The cleaver (often mistaken for the butcher’s knife) is a large, heavy knife resembling an elongated hatchet. Its large blade side is used to cut cleanly or cleave (as the name suggests) through meat, fat, thin or weak bone, connective tissue and tough vegetables, such as squash and pumpkin.
The flat part on either side of the knife is often used to crush garlic, nuts, spices and an assortment of other foods due to its heaviness and shape as many thinner knifes would break and bend.
To master all of the cleaver’sculinary uses one should be properly instructed.
When preparing to cut, all ingredients should be laid out and ready, a cutting board should also be prepared and clean. Sharpening the blade will ensure a cleaner cut and will require less effort, although the momentum of the knife will require very little energy to begin with.
To cut meat, place your meat in the center of your cutting board. Make sure that your board will not move around and make sure your fingers are a good distance away from your where you will make the cut. After all of your safety preparations raise the blade about four inches above the meat, then with your wrist make a good, forceful slice. Take note that the cleaver is only meant to cut through thin or weak bones and that large bones should be taken care of by a bone saw, a butcher’s knife or a serrated knife.
Once your blade is deep in the meat then slowly move your blade in a backward and forward motion until you have cut cleanly through the entire piece of meat.
These instructions work just as well for vegetables but when the blade is in the flesh of the vegetable, move with a downward motion instead of a seesaw motion.
To use the flat sides just place your desired food on a cutting board or a clean, hard surface and press down with moderate force SLOWLY. Make sure that the food that is being crushed is not wet, oily or slippery as it can slip out from underneath and could injure you and others.
Between different foods always wash and rinse your blade as well as you can, doing this will prevent cross contamination and eliminate health threats such as salmonella and E.Coli.
Hopefully this article has taught you something and will help keep you safe while you explore the culinary universe