Shears to most people may imagine them as really big versions of the ubiquitous regular scissors. And it might be quite surprising to know that there is such a thing as a pair of kitchen shears. Not all households or kitchens have them. Next, we may wonder what it is used for in the kitchen. Is a sharp kitchen knife not enough? Interesting topic!
Here’s why you really need a pair of kitchen shears. A pair of Kitchen Shears is a bigger, much more durable kind of scissors designed for tougher food preparation. It is used for safely and efficiently cutting up poultry, meat, fish, and vegetables in a shorter period of time. Its blades can cut up tough parts and cut cleanly through the bones, ligaments, joints, and backbones of these raw food items.
A regular pair of scissors can’t do that. It will most certainly break and could even be too dangerous. You might end up hurting yourself. There are also kitchen shears for vegetables and spices, and can also have extra features for other kitchen uses.
Unlike the regular scissors we find around the house that we use to cut just about anything that we need to cut, most kitchen shears look unmistakably different. Mostly it is asymmetrical, bigger, and rugged looking like most garden shears. And there’s a logical design reason for that. We will take up those differences in more detail a little later.
Using a pair of kitchen shears for preparing food in the kitchen may be a regular thing kitchen aficionados have been doing. They know a lot of stuff about almost anything that has to do with cooking, food, kitchen utensils, and whatnot. A lot of us may not even know there is such a pair of scissors, the kitchen shears, specifically for food preparation in the kitchen.
A pair of kitchen shears is an essential kitchen tool that you must have for preparing food. Cutting up raw, whole chicken, for example, is much easier, safer, quicker, and efficient to carry out with a pair of kitchen shears.
It is designed to easily cut up the meat, the bones and cartilages, and the backbone neatly and safely and in less time, without messing it up. It is generally used not only for poultry but also to prepare meat or beef and pork, with or without bones, fish and the bony species. There are also smaller kitchen shears for vegetables, herbs, and spices. Kitchen shears are also classified into three categories: multi-purpose kitchen shears, poultry kitchen shears, and herbs kitchen shears.
The Main Difference Between a Pair of Scissors and a Pair of Kitchen Shears
Kitchen shears come in a variety of sizes, shapes, design, extra features, and construction. More importantly, the type of food item it is designed to cut, or its use and purpose, carries a lot of weight resulting in its interesting and fascinating shape and look. So, it can turn out looking unmistakably different in comparison with the regular scissors. On the other hand, those considerations make some kithcen shears look quite similar to the regular pair of scissors.
When Buying a Pair of Kitchen Shears, Two Things You Need to Check
When checking out the first pair of kitchen shears you are buying for your kitchen, get the best one you can afford. Look for one that is sharp, balanced, and made of the best and durable materials. Handle it and go through the motions of using it. Check if it is easy to open and close the blades, and that the weight is just right for you.
CHECK THE BLADES: Choose the kitchen shears with one of its blades having notches to handle or lock on bones. The notches allow you to have a firmer grip on the bone to cut it easily. An additional feature to look for is a lock that will keep the blades closed safely when not in use.
CHECK THE HANDLES: Check if the handles fit your hands comfortably. Settle on a pair of kitchen shears that fits your hand just right for optimum strength and control. So do not get one that is too small for your hand. Choose a pair that is lined with textured plastic or rubber for firmer grip when cutting through tough parts, bones, and ligaments.
To keep your kitchen shears in its best condition, follow the advice below:
PROPER STORAGE: To maintain your kitchen shears in working condition for a long time, storing it properly is a must. When not in use, put the protective cover it came with when you bought it. If it gets lost or damaged, use a piece of cloth or covering material to wrap it and protect the blades. Alternatively, you can park it in a suitable knife block.
CLEANING: Never place the kitchen shears in the dishwasher for cleaning, even if the instruction manual or label says that you could. A much better way to clean and maintain it is by cleaning it manually. Wipe it clean and dry using a highly-absorbent material like a pad of microfiber.
MAINTENANCE: Over time of usage, check if it is time to sharpen the blades. Either use a honing steel, if you have one, or let a professional do it for you.
More Options Than Just a Set of Knives
A set of knives is an essential tool to have in the kitchen. To invest in one is good as knives are one of the main kitchen and food preparation utensils to use for cutting and slicing. But over time, knives can become dull, and even though they can be sharpened back to be useful, it should be an opportunity to rethink other options for cutting and slicing tasks.
Transfer some of the load of cutting, if possible, to your kitchen shears as they are made for more challenging and powerful cutting demands. They are designed and built to handle rugged use, and its flexibility widens its range of applications.
