Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's a matter of ..... a unique tool

Rooster Senior and I recently visited the great state of Alaska.  I cannot relate the grandeur and beauty we experienced with just mere words.  If you ever get the opportunity, please take it.  It my estimation, it is a chance of a lifetime.

While enjoying the beauty, I saw these knives being featured everywhere we stopped.  I hate to fall into the "tourist" trap, but I was intrigued.  So, I enquired about them and decided that we needed one!.

This is called an "Alaskan Ulu" knife.  Originally, they were fashioned from rock.  Archeologists have reportedly documented one of these knives was used as early as 3000 year ago.  Native Alaskans used the Ulu for everything from skinning seals to sewing mukluks ( Eskimo boots), and eating muktuk, seal and blubber.  When Whaling ships came to Alaska, the Native Alaskans were introduced to Steel and fashioned the ULU from this new material.  

Reportedly, these knives have been used by Alaskans in hunting and to fillet fish for centuries.  However, they can also be used for produce as well.  What makes them unique, in my estimation, is that you cut by rocking, not by sawing.  

I work in Rehabilitation, and have often seen the Occupational Therapists use "Rocking knives" particularly with victims of Stroke.  I guarantee that they are expensive just because they are specialized Rehabilitation Equipment.  But, the Ulu is very reasonably priced.

I chose to purchase this knife and the cutting board together.  You have the option of using the back side which is flat, or using the curved side as pictured below.  

This board also has a slit to place your blade when it is not in use.  These knives are very caution is a must.

Because I cannot hold the knife, cut, and shoot the camera all at once, I decided to show how the knife begins to rock in the bowl with this photo.  It takes a minute to get used to the motion, but I loved it.  Make sure the beveled edge is facing away from you.

Caring for the Ulu knife:

1.  Sharpen as needed, but only on the beveled side.  The Ulu factory suggests "Stone or Steel" to sharpen it.
2.  To clean your knife, never put it in the dishwasher. Just clean with soapy water and put in a safe place.  If you don't get the cutting board, a small block of wood with a slit in it can also hold the knife safely.
3.  Intermittently, put oil on the handle and care for the cutting board as you would any other cutting board.

You can use this to cut meat, produce, cheese....and the factory even suggests cutting pizza with it.  I plan to get used to this little device and keep it handy.  If you would like to purchase one for yourself, you can order them directly from the factory or other outlets on line.  One thing I learned while in Alaska, the prices vary primarily because of the handle on the knife. Some were made from exotic woods, animal horns, etc.  These knives also come in different sizes as well.  

Consider getting one for your family.  It can be a very helpful tool for many reasons....which convenience being just one of the reasons!


RevAllyson said...

The one I have is Italian, I'd guess, and is called a "mezzaluna". I use it for chopping my herbs. I used it today, in fact, in order to mince up my fresh dill and cilantro for freezing into ice cubes! :) I used to dread cutting up herbs, and now I love it. You can get cheaper ones than the Ulu, and the design is similar. It works best with the bowed chopping surface, so if you have the opportunity to get it as a set, do it. You can never find an exact match if you decide to go looking later (says the voice of chagrined experience LOL).

The Little Red Hen said...


Thank you for your information. I need to look into the "mezzaluna" and learn more about it. I made Hawaiian Haystacks today, and chopped the vegetables in short order with this tool. I am thinking I can get used to this really quick! I can't wait to try it with herbs.....because they can be a pain to chop!

Survival Food said...

The chopping board seems to be quite handy and useful. Any idea about its price or from where to order it?

The Little Red Hen said...

You can do a search on the internet to find several. The cheapest I found was on Amazon, but please know that it is not available for Amazon Prime (free shipping). It was just under $12.00. Most come with a combination of the knife and board for around $32.00. I love mine. If you get one, let us know what you think! To search, just put "Alaskan Ulu" in the browser and you will get many options. Good luck!

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