The History of the Fruit Knife (Melon Tester), Vegetable Knife

The original folding fruit knife was made of silver and mother-of-pearl in the late

Watermelon Testing Plug Obtained With a Fruit Knife
Watermelon Testing Plug Obtained With a Fruit Knife, But It Looks Like They Are Doing a Little More Than Just Testing!

1700’s in England. Why those materials? Silver is relatively soft, but it is resistant to the citric acid that would eat away at steel. Also, silver has anti-microbial qualities, which would tend to keep the knife free from harmful growths of bacteria. Mother-of-pearl is also impervious to citric acid, and it adds to the beauty of the knife. The less expensive fruit knives had celluloid handles, which would also be resistant to the acid content of fruits.

Today, most fruit knives are made of stainless steel. Sometimes plastic handles are used, to make the knife handle last longer.

In America, the fruit knife became popular in the 1930’s. Many companies would have their logo imprinted on the plastic handles in their corporate colors. They would give these as advertising products to their customers. Many are found in the possession of knife collectors today.

 

PURPOSE:

These specialty knives are made with very long skinny spear blades. Some blades are serrated. They are used by fruit and meat inspectors to get a sample from deep inside the product. The inspectors can then examine the smell, texture, and color of the product.

Credits: Some of this information is from the book Advertising Cutlery, Richard D. White, 1999.

How To Take Care Of Your Fruit Knife

Knife Sharpener for Fruit Knife
Knife Sharpener for a Fruit Knife

Besides the normal maintenance that you would give any pocket knife, here are some tips specifically for your fruit knife.

  • Wash it or rinse it thoroughly, to get rid of fruit residue. The acid content of oranges, lemons, tomatoes and some other fruits would etch the stainless steel.
  • Dry it to remove all traces of the rinse water. This will prevent some steel parts like the spring and pins from rusting. Even some grades of stainless steel can experience some degree of rusting.
  • Oil it with cooking oil instead of non-edible oil.
  • Store it in a clean environment, so you won’t contaminate your fruit next time you use it.
  • Use a knife-friendly cutting board. Never cut on a ceramic board, because it would dull your blade immediately.

As with any other knife, here are some general tips:

  • Keep it sharp. The sharper it is, the easier it cuts. Instead of using a stone, I prefer the type of sharpener that has two steel wheels.  That way I don’t get any stone grindings contaminating the works. Then rinse and wipe the knife off before use.
  • Never use your knife as a pry bar or hammer.
  • Keep it in the pouch when not in use. This assures it won’t get contaminated or misplaced.

Your fruit knife will last longer if you take good care of it. Thanks to “Sharpening By Dave” for some information in this article.

The Best Fruit Knife For Today’s Fruit of Honor

Fruit Knives for National Apricot Day
Fruit Knives for National Apricot Day

It’s fruit trivia time! Which fruit originated in China 4,000 years ago and is a relative of the peach? Your first guess might be the nectarine, right? It is, in fact, the petite and beloved apricot- a fruit rich in vitamins A & C. It made its way slowly westward from China, through the Mediterranean, and finally over to North America, where it mainly settled in California. California produces 95% of our country’s apricots. Yum!

How do you want to enjoy an apricot today?

  • Grab your fruit knife and cut yourself a fresh slice
  • Make a yummy tart or homemade preserves
  • Have an afternoon snack of dried apricots
  • Use your fruit knife to chop some into your morning granola
  • Plant a tree
Stainless Fruit Knife
Stainless Fruit Knife

Holiday Tricks You Can Do With a Fruit Knife

Give Fruit Knives for Christmas
Give Fruit Knives for Christmas

Make this Christmas festive-looking simply by using a fruit knife to carve and slice up oranges, apples, mangos, watermelons…..you name it. Don’t worry about making a mistake. You can eat your mistakes!

Carved Watermelon Display
Carved Watermelon Display

Carved Fruit
Carved Fruit

Carved Apple Brothers
Carved Apple Brothers

A Fruit Knife Really Doesn’t Have To Fold, Does It?

95-1712E Fruit Knife
95-1712E Fruit Knife

The original fruit knife looks like this.. It is long and slender, and folds so you can put it in your pocket until you need it.

 

 

But what if you are testing cantaloupes all day long, in the same area of your storage building? This super sharp tomato slicer would be ideal for you.

Slicing a Ripe Tomato
Slicing a Ripe Tomato

 

 

 

 

Why The Fruit Knife is Perfect For All Menus

Fruit Carving Masterpieces
Fruit Carving Masterpieces

The fruit knife is not just for cutting up fruit. It can be used for:

  • Slicing vegetables
  • Making table decorations like this one
  • Cutting up fish
  • Cutting tender steaks
  • Slicing cheeses for a cheese tray
  • Slicing red potatoes for frying in a skillet
  • Cutting up left-over chicken to make soup
  • Cutting open clams
  • Opening up shrimp
  • Opening Pistachio nuts
  • Cutting spaghetti on your plate

If you are feeling hungry by now, that makes two of us. Happy cutting!

What Is A Fruit Knife?

Fun With A Fruit Knife
Fun With A Fruit Knife

A fruit knife is a long slender folding knife that is used to sample or carve fruit or vegetables. It is often used by produce workers to cut a deep square plug in a cantaloupe or watermelon to inspect the innards. It’s a quick neat way to make an important test.

The average fruit & vegetable lover can use this tool to make interesting carvings like these.

95-1712E Fruit Knife
95-1712E Fruit Knife

 

Fun With A Fruit Knife

Fruit Carving Masterpieces
Fruit Carving Masterpieces

 

Carving with a fruit knife has become an art. It may have started in Thailand. If you have been on a cruise ship, you surely have seen some buffets decorated with carved fruit. It is time consuming, and requires great skill and patience. Here are some fine examples of the handiwork of the best fruit and vegetable carvers…..

Carved Apple
Carved Apple
Apple With Carved Hearts
Apple With Carved Hearts
Carved Orange Rind
Carved Owls
Carved Owls
Carved Apple Butterfly
Carved Apple Butterfly
Carved Fruit Buddies
Carved Fruit Buddies
Carved Fishes
Carved Fishes
Carved Watermelon Fishes
Carved Watermelon Fishes
Decorative Apple Skin
Carved Watermelon Display
Carved Watermelon Display

 

Click here for more on the history of fruit carving.