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What Can You Do with Kitchen Shears?


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My trusty Chicago Cutlery shears are one of the most frequently used tools in my kitchen. I don't just use them for snipping herbs, either. I also use them to

  • trim the roots off of scallions before I roast or grill them
  • clipping the wing tips of chickens and other poultry
  • snip chili peppers into bits before grinding or crushing
  • cut off the woody ends of dried, soaked mushrooms

I'm sure that there are dozens of other uses that I haven't considered. What do you use your shears for?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Interesting.

I use my chef's knife for all of those activities most of the time.

I do use the kitchen shears to snip herbs sometimes.

Thinking about it I think I use the knife because its out most of the time when I'm cooking and the shears aren't. As I like to keep my work area as uncluttered as possible I tend to keep the number of tools I have out at any time to a minimum.

Don't think there's a right or wrong here just a case of personal preferences. It will be interesting to hear other EGulleteers opinions.

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I USED to use my kitchen shears for all sorts of things and then last weekend my daughter tried to cut the woody stems of a considerable number of decorative woody stems in one fell blow and now my kitchen shears are no more. :sad:

PLUS I cannot even find my studio shears...which makes me wonder...very much... :hmmm:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Just about all of the above, and I use them to snip "slashes" in bread loaves, too.

I keep them standing in the top of the kitchen string cone thingy, which lives on top of my kitchen scale, always handy. I have the Wustoff come-apart shears, easy to clean! :wub:

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I take them out to the garden to snip basil, chives, etc. (season permitting!). Oh, yes and to everything everyone else has said.

I also love that screwdriver thingie at the bottom of the handle. Tightens loose knob screws, and does a mighty fine job of prying the lid of of a can of Lyle's.

I'm lost without my kitchen shears.

(They also make a great gift.)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I also use a chef's knife for most of the things listed, but the scissors always come out for spatchcocking -- and for cutting string when I'm tying roasts or trussing birds for the rotisserie.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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I luckily enough got invited on a fishing charter this summer. No one wanted the salmon bellies or collars. I ended up with a ridiculous largess of these best parts of the fish. The sheers are in use to trim the fins before grilling. I couldn't get them off any other way. If I had a heavy duty chinese cleaver I could probably hack them off, but they're tough buggers.

Otherwise they usually only get used for extracating the spine of chicken.

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I use them as little as possible, since a knife is always nearer and I have to cross the kitchen to get the shears. I do use them exclusively for two things: cutting off the vacuum sealed wrap on bacon, and snipping grapes into manageable small bunches. For cutting flower stems I use a dedicated Japanese floral scissors, which was one of best gifts anyone's ever given me. If you can't think what to get someone, that's it.

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spatchcocking chickens is what i use mine for most.

Me too. Did it last week. It was mostly poulty that I got them for. Some fish trimming and shellfish as well. Kitchen twine I guess.

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Hmmmmmmmmmmm.........not for nearly as many tasks as others. Definately the spatchcocking thing, and the twine cutting. Other than that, mostly for opening things that are vacuum packed in plastic...cheese, bacon, etc.

Oh, and taking the baggie off of one of the newspapers in the morning. The one small, local paper carrier insists on tying the top of the baggie.

But not a top 10 tool, for sure. I usually grab them only for tasks where I'm afraid I'll slice my thumb off if I use a knife instead !

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Red-handled kitchen scissors are standard equipment in most Korean kitchens, and they're used for cutting bulgogi or galbi as it cooks, cutting naengmyeon or japchae noodles into edible portions, divvying up heads of standard kimchi into chopstickable pieces or nori into similar. They're now standard equipment in my kitchen, and any kitchen I work in, as I always bring a set to family members. I also use them for cutting quesadillas, but almost never use them for chicken (I use my cleaver) or herbs (a knife).

