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Old 06-03-2016, 05:07 PM   #1
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Best knife for cutting a raw sweet potato?

I just bought an Oxo 6 1/2 santoku knife and tried to cut a sweet potato in half (lengthwise) with it. I found it very difficult. Did I use the wrong kind of knife? Or maybe it was my technique? Help! Btw I did not peel it because I want to bake it with the skin.

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Old 06-03-2016, 05:28 PM   #2
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A sweet potato is pretty hard, so it takes some effort to cut it. I push down on the handle and the tip of the blade at the same time. Is that what you did?
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Old 06-03-2016, 05:37 PM   #3
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A sweet potato is pretty hard, so it takes some effort to cut it. I push down on the handle and the tip of the blade at the same time. Is that what you did?
I thought I could chop it straight down, but I couldn't find a stable way to slice into the potato. I was afraid I would injure myself. So I went and got my chef's knife (6") and stabbed the middle of it and sliced though one end. Then I did the other end. Very clumsy

What kind of knife did you use?
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Old 06-03-2016, 05:47 PM   #4
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I thought I could chop it straight down, but I couldn't find a stable way to slice into the potato. I was afraid I would injure myself. So I went and got my chef's knife (6") and stabbed the middle of it and sliced though one end. Then I did the other end. Very clumsy

What kind of knife did you use?
I use my 10" chef for anything like that. The knife must be sharp, and it shouldn't be straight downward press, but should still at least start with a slicing action.

If possible, I first try to find the potato's most stable position, which side it wants to rest on naturally. Then I'll get a good start by slicing at least 1/2" into the cut, after which I will place the palm of my left hand on the back of the blade while still holding with the pinch method with the right. At this point I will press straight down, with both hands out of harms way so if anything does slip, all I hit is cutting board.

I use a similar method for halving a squash or melon. When I have gotten a good start on the cut, and it comes time to put full pressure on what I'm cutting, I make sure that all of my body parts are out of the line of fire.
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Old 06-03-2016, 05:47 PM   #5
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For a raw sweet potato, I would have used my cleaver. The big one!
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:38 PM   #6
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I use my 10" chef for anything like that. The knife must be sharp, and it shouldn't be straight downward press, but should still at least start with a slicing action....
What he said but your 6" knife probably wasn't much longer than the potato so that wouldn't have been handy.

Personally, I'm more comfortable with an 8" chef knife than a 10" though. A 10" feels like I need a saber sheath on my belt.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is still how sharp it is. There isn't much my 3" pocket knife won't cut; including my whiskers.
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kitchengoddess8 View Post
I just bought an Oxo 6 1/2 santoku knife and tried to cut a sweet potato in half (lengthwise) with it. I found it very difficult. Did I use the wrong kind of knife? Or maybe it was my technique? Help! Btw I did not peel it because I want to bake it with the skin.
If you want to bake it in the skin I would not bother to cut it, just wash it, prick the skin a few times and maybe lightly oil the skin before popping it into the oven at approx. 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. I always put sweet potatoes on a pan or place foil under them when I bake them because some varieties tend to give off a sugary juice that can burn and create smoke, not to mention a hassle cleaning the oven. To see if it's done you can poke it with a fork to see if it is tender or take a clean tea towel and give it a gentle squeeze, if it feels soft it should be done. If you are baking them with other items that require a different temperature adjust the cooking time.

As far as cutting them I let the potato decide which side is the flat side and then cut it with my chef's knife. If you are concerned about the potato or the knife slipping try placing the potato on a folded kitchen towel and place a flap of the towel over your knife to protect your hand.

Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:48 PM   #8
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Go heavy...
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RPCookin View Post
I use my 10" chef for anything like that. The knife must be sharp, and it shouldn't be straight downward press, but should still at least start with a slicing action.

If possible, I first try to find the potato's most stable position, which side it wants to rest on naturally. Then I'll get a good start by slicing at least 1/2" into the cut, after which I will place the palm of my left hand on the back of the blade while still holding with the pinch method with the right. At this point I will press straight down, with both hands out of harms way so if anything does slip, all I hit is cutting board.

I use a similar method for halving a squash or melon. When I have gotten a good start on the cut, and it comes time to put full pressure on what I'm cutting, I make sure that all of my body parts are out of the line of fire.

When you do the first cut, what part of the potato do you start with?


