What Is the Definition of Kitchen Shears?

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Kitchen shears should be stored in a place that protects their blades.
Kitchen shears should be stored in a place that protects their blades. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Kitchen shears are scissors designed to perform an assortment of cooking-related chores -- from slitting open a bag of frozen peas to slicing up fish bones. You can choose between basic models designed to complement your kitchen cutlery, and heavy-duty models tough enough to slice tin cans or remove tight lids from bottles and jars.

Shear Construction

Kitchen shears have oversized handles coated with texturized rubber or plastic to give cooks a slip-free grip and maximum control of the cutting action. The scissor blades are often notched for easier cutting of poultry joints and bones. The interior orb of the handles may display teeth that can firmly grip screw-type lids for removal, and a protruding slot screwdriver head to pry the tops off jars and bottles. The blades on kitchen shears are typically wider than conventional scissors, and made from stainless steel or aluminum. Many blades are detachable to facilitate cleaning and sharpening.

Common Uses

Kitchen shears should easily chop through small to medium sized chicken bones, and neatly cut through both sides of the backbone or collar of fresh whole fish for easy removal. Quality kitchen shears can easily remove the thorny tops off fresh artichokes. You can use your shears to snip fresh herbs directly into a saute pan or salad bowl -- which is far easier than chopping them with a knife, eliminating the need for a cutting board. A good pair of shears also comes in handy for opening bags of chips, clipping coupons or cutting proof-of-purchase tags from cardboard food packages.

Atypical Applications

You can quickly cut thin-crust pizza into slices using kitchen shears. They perfectly snip partially frozen bacon for frying or cooked bacon into tiny pieces for salads and garnishes. Rather than chopping whole canned tomatoes on a cutting board and squirting juice on the counters and walls, place the kitchen shear blades into the can and cut the tomatoes with no mess. Easily remove the netting from roasts with kitchen shears instead of dulling your kitchen knives with the task. Use kitchen shears to crack crab and lobster claws and shells. Trim the ends of fresh flowers with your kitchen shears before arranging them in a vase of water.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Thoroughly wash kitchen shears by hand after each use to prevent bacterial build-up. Dishwasher temperatures dull the blades and may compromise the integrity of the plastic or rubber handle grips. If the shears have non-serrated detachable blades, sharpen them with the same tool you use on your knives or use a special sharpener for maintaining serrated edges. Store shears separately from other utensils to keep the blades sharp and free of nicks.

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