The history of scissors goes back a very long time, with records and artefacts dating back more than 1500 years, proving that this useful invention has been benefitting cooks for centuries. Modern manufacturing techniques and the development of new materials have made scissors increasingly durable and effective, making a good pair of scissors an essential part of the kitchen armoury.
About Kitchen Scissors
Most historical records indicate that scissors, in something close to the modern sense of the word, were first used by the ancient Egyptians. Developments in technology in the 16th century – particularly in Europe – saw the ancient spring mechanisms used in the classical world replaced by a central pivot that allowed two blades to be pivoted around a point between the handle and the blade, thus affording the user greater control. Modern scissors could first truly be said to have been manufactured in Britain, where the multiple advantages conferred by rapid industrialisation meant that cast steel scissors started to appear circa 1761.
Types of Kitchen Scissors
Kitchen scissors come in a variety of designs, from simple all-purpose cutting tools to more specialist scissors designed for specific culinary purposes. High grade stainless steel can be sharpened to a keen edge that can be used for cutting through very tough materials, such as bone and sinew, while slender blades can cope with more delicate tasks in the kitchen, such as skinning poultry, preparing fruit and vegetables, and cutting through packaging. Kitchen scissors can be manufactured entirely from metal, or can be metal blades incorporated into hygienic plastic handles. It is also possible to buy scissors that have a built in jar or bottle-top remover in the handle section; consisting of a toothed area located between the handles, this useful adaptation can make opening difficult bottles and jars easier for anyone - especially individuals that find it difficult to grip or twist using the hands alone. Many brands of kitchen scissors are designed to be used by both left and right-handed people, avoiding the need to purchase specially designed left-handed models at extra expense. Colourful, functional, and easy to store, a good pair of kitchen scissors is an invaluable and practical item in many kitchens.
All-Purpose Kitchen Scissors
Available in a range of sizes to suit all tasks, a pair of all-purpose kitchen scissors is a boon to any cook. High grade steel blades can tackle most common kitchen cutting jobs; most kitchen scissors have moulded handles which make them both hygienic, comfortable, and easy to clean – the majority are dishwasher safe, making them an ideal utensil in the modern kitchen. Smaller versions can be used for snipping herbs and other delicate cutting jobs, such as trimming vegetables and small pieces of meat or fish, while the larger pairs are ideal for cutting through greaseproof paper or baking parchment, or for dealing with plastic and paper packaging materials.
There are various types of scissors that have a specific purpose and have been designed to cope with particular culinary tasks with ease. While many general-purpose scissors can be used for some tasks, a pair of specialist scissors will prove valuable if difficult or particular tasks are carried out on a regular basis.
Poultry or Meat Shears
These scissors are manufactured in such a way as to enable them to cut cleanly through joints and sinews, making butchery and preparation of raw meat and poultry relatively easy. The heavy-duty curved blades and the large well-spaced handles of dedicated poultry scissors are designed for the comfort of the user and to produce the maximum of force with the minimum of effort. This makes jointing birds or cutting up pieces of meat possible when other scissors or knives would not be able to do the job.
These scissors are a very specialised product that would appeal to any cook who regularly uses fresh herbs to season and flavour food. Having multiple cutting edges to the blades, created by layering several blades on top of each other on each handle, these cleverly designed scissors will rapidly cut up herbs, resulting in very finely chopped ingredients that can be added to favourite recipes. Some brands of herb scissors are supplied with a small brush with nylon bristles, to be used for extracting the chopped herbs from the blades – making sure most of the herbs are used in the food and not left on the blade, preventing waste and reducing mess. They can be used for finely chopping other small ingredients, too, making them multi-functional to a certain extent, and increasing their practicality.
Modern technology means that electric scissors can offer hard-pressed cooks an alternative to their usual manual labours. They are also useful for those people with arthritis that may struggle to open food packaging with manual devices. Electric scissors are often available in six-volt cordless options and can be a very useful way of quickly and easily opening food items or completing small slicing tasks. If powered assistance is definitely required, then given the relatively small size of the blades, larger electric carvers are recommended for jobs that require more cutting power. These are readily available and, in many instances, speed up the process of preparing and delivering a meal.
Keep Blades Keen
Be aware that maintaining the scissor blades is an important part of ensuring that they remain effective throughout their working life. Blades that only cut eventually will leave messy, jagged lines in the designated cutting area and will create more work than is strictly necessary. When purchasing a new set of kitchen scissors, look for high quality stainless steel that is guaranteed oxidisation resistant. A serrated blade is also recommended, as this will facilitate ease of cutting. If blades are starting to develop blunt edges, the best solution is to keen the edge with a dedicated sharpener. These usually consist of a diamond scissor sharpening block mounted in a plastic block. The scissor blades are the fed through and rubbed on the block, thus sharpening the blade. The block itself is coated with bonded industrial diamonds that produce enough abrasion to keep the blade as sharp as possible. These blocks are also available in electric versions. For larger items such as poultry scissors, keening the blade manually by directly applying the sharpening block by hand may prove to be more effective.
Find Kitchen Scissors On eBay
Kitchen Scissors are listed in the Food Preparation & Tools section of eBay, which can be accessed in one of two ways. From the homepage, using the dynamic menu, click on Home & Garden, and then select Kitchen. This will take the buyer to a page of results that contains a panel on the left of the screen – this category list can be used to further refine the search, to narrow it down to Kitchen Scissors. Alternatively, typing “kitchen scissors” into the search box on the homepage will result in a page of listings and from here the category menu can be used to eliminate items that are inappropriate to the searcher’s requirements. Once an appropriate item has been located, bidding higher than the reserve price (the minimum price at which the seller is prepared to sell the item at) will not mean automatically winning the item, though, as other bidders may be involved in the auction. Setting an automatic highest bid limit will maximise the chances of a win by matching higher bids until an upper limit is reached. This not only helps buyers stick to a budget, but also removes the necessity of monitoring the auction and manually bidding each time another buyer increases the value. There is no need to get involved in an auction on eBay, however; the facility to ‘Buy It Now’ is available which removes the need to wait for the result of the bidding process – this is particularly useful if the buyer feels the item is very good value for money, or if the item is required in a hurry.
Buying kitchen scissors is very much a matter of choosing the right tool for the job. Certain tasks in the kitchen are more likely to need larger and sharper blades, while a set of all-purpose scissors is useful for handling smaller, less intense tasks. From multi-packs of all-purpose scissors to professional grade shears, the range of kitchen scissors available means that every cutting job in the process of cooking and delivering a meal is covered. eBay carries listings for all the major types of scissor and its flexible search tools and easy to use interface means that prospective buyers have access to all the major varieties of kitchen scissors within one site.