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After the umpteenth small cut, I decided it was time to focus on my knife skills and to start properly holding whatever I'm cutting, so I've been trying to hold my food with that claw-like hold all knife skill tutorials advertise.

I was actually having fun and doing great with some potato, carrot, and cucumber... until I tried to cut canned peaches into cubes. They're much more slippery and somehow things managed to start slipping and sliding while I was cutting, a finger landed under the blade and now I have a bigger cut on my finger than I've ever had before I started trying to do things properly!

Is there a different/special way slippery foods should be held to avoid cutting fingers?

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  • 8
    beyond adjusting technique, there's also cut gloves ; I've worn them since I was 20 and watched a friend mandolin off a chunk of his palm Oct 13, 2023 at 13:19
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    It might go without saying, but a very sharp knife helps immensely. You may not even need to hold the slippery item.
    – moscafj
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:37
  • 1
    I don't remember where I bought mine and searching 'finger shields for cutting food' should show you handy tools with holding loops under shields… Oct 16, 2023 at 20:33

4 Answers 4

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When I'm cutting slippery food I take a different approach to cutting, as the fingers curled method is unreliable as you have found. What I would do with peaches is get my 3 inch utility knife (basically a long paring knife), hold the peach in place between my thumb on one side and two fingers on the other, then cut sideways between them. This lets me use my fingertips to control the food while keeping the knife away from them. It's a bit slower, but with some things you have to sacrifice speed for safety.

Another method I've used when cutting slippery food is to hold it in place with a fork. Position the fork where you want the last cut to be, then make the last cut along the tines as that will mask the tine-marks somewhat.

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If you're struggling to cut peaches, your knife isn't sharp enough.
Something that soft should barely need holding at all.

If you're really good at cutting your fingers, use a fork. You don't even have to put the fork though the produce, just hold it at the nearside & use it as a knife guide. That's what I do with raw meat anyway, for three reasons; one, accuracy for thin slices; two, because I don't like holding raw meat & three, less chance for cross-contamination.

I am also a fan of what I'd call the 'straddle' grip, which sounds similar to what GdD explains in another answer. This way your knife goes inside your grip, in an arch formed by your hand.
I did an answer on dicing tomatoes where I explained it, with photos - How to dice tomatoes?

Also see more pictures on Claw grip to cut a convex body (Half onions , half tomatoes etc) which shows how to keep your finger out of the way of the blade, by only offering up your knuckle, higher than the blade edge ever reaches.

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    The first paragraph is so on point.
    – Stephie
    Oct 13, 2023 at 19:45
  • I just tried with a banana for breakfast, but the knife is definitely sharp enough to cut stuff even while I'm not holding it... So the problem is me, not the knife. Oct 16, 2023 at 6:55
  • …but you can cut a banana with a spoon;)) Try the tomato test. A sharp knife will go through even a soft tomato using barely more than its own weight, without distorting the tomato's shape at all. (If you're feeling wary, stick a fork through it first;)) One thing to note: dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives. Sharp knives go where you put them, so keeping your fingers out of the way is a skill but not an impossible one. Dull knives skid &/or move what they're cutting - that's when they're out of your control; and still probably sharp enough to cut fingers.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 16, 2023 at 8:25
  • @Tetsujin I don't eat tomatoes, and I don't really want to buy one just to test a knife. The banana had the peel still on, for what it's worth (I should probably have mentioned that). I think you have sharp spoons if those manage to cut through banana peels. Oct 16, 2023 at 8:41
  • You could always try the sheet of paper test - which I always think is a bit showy, but it works. i.stack.imgur.com/VUQZh.jpg
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 16, 2023 at 15:17
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One solution might be to use non-slip gloves like these: They have non-slip gloves and are used primarily for washing dishes. You can buy them online on Amazon or at Walmart. Just search for 'dishwashing cleaning sponge gloves'. Good luck!

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When dealing with slippery food while cutting, I personally use the claw grip technique, place a damp towel under the cutting board for added grip, and sometimes repurpose a rubber jar opener as a non-slip mat.

For small items like tomatoes, I stick a fork in them to use as a handle. Patting food dry with a paper towel, wearing grippy gloves, chilling the ingredients.

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