Can't seem to cut onions properly.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by onepiece, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. onepiece

    onepiece

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I use onions in a lot of the food I cook, mainly because they versatile, and they are quite cheap.  But to make the cut from the flower end towards the root end, I can't use proper techinque.  I first slice the onion in half, cutting the root end in half, then I chop off the flower end.  Once finished peeling off the skin, I go to make horizontal slices from the flower end towards the root end.  But while trying to do this, I can't seem to get the knife through the halfway point of the onion.  I can make the cut by putting my left hand (guide hand) behind the onion with my fingers pusing on the back of the blade.  Doing this works, and the onions dices come out right, but I don't think it is correct technique, and it is sort of dangerous.  If I apply to much force and go through the onion, it will hit my wrist. 
     
  2. gunnar

    gunnar

    Messages:
    1,447
    Likes Received:
    47
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    sounds like a dull knife to be honest. If you are going to do it two handed place your off hand over the back of the the knife near the tip, place the tip where you want to cut and with both hands push down, like cutting through winter squash. any time you make a stabbing motion like you describing you are definitely increasing your chance of a nasty cut.
     
  3. onepiece

    onepiece

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    The Forschner knife was recently purchased, and seems odd it couldn't go through when quite new.   
     
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Qustion: How many mass-produced knives are sharp out of the box.

    Answer: At last count (altogether, guys), zero, nada, none, zip.

    That might be your problem.

    Also, when you make your horizontal cuts, are you drawing the knife, or just pressing it into the onions?
     
  5. onepiece

    onepiece

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    So I need to in a whetstone and sharpen it, correct?
     
  6. chefbuba

    chefbuba

    Messages:
    2,238
    Likes Received:
    516
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Correct, Or take your knives out to get them sharpened.
     
  7. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
        If you have to force the knife, you need to sharpen it.  It shouldn't take any ridiculous stones to get a good edge...but it will take a good jig or good technique.  You should be able to achieve adequate sharpness even with a combo stone.  Now, to get crazy sharp requires a few more stones...
     
  8. chutney

    chutney

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Taking your knife out to sharpen is your cheapest way to a sharp knife(less than $5.)  When you set your self up to sharpen knives, you not only have to buy the equipment, but you have to learn the skills to sharpen. Also, the first time you take your knife to be sharpened you will learn what a sharp knife is like. So when you do start to sharpen your own, you will have a reference for sharp.  Buying a steel (or hone) should be done when you get your knife sharpened because you need to maintain the edge of your sharp knife.  I like my ceramic rod hone that looks like a steel better than a "real" steel.  

    When slicing onion your guide hand should be on top of onion(the hand in the claw position.)  The knife is drawn through the onion parallel to cutting board. Start cuts at the bottom and work your way up.  Then you make the down cuts from the back of onion to front cutting in line with the root. Again use your guide hand as a claw to help hold everything together. Next you hold onion with guide hand in a claw hold onion together. The final cuts are at a 90 degree angle to the first cuts. You start with the tip of your knife and slice through the onion in a forward, downward motion using your knuckle to position the knife on the onion.

    The sharper your knife the less you will smell the onion as you are slicing through it and not ripping through it bruising and tearing.

    KY--I bought some Shun Pure Komachi2s and they were sharp out of the package. Also little knives--both zyliss and kuhn make sharp out of box paring knives and they come with a guard so I can keep knife in my pocket and have it for the little things at work.
     
  9. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    160
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Very true, it may be the cheapest, whether it is the best for you or the knife is another question entirely! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif

    As with any other craft, there are all degrees of competence when dealing with knife sharpeners and, IMHO, it is often a case of you get what you pay for!
     
     
  10. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    So, Chutney, I stand corrected.

    Q: How many production knives are sharp out of the box?

