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The Harvest Is Coming In. Which Are the Best Knives to Handle the Bounty?

Sweet, juicy peaches. Fresh, crisp greens. Tomatoes that—finally!—taste like tomatoes. Not to mention an abundance of fresh herbs, from delicate basil to hearty thyme. This time of year is heaven for a fresh produce lover. Using the right knives for each kitchen task can make it even more of a pleasure. So we’ve lined up the perfect knives to help you slice, dice, trim, chiffonade and julienne the end-of-summer bounty.

Chef's Knife

Of course, you’ll need a chef’s knife. This all-purpose blade is ideal for almost every cutting task. In addition, chef’s knives generally have a slight or pronounced curve to the blade edge so they can be gently “rocked” through all those summertime fresh herbs to produce a very fine mince. Common blade lengths include 10, 8 and 6 inches. Choose yours to suit your hand and the working space you have on your kitchen counter.

Pairing Knife

Think of it as the mini version of the chef’s knife. It gets its name from its main function—removing or “paring” away things like peels or pits from fruits and vegetables. It’s perfect for peeling, coring, trimming, decorating and other detail work. Generally, this knife is used in the hand rather than against a cutting board, though paring knives can also be used for preparing small foods, such as garlic cloves fresh from the farmers market, on a cutting board.

This shape is unique to Shun and our parent company, Kai. The cutting edge has wide serrations that make it the perfect match for the delicate skin of the tomatoes that are coming in right now. The wide blade and rounded tip mean it’s easy to spread condiments (or avocado) on bread, then the serrations work like a bread knife to cut your toast without tearing. It may not look traditional, but once you try it, you’ll find yourself reaching for this multi-function knife again and again.


“Nakiri” is Japanese for “vegetable knife.” Cooks around the world choose this beautiful, useful tool whenever they have quantities of fruits or vegetables to prepare. (We’re looking at you, summer.) With its straight blade, edge and spine, the nakiri is used with a simple push cut—down and forward. Preparing summer’s fresh chard and kale is fast, easy, and with the nakiri’s blunt end, safer, too.


A santoku is an Asian-inspired chef’s knife. While some have a completely straight edge, the slight belly curve on the Shun santoku enables you to rock the blade slightly, making this santoku as easy to use as a chef’s knife. Santokus usually comes in 7- or 5-inch blade lengths, so they’re more compact than chef’s knives. From trimming the green bean harvest to cutting cantaloupe, the santoku is your go-to when you want a versatile, easy-to-use knife.

The freshest ingredients—and the right tools—make end-of-summer cooking the best. We’re headed for the kitchen right now. How about you?

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