site to watch the review video!  Totally worth it!!):

Overview:

What the heck is a vegetable cleaver? Rectangular vegetable cleavers, which are traditional in Asia, have a straighter edge that, unlike curving Western-style knives, stays in contact with food as you cut and chop, ostensibly streamlining vegetable prep. Unlike meat cleavers, which have thick, heavy blades and a blunter edge for hacking through bone, vegetable cleavers have thin blades that taper gently to a honed edge, for cleanly slicing vegetables and other, more delicate boneless foods.

There are two basic types of vegetable cleaver. Chinese-style vegetable cleavers (also known as Chinese chef’s knives) look like meat cleavers but are more slender and versatile: besides chopping vegetables and fruits, they’re also used for slicing boneless meats and mincing and crushing aromatics, and they can serve as a broad surface for scooping and transferring chopped food from cutting board to bowl or pan. Japanese-style vegetable cleavers (available either as double-bevel nakiri or single-bevel usuba) are shorter, resemble a squared-off santoku, and are primarily used for cutting vegetables. (According to experts in the field, santoku knives likely evolved from vegetable cleavers.)

We chose seven knives—three Chinese cleavers, three nakiri, and one usuba, priced from $30 to $190—and used them to dice onions, mince parsley, slice potatoes, and quarter butternut squash. Most sliced beautifully. Taller, heavier Chinese cleavers were easier to guide through large vegetables, and we found that their heft did most of the work. But they were too unwieldy for some testers, who preferred smaller, lighter Japanese blades.

Read the rest of the article and see the video, here.

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