    A: Damned few
     
  11. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    160
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Ah, maybe you phrased the question incorrectly?/img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gif"How many production knives are sharper out of the box than the box opener is used to?" /img/vbsmilies/smilies/talker.gif
     
     
  12. mikez

    mikez

    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    It is probably a dull make sure you are still using a sort of slicing technique when doing the horizontal cuts and not trying to just push through it or it will halt. Forschner knives are pretty decent, even out of the box but after a few months they defiantly need at least a honing or even a sharpening espically if you use it often..
     
  13. onepiece

    onepiece

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I live in an area of people who don't care for great food.  There are  probably 15-20 under $10 all you can eat chinese food places in a 30 mile radius (But doesn't mean I don't enjoy them).  I don't think there are any high end resturaunts near where I live.  So I don't think there are any people who sharpen knives in my area.    I did come across this and it seemed to be recommend on here:
    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/norto...ombination-oilstone-sharpening-station-p15312

    I understand that it isn't something I will probably be good at right away, but is something I do wish to learn. 

    It says the stone comes with instructions, any idea if that would be good instructions on how to sharpen the knife?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  14. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,822
    Likes Received:
    390
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    There are two ways to do it.  First of all you're not cutting off the root end right?  That keeps the onion together.  You can have the root end facing toward you and use the back part of the knife to do your slices or you can have the root end away from you and use the front part of the knife. 

    Hmm.. maybe this will be my next video.
     
  15. chutney

    chutney

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    If you want to learn how to sharpen that is a good stone to start.  Lots of info on the net about sharpening and knife care.  Certainly learning to sharpen is the way to go.  Your knife is a good basic knife. Good luck.

    I live in an area that is close(30 miles) to a big city, but we are less than 25,000 and we have all kinds of people who will sharpen your knives.  We have one guy who sharpens out of a made over short school bus, a local chef shop, small hardware stores and a place in the big city that would sharpen my knives for a $1.00 each--because we rent our knives from them at work.  I don't often go to the city two days in a roll(one day drop off--pick up next), but they are good and if I lived there I would only sharpen when I absolutely had to and let them do it the rest of the times.  
     
  16. butzy

    butzy

    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    437
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    I've quite recently started sharpening and to me it seemed more intimidating than it actually is.

    Get yourself a stone (I started with an old cheap stone from a hardware shop before upgrading) and watch some of the video's on the internet.

    I found the ones at chefknivestogo very helpful and that's the method I'm using (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knife-sharpening-tutorials.html)

    Note that i'm in no way in the league of some of the people on this forum, but I seem to get by and my knives are now sharper than they ever were (and they were already sharp in comparison with most of my friends knives)

    Good luck
     
  17. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    "How many production knives are sharper out of the box than the box opener is used to?" [​IMG]

    That's exactly what I was implying, Pete. Was I being too subtle?

    The thing is, it isn't just newbies who consider out-of-the-box knives to be sharp. Most of the non-professionals I know have kitchen knives that will cut butter on any August day. So to them a new knife isseems exceedingly sharp. And they go ape when they show me their new knife and I say something like, "nice choice. Now let's get that on a stone and sharpen it."

    The basic lession many people need to learn is this: If you're doing the work, the knife isn't sharp enough. The knife should do the work while you guide it.

    And something I stress over and over, particularly to my students: The most dangerous tool in the kitchen is a dull knife.
     
  18. onepiece

    onepiece

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Thanks for the videos.  The instructions that come with the stone should also be good, right?  I would probably be using the oil included, is oil good for knife sharpening.  Super nervous about sharpening the knife,  don't want to mess the knife up and make it duller than when I got it brand new.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    OnePiece, why don't you go buy a cheap knife at a big box store and use that to practice on? If you mess it up, while learning, you haven't lost anything.
     
  20. phreon

    phreon

    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    FWIW,

    I have a few cheap-o knives that are significantly more difficult to sharpen than my better ones. Beware that learning to sharpen on a turd of a knife could be frustrating.

    Doug
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011