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Old 06-03-2016, 08:46 PM   #10
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If you want to bake it in the skin I would not bother to cut it, just wash it, prick the skin a few times and maybe lightly oil the skin before popping it into the oven at approx. 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. I always put sweet potatoes on a pan or place foil under them when I bake them because some varieties tend to give off a sugary juice that can burn and create smoke, not to mention a hassle cleaning the oven. To see if it's done you can poke it with a fork to see if it is tender or take a clean tea towel and give it a gentle squeeze, if it feels soft it should be done. If you are baking them with other items that require a different temperature adjust the cooking time.

As far as cutting them I let the potato decide which side is the flat side and then cut it with my chef's knife. If you are concerned about the potato or the knife slipping try placing the potato on a folded kitchen towel and place a flap of the towel over your knife to protect your hand.

Good luck!

I like to cut them in half so I can bake them quickly in my toaster oven, and it only takes about 35 minutes on 375 degrees. It would take a lot longer if I baked them whole.


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Old 06-03-2016, 08:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kitchengoddess8 View Post
I like to cut them in half so I can bake them quickly in my toaster oven, and it only takes about 35 minutes on 375 degrees. It would take a lot longer if I baked them whole.


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Microwave it for 3-4 minutes first then into the toaster oven to finish.

...or buy smaller potatoes.
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:54 PM   #12
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For a raw sweet potato, I would have used my cleaver. The big one!
Me too. Works like a charm on any hard veggie like squashes, turnip, sweet taters, etc. Why spend too much energy and make the job more difficult.
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:56 PM   #13
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Microwave it for 3-4 minutes first then into the toaster oven to finish.

...or buy smaller potatoes.
I think smaller potatoes may be the answerHow long do you think a small sweet potato would take to bake if I don't microwave it first, and what temperature would you use?
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:05 PM   #14
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When you do the first cut, what part of the potato do you start with?


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I'm not sure I understand the question. I lay it on the cutting board and let it find it's own resting point, then I would cut it in half lengthwise. I just start toward the tip of the knife, but with the edge. I don't stab it, I start toward the tip and rock and slice away from me until the knife gets too hard to push. Then I move my left hand on top of the blade and press down, rocking as needed to cut through. I may sort of cup the blade and the potato with the left hand to keep everything steady, but my fingers never go lower than the cutting edge of the knife.
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:16 PM   #15
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I'm not sure I understand the question. I lay it on the cutting board and let it find it's own resting point, then I would cut it in half lengthwise. I just start toward the tip of the knife, but with the edge. I don't stab it, I start toward the tip and rock and slice away from me until the knife gets too hard to push. Then I move my left hand on top of the blade and press down, rocking as needed to cut through. I may sort of cup the blade and the potato with the left hand to keep everything steady, but my fingers never go lower than the cutting edge of the knife.

Thanks for clarifying! The rocking motion sounds like the key. I'm not sure I can do that with the santoku I have but I can try.


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Old 06-03-2016, 09:38 PM   #16
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Sweet potatoes cook faster than russets. I nuke then bake @ 400F. Time depends on size. Just keep testing with a knife point.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:22 PM   #17
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Sweet potatoes cook faster than russets. I nuke then bake @ 400F. Time depends on size. Just keep testing with a knife point.

Thanks Andy! I think increasing the temp from 375 to 400 will speed things up a bit. I noticed that when I use the middle rack of the toaster oven the potatoes cook faster. I would have thought they would cook faster on the bottom rack closer to the heat source. Why would that be?


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Old 06-03-2016, 10:41 PM   #18
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Thanks Andy! I think increasing the temp from 375 to 400 will speed things up a bit. I noticed that when I use the middle rack of the toaster oven the potatoes cook faster. I would have thought they would cook faster on the bottom rack closer to the heat source. Why would that be?
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:43 PM   #19
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Thanks for clarifying! The rocking motion sounds like the key. I'm not sure I can do that with the santoku I have but I can try.
I do pretty much the same as RP. My primary knife is a Santoku; I think it's 7 inches.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:50 PM   #20
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I do pretty much the same as RP. My primary knife is a Santoku; I think it's 7 inches.
So maybe my 6 1/2" santoku will be able to cut a small sweet potato lengthwise. If not, I'll do what some have suggested and bake it whole. I bought this knife because I didn’t have any knives that were heavy enough to go through certain foods. I used to have a Wusthof 8" chef's knife but I returned it because it wasn't manageable for me.
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