By Vanessa Greaves

If you're only using your kitchen shears to open the mail, you're missing out on all the other handy things this hard-working multi-tasker can do for you. I counted at least 28 jobs a great pair of kitchen shears can help with.

Photo by Meredith

How to Use Kitchen Shears

  • 1.Trimpie crusts. Snip, snip and your crust is oven-ready in seconds.
  • 2.Peel shrimpfaster by snipping through the backs of the shells.
  • 3.Cut throughchicken wingjoints quickly and easily.
  • 4.Open food packaging.
  • 5.Cut up credit cards. (Just kidding. No, I'm not.)
  • 6.Cutpizzainto slices.
  • 7.Chop wholecanned tomatoesright in the can.
  • 8.Trimherbs, fruit, and vegetables.
  • 9.Chop herbs in a measuring cup.
  • 10.Garnish dishes by snipping herbs like chives andparsleydirectly over them instead of dirtying up a cutting board.
  • 11.Cut the eyes out ofpotatoes.
  • 12.Snip open a steamybaked potato. (No more scalded fingers.)
  • 13.Cutbroccoliandcauliflowerinto florets.
  • 14.Shave off pieces of hard cheese or snip bits of soft cheese.
  • 15.Cut opencrabandlobster claws.
  • 16.Cutbaconinto pieces. (Firm it up in the freezer for 15 minutes to make cutting easier.)
  • 17.Split asandwich.
  • 18.Cut bread intocroutons.
  • 19.Cuttortillasinto strips.
  • 20.Trim tough stalks fromkaleand other sturdy greens.
  • 21.Cut out the thick ribs fromcabbageleaves.
  • 22.Cutsalad greensin the bowl.
  • 23.Chop uppickles.
  • 24.Trim fat off meatsbefore cooking.
  • 25.Trim sharp tips offartichoke leaves.
  • 26.Cut food intokid-size pieces.
  • 27.Break down a whole chicken, as Chef John demos in this video forcutting chicken with shears. Such a great money-saver.
  • 28.Last but not least, one of my favorite tricks: Take the mess out ofbutterflying whole chicken (aka spatchcocking). Instead of using a cutting board, put chicken in the sink or a pan and snip down both sides of the backbone to remove it before roasting or grilling. Clean up is easier and speedier than scrubbing raw chicken off your cutting board.

What to Look for in Kitchen Shears

The good news is you don't have to spend a lot to get good quality kitchen shears. Here are a few features worth considering.

Photos by Vanessa Greaves
  • Take-apart design makes for easier cleaning and resharpening
  • Your hand should fit very comfortably into the handles
  • Handles should not pinch your hand when you cut through something tough
  • Some scissors are designed for use with left or right hand
  • Optional steel-toothed insets in the handle can crack nuts and twist open bottles and jars
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel is a must

Here's to kitchen gadgets that actually make your life easier!

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