How to Use Kitchen Shears (without Losing a Finger in the Process)

kitchen shears

Many talented cooks just don’t see the use of kitchen shears or understand how to use them. It’s too bad because this humble kitchen tool can enable you to get several chores done with cool efficiency.

Kitchen shears are designed to cut through anything, including bone. In fact, they will quite easily take off a finger if you aren’t careful. For this reason it is important to have a healthy respect for those blades and keep your body parts as far away as possible. Look before you snip, it is all too easy to notch a finger when you are removing the backbone of a chicken.

7 Ways to Use Kitchen Shears

If you are one of those people who has a pair of kitchen shears but doesn’t use them because you figure  your handy Chef’s knife is all you need then you may be in for a surprise. Here are seven ways to use that great kitchen gadget.

Remove the Bones from Poultry

This is probably the use that most people think of when they think of kitchen scissors which is one of the reasons this hand tool has the reputation of being unnecessary. Few people actually do this anymore and that’s too bad. Buying a whole chicken and deboning it yourself is a great way to save money. Watch how it’s done in this video on deboning chicken.

Pizza Crust

I hate using a pizza cutter because I never seem to be able to cut all the way through and the pizza slices end up sticking together in places. When you pull them apart half the cheese slides off and it is a mess. Shears are the way to easily cut pizza into slices. Let it cool a little so that the cheese sets and then simply cut through like it was paper. If you oil the knife a little the cheese won’t stick.

Cutting Vegetables

Cutting broccoli and cauliflower into even florets, snipping the ends off green beans, and trimming artichokes is quick and easy. You can even forego the cutting board and cut right into the pot!

Chopping Herbs

I find chopping herbs with a knife to be difficult sometimes, especially with very leafy varieties like cilantro and parsley. With kitchen shears you can create tiny shavings because you have more control.

Chopping Raw Bacon

Chopping raw bacon for recipes can be a tough, icky job. The bacon shreds, slips, and is generally as difficult to work with as Charlie Sheen. Shears cut right through and make neat, even squares.

Dicing Dried Fruit

The next time you are going to make apricot scones or date nut bread put a little flour on the blades of your kitchen knife and cut. It is so much quicker and easier than using a knife.

Pretty Up a Plate

If you didn’t quite get all of the carrots the same size in your stir fry and you want it to plate up pretty then you can quickly snip the offending vegetables to size.

Caring for Kitchen Scissors

  • Always wipe any residue off the blades immediately after using.
  • Store in a dry place.
  • Oil the screw slot every few months to keep the blades moving smoothly.
  • Hand wash in hot, soapy water when needed. Rinse in very hot water with a teaspoon of bleach added. Dry the shears thoroughly before putting them away.

As with almost any kitchen took it pays to get the best that you can afford. Kitchen shears will last a very long time if you start out with a quality pair and take care of them as recommended.

photo credit: renee.hawk via photopin cc

- Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. Cooking, baking, and recipe development have been a major part of her life since she baked her first loaf of bread at age 13. Luckily, with a husband, eight children, a son in law, and three grandchildren she has enough test-tasters to handle the steady stream of experiments that come from her kitchen.

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