I was cutting some butter nut squash today and some other hard veg. Now my knife is pretty sharp and good at cutting softer veg. However on hard veg it is not that good. I watched a video on you tube and I think it is because the way I have sharpened it is is a good slicer but not so good on hard veg. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good knife to use to cut hard veg with.
What is a good knife to cut hard veg with?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
On a hard squash, it's mostly about the wedging action of the blade rather than the edge. You'll notice it cracks ahead of the blade once you get into it. And strength counts for working the wedge of the blade in this case rather than finesse and technique. The edge is more about starting the cut in this case.
At least that's my perspective.
what's the mystery?
hard squash - aka "winter squash" - are ahhhhh, hummmm, hard. for lack of a better description.
no - don't go there. serrated knives like a bread knife are single sided ground. that will make them steer themselves as they go thru - womping a devious left/right path as they go.
long chef knife, kitchen towel on the point, point down, hold down point with the towel padding, push down on handle end to slice thru.
using a narrow knife, high risk of bending / flexing. a 10-12" chef with a wide blade will not flex itself 'out of control'
and note phatch's caution: the blade may well be "thick" enough that as you "chop down" through the hard squash, you'll experience 'cracking' ahead of the knife penetration.....
if the leading crack happens, be aware that the force need to continue through the cut will abruptly lessen.... so don't go gitting on the high stool and wedge yer whole weight onto the knife.
You'll find a heavier / longer knife to be more effective as you can keep the tip firmly anchored on the board while pressing down instead of 'squeezing' the food out to the side.
On a whim I started removing the skin on my butternut with a vegetable peeler. I had one at home that's notorious for taking huge gouges out of carrots - but it's just perfect for the tough skin on butternut.
Now I find myself reaching for the peeler every time I have to prep bnut. Much faster and less waste too.
It can be dangerous and cut yourself if you don't do it right.
This is a method which works for me for hard squashes, including Kabocha:
A Chinese cleaver, rest a towel on the top spine, aim and rest the edge on the squash, and hit the towel with the other hand. it will go right thru.
Or, microwave the squash until it is a little soft. Don't overdo it, some squashes can explode if you cook it at high power for too long.
Proper technique helps as well.
Instead of trying to cut the whole thing in a single, mighty exertion, it helps if you lay it lengthwise, horizontal to your field of vision, and stab downwards in the center and cut down the top half of the product, then do the same to the other half, using the same starting point but in the opposite direction.
I believe there's a short vid of it out there.
I'll be back...gonna try to find it.