Keep in mind that having options is better than being limited to one way of doing a thing.
Types of Kitchen Shears
Therefore, you will see many kitchen shears designed for a specific purpose, in appropriate blade materials, different handle shapes, and sizes. A lot of times, the kitchen shears are added with helpful features for kitchen and food preparation. Examples are jar openers, bottle openers, screw cap openers, screwdrivers, nutcrackers, and shellfish crackers.
Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears
The blades are made of professional-grade carbon steel that is usually coated with stainless steel, nickel, or chrome as protection against rust. There are also blades made of stainless steel, though they are difficult to sharpen and so tend to be less sharp as compared with carbon steel. Handles come in either steel or coated with silicone or polypropylene for comfort and better grip.
Other features that may be included are the following:
- Pivot screws that may be adjusted to control tension; that is, either tight or loose.
- The shank that extends into the handle that provides balance and keeps the handle from breaking.
- Serrated blade edges to provide better grip in handling foods that are slippery
- Offset blade for cutting foods at an angle.
Poultry Kitchen Shears
The kitchen shears designed for cutting poultry is easy to identify. It has a crescent-shaped curvature that makes it better at cutting whole chickens and turkeys. Aside from cutting up poultry, this kind of kitchen shears is also used to remove scales and cut off fins from fish. It is also suitable for stripping fat off meat.
When it comes to cutting up meat, kitchen shears tend to almost tear it apart, which is not good. So, some kitchen shears are intentionally made with blunt tips to prevent or at least minimize it. Mosts kitchen shears, regardless of type, have handles and blades available in various types.
Herb Kitchen Shears
A pair of herb kitchen shears is recommended for cutting herbs without losing its aromatic and flavorful oils. Herb kitchen shears are available in several variants: single-blade, double-blade, and multi-blade.
The blades of the single-blade herb shears are shorter and smaller than most kitchen shears, usually with serrated metal blade for cutting with precision. Multi-blade herb shears, on the other hand, can cut or slice through fresh herbs faster. Thus, it needs to be cleaned and washed after every use because pieces of herbs can get stuck in between the blades.
Herb kitchen snip is actually a pair of scissors used for quickly cutting herbs and in smaller pieces. They resemble a pair of small, regular scissors, but used mostly for herbs. One should use an herb snip instead of a knife for cutting herbs because the chances of hurting your hand or fingers are way much lower.
What Makes the Kitchen Shears Different from the Regular Scissors?
Kitchen Shears are scissors specifically designed for use in the kitchen. Although a few types or variations may look a bit more like regular scissors, many others are unmistakably kitchen shears.
Like most other shears you may have seen, kitchen shears do not look like regular scissors. While regular scissors are mostly symmetrical in shape, the kitchen shears are asymmetrical, as most other shears usually are. It is based on its specific use and functionality.
- Designed for kitchen use, kitchen shears are used to cut up poultry, meat, and fish, which have bones, ligaments, and scales that regular scissors cannot cut.
- A pair of kitchen shears may have handles with rubber cover, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, and a screwdriver in its handles. It can have other features as well.
- Mostly, they can be dismantled by loosening the screws for easier cleaning.
- They can be cleaned and washed in the dishwasher, and some cannot.
- There are kitchen shears designed in such a manner that both left and right-handed users can handle them. They are called ambidextrous kitchen shears.
- Using kitchen shears instead of the kitchen knife and a cutting board may be more efficient and faster such as in the following:
- Trimming off fish fins
- Scraping off or removing fish scales
- Cutting up bacon or ham into smaller pieces
- Trimming away the excess fat of meats
- Fold lettuce or cabbage into rolls and snip them into a bowl
- Vegetables may sometimes seem easy to cut, but try doing it to a bunch of veggies, and you may find it kind of challenging. Using kitchen shears will be faster and more comfortable in your hands.
- Kitchen shears can easily cut herbs into smaller pieces. You can snip them using kitchen shears instead of mincing them with a knife on a cutting board
- Artichokes are big and beautiful vegetables, and just a small part of it is actually eaten. Using kitchen shears to cut away the inedible and tough parts and leaves is much easier and quicker than to use a knife.
Four Other Uses of the Kitchen Shears with Its Added Features
A pair of kitchen shears does much more than its primary use. Some designs have features that can do other things making it sort of like a Swiss Army knife. It is, in a sense, a multi-purpose tool in spite of its undeniably “knife” or “shear” appearance.