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I probably use them at least twice a day, with opening packages being the primary use. Another major use is cutting up a rotisserie chicken. I saw this done at a deli once by the guy at the counter and never looked back. Incidentally, I have three different pair of shears that I use for different purposes: general-purpose black-plastic-handled Wusthof shears, more specialized stainless poultry shears, and the small Joyce Chen scissors for herbs.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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More than anything else, I use them to cut bags for sous vide. Other than that, there is cutting through the backbone on both sides when spatchcocking poultry (although I use a knife for the rest if I'm going the full monte and taking out all the bones except for the drumsticks). Cutting twine and butcher's string. Opening packages, frozen food bags, etc. Occasionally used in deboning fish (again, primarily to cut the spine).

Other than that, I find that a knife typically works much better. I've never understood snipping herbs with scissors. If it's me, I'm either plucking and/or tearing them by hand or cutting them with a knife on the board.

--

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I just remembered another reason I don't use the shears that much.

I'm left handed! They make left handed scissors, but I've never seen a left handed pair of shears.

Any lefty will tell you about the pain of using right handed scissors or shears.

Knives are ambidextrous.

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. . . .

Another major use is cutting up a rotisserie chicken. I saw this done at a deli once by the guy at the counter and never looked back

. . . . .

I'm surprised you need anything but your hands. Most rotisserie chickens fall apart with a stern glance.

. . . .

I've never understood snipping herbs with scissors. If it's me, I'm either plucking and/or tearing them by hand or cutting them with a knife on the board.

This is a good, though probably minor, point -- especially if you're going to use the herbs right away. But plucking herbs, like hand-tearing lettuce, causes the plant to separate at cell boundaries, resulting in less trauma to the plant, and slower oxidation at the separated edge.

. . . .

Knives are ambidextrous.

Check out the link Chris Amirault posted above. The Chicago Cutlery shears (I have two pair) have symmetrical handles, so they're fine for righties or lefties (IIRC, Mr. Amirault is one of the latter).

A friend of mine uses scissors to snip the fat edges of bacon strips before frying -- keeps them from shriveling up.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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The problem with hand-tearing rotisserie chicken is that sometimes you go to grab a leg and you wind up with a leg bone and all the meat left behind. And it's also hard to do rotisserie chicken with a knife. So if you get a whole one and you want to section it nicely, the shears work really well. There used to be a place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan called William's, which had terrific rotisserie chicken. The guys there would cut with shears, which is how I first became acquainted with the method.

With herbs it sort of depends on the application and the herb. For large quantities, knife and board make sense. For some herbs, especially leafy ones, hand-picking/tearing is the way to go. But for, say, a small quantity of chives, the scissors are great. I get a pack of chives in one of those plastic clamshell things and can garnish stuff for a week with it by taking out the bunch, making a couple of snips, and putting it back in the package in the fridge. This could also be accomplished with knife and board but the scissors are quite convenient. It's a situation where the convenience encourages me to use herbs when I otherwise might not bother.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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...

I'm left handed! They make left handed scissors, but I've never seen a left handed pair of shears.

...

Here you go! :cool:

http://www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk/acatalog/kitchen_shears_new.html#a113A

A useful store for you to bookmark, I expect. Someone I Used To Know was left-handed.

I have a similar (but right-handed) pair, and find them much more useful than the pair of 'proper poultry shears' that languish somewhere in the bottom of the kitchen drawer.

Someone I Used To Know broke the tip off one of the blades of my shear/scissors - whatever else they are good for, they aren't tin openers.

My own preferred package opening tool is a cheap (less than £1) Ikea kitchen knife.

It has a conspicuous bright yellow handle and a curved (undercut, 'parrot beak') blade that isn't too dangerously sharp.

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/10129639

Easily located, reasonably safe, great value and wonderfully effective!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I just used kitchen shears to cut up my credit cards.

Ha! I've done this too. Plus kitchen shears are the only thing I know that can cut through the hellishly heavy plastic packaging that encloses too many small items, culinary or otherwise.

On the food front, I use them to cut woody herbs off the plant and cut up chickens. My favorite pair (I have two) is constructed with a serrated edge inside the finger grips that let you grab small, totally stuck bottle or jar tops and twist them open with no effort. It is brilliant. If you are looking to buy a pair, you must look for this feature. No brand name on mine, sorry.


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