Have a look at some of the extra and cool features of the kitchen shears
Taking off Jar Lids and Screw Caps
Taking off the caps of some jars, bottles, and containers may be a bit challenging because you surely don’t want to hurt your hands. You also don’t want to break the container either, or accidentally spill out the contents. There are kitchen shears with extra features to handle those things.
Cracking Nuts and Shells Open
A pair of kitchen shears with a round-toothed gripper on its two blades can be used to crack open hard-shelled nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and other hard-shelled nuts. Seafood delicacies like lobsters, crabs, and crayfish can be cracked open easily by using kitchen shears. It is also used for turning bottle caps and other kinds of smaller caps open.
Bottles have different caps or lids as covers and may not be that easy to open. A feature in some kitchen shears, a cap opener, is just right for this job.
Using the Screwdriver
A feature in many kitchen shears is the built-in screwdriver. There may be other screwdrivers in the household that can do an equally good job or a much better one. And yes, you have a toolbox full of different sizes and types of screwdrivers to cover every kind of need for one. But when working in the kitchen, the kitchen shears are just the one readily accessible.
Another situation where it is needed in the kitchen is when the cabinet pulls or handles become loose. A pair of kitchen shears’ built-in screwdriver can easily do it.
Why a Pair of Kitchen Shears Can Be Disassembled
Kitchen shears are designed to be easily taken apart and assembled back for use with the hardware tightly and securely in place. These are the reasons it requires disassembling.
It cuts raw foodstuff like meat or beef, pork, fish, tough kinds of seafood and poultry. Chicken meat, most especially, is prone to salmonella which when contaminated will be dangerous and unfit to be eaten. Therefore, taking them apart will ensure all its parts, down to the smallest ones, are cleaned thoroughly.
That includes the parts that soap and water might not reach and efficiently clean. These parts, when not taken apart, are close together and inaccessible to be washed and rubbed clean by hand or the fingers. Moreover, each part of the disassembled kitchen shears dries quickly than when it is assembled.
Other Unorthodox Ways or Hacks to Use Kitchen Shears
Blame it or credit it to man’s curiosity and creativity to think up other ways of using a gadget, or a tool, other than its normal use. What it is designed for, in other words. It may be unorthodox, or even unusual, but if it really works and quite easy to do, why not.
There is nothing wrong with it, provided someone doing that would not hurt himself and others, and that it would not break the tool itself, or damage it that it would be totally useless or inoperable.
An example is the use of a pair of kitchen shears other than what it is actually invented for: to easily cut into desired pieces poultry, meat, and fish right up to its bones, ligaments, and other hard parts to cut. It would be a losing battle to try to do it with a regular knife or an ordinary pair of scissors. Conversely, it could also be useless and much too dangerous to try to use the kitchen shears to force open a jammed door lock or an apparatus that runs on electricity.
Having put those thoughts aside, let us quickly go over some hacks the kitchen shears will be good at:
- To cut open the plastic packaging of food and non-food items. The blister packaging is an example. Be careful when doing this and make a small cut and try to peek inside and decide how deep a cut you can make. You don’t want to damage the contents.
- Who says a pair of kitchen shears can only be useful in the kitchen? Try dining in one of your favorite Korean restaurants and order a Korean barbeque. Witness how deftly the cook, with complete showmanship and panache, wields the kitchen shears as one of his tools to cook up the meat, and to do it in an entertaining and surprising way. How can you top that? It helps that most kitchen shears look appealing and eye-catching because of its unique and interesting shape.
- The sight alone of a pizza can make your mouth water. The generous layers of ingredients can’t fail to grab your attention. The gooey cheese, the pepperonis, salamis, pineapple tidbits, the mushrooms, and the sauce are all flavorful. But they can make slicing and picking up a slice such a challenge. Using kitchen shears will undoubtedly make the slicing so easy like a child’s play, and definitely much neater.
- Do you love eating grapes? Eating a couple can be satisfying. But grabbing some may not be quite difficult because a big bunch of grapes is not that easy to break apart. Well, try using your kitchen shears and snip away until a sizable portion comes off.
Kitchen Shears for Cutting Kinds of Foods Other Than Meat, Poultry, and Fish
Kitchen Shears! By the name alone, it conjures images of really hefty, big, and powerful kind of scissors than the ones we usually see, the regular pair of scissors. And so far, we know that they are specialized pairs of scissors, or shears to be precise, for cutting up meat and poultry, and fish, and even cut through the hard parts like the bones, the ligaments, the tendons, the hard shells and parts.
But there are also kitchen shears, smaller ones, for cutting vegetables. That’s right, vegetables and other edible plants, especially when you need to cut them in bunches. Using vegetable kitchen shears, the cut sizes will be uniform, more or less. It makes it look delicious and attractive as it is nutritious.
Vegetables may seem like easy to cut, but you know what, there is power in numbers. Try to hold together several bunches of vegetables in one hand, and then try to cut them with regular scissors or knife with your good hand. It won’t be that easy. It is exactly what a Chinese parable teaches, where one stick can be easily broken, but take several pieces, and it won’t be that easy.
Cutting vegetables one or two pieces at a time may be okay if there are just a few of them. But if there are a lot, like a big bowl of it, that may prove tedious, inefficient, and time-consuming, not to mention boring. Try to cut a lot of them at the same time, using a regular pair of scissors, and it may start to hurt your hand in no time.
Using kitchen shears to do all that will be way much easier and quicker, and you can move on to do other important things. Using multi-blade kitchen vegetable shears should be the best one to use.
Learning how to use a pair of kitchen shears will pay dividends after a short while. The moment you get the hang of it, think of other ways it can be useful. As we always say, try to use your imagination and think far beyond the obvious. Imagine different ways it can be useful outside of what its regular or intended usage is. Just make sure you don’t hurt yourself.
Here are a few pieces of information to convince yourself.
Chives, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Other Healthy Herbs
Fresh herbs may sometimes need to be cut for certain kinds of cooking, and doing so will be easier with a pair of kitchen shears. Bunch the herbs up and hold them by the stem, then snip away at your desired sizes. You won’t need a cutting board to do this, and just let the cut ones fall into a mixing bowl.
Cooking foods with herbs known for its health benefits can be done more often and a lot more convenient to do with the aid of a pair of kitchen shears.
Spices Loaded with Anti-Oxidants
It is scientifically proven that spices are good sources of anti-oxidants besides providing distinctive flavors and aroma to our food. But preparing them, cutting them up into pieces, can be a challenge and a punishment to your eyes and fingers.
So, use your kitchen shears instead and leave your knife and cutting board in their storage. Hold the spices over a bowl and cut them into desired pieces with a pair of kitchen shears. If possible or called for in the recipe, you may do the same procedure over the pot cooking on the stove. Be certain there is adequate ventilation in the kitchen to avoid hurting your eyes when doing onions.
Green vegetables, especially cruciferous ones like cabbage, may be convenient to cut with a knife and a cutting board. That’s fine when preparing just a bowl for yourself. But preparing one for the family or for a gathering, larger quantities can be more efficiently cut with the kitchen shears. Hold a bunch of them over a bowl, and then cut them into pieces.
Cutting Off the Ends of Green Beans
The ends of a green bean are tough and must be trimmed off for cooking. Although placing a number of them on the cutting board and cutting off the tips on one side and then the other side may not be so hard to do, there is an alternative way. Hold a bunch of them in one hand, all roughly lined up, then cut away the ends with a pair of kitchen shears.
Cooked or Uncooked Pasta Noodles
Sometimes tradition may have to take a backseat and let common sense and practicality take over. When preparing pasta noodles, some folks cut them in half or so to make them easier to handle when cooked. Others prefer to cut the noodles when already cooked and drained, and then cut them up into manageable pieces.
In both scenarios, the logic is that the noodles will have to be eventually cut up into smaller pieces to be properly eaten, and one of the best tools to do it is with your kitchen shears. It will make a cleaner, more consistent size of cuts, will not get stuck on the blades, and so much easier to do. The extra benefit is for kids by making the pasta more manageable to eat and enjoy.
How Not to Get Jalapeño Pepper Smell and Sting On Your Hands and Eyes!
Simple! Remember the adage using a ten-foot pole to touch something icky or dangerous? Jalapeños, when handled clumsily, could have you accidentally smear your hands with its stinging juice. Then you absent-mindedly rubbed your eyes. Disaster!
The pair of kitchen shears is your “ten-foot pole” to cut up or slice into smithereens the jalapeño pepper. Just be mindful not to touch it and instead use a spoon, fork, or tongs to mix it or whatever you want to do with it. Spicy foods and garnish are actually healthy and good for the heart and overall health. This is more reason to add such spicy vegetables in our cooking once in a while, or maybe more often. With a pair of kitchen shears, cutting up vegetables, jalapeños, and other herbs will make cooking up a healthful meal more regular and much easier.