Knowing how to properly look after and maintain your kitchen knives will ensure that they are safer to use, work more efficiently, and last longer. Unkempt, dull knives easily slip and can cause cuts or worse. Make sure to keep your knives sharp, clean and ready to use always. Getting your kitchen tools and equipment ready can help you save time cooking.
Why you should keep your knives sharp
When you use a dull knife, it’s highly likely that it’ll slip off and cut you. Sharp knives are much more efficient and provide precise cuts while dull knives are more unreliable and can result in sliced fingers. Of course, if you’re cut by a sharp knife, it’s likely to be a more serious cut. However, believe you me, a cut by a sharp knife actually hurts less and heals faster than that of a dull knife.
The difference between sharpening and honing of knives
When it comes to taking care of knives, many people don’t know how to go about it and, as a result, may do far more harm than good.
Honing is all about keeping the blade of your knife sharp, not actually sharpening it. If done properly, honing recalibrates the blade of the knife to how it was originally made. In addition, it removes bits of food and metal spurs from the blade to maintain a good, sharp edge. To hone your knife, you will use a knife steel, which is the rounded, long tool that may come with your knife.
How to hone your knife
To maintain a sharp, well-honed knife, it’s recommended that you use the knife steel each time you use your knife. Yes, every time you use the knife. If you are cooking a lot at one particular time frame, for example, on Thanksgiving, you can also hone your knife midway through the day too.
It’s really easy to hone your knife and it only takes a second. Follow these simple steps:
Hold the knife’s steel rod with one hand so it’s facing away from you. You can also do this by resting the rod on a non-slippery surface.
Peel the knife’s heel, which is the part nearest to the handle, right against the rod at a 20-degree angle. If you don’t know to achieve a 20-degree angle, consider a 90-degree angle before halving it twice.
Slide the knife down slowly, ensuring that the 20-degree angle is maintained and that the blade slides from one end to the other. When you’re done doing this, all parts of your knife’s blade on one side will have come into contact with the steel. Remember, this needs to be a simple gliding motion and shouldn’t feel or sound like you’re destroying the knife’s blade.
Repeat the above steps around 8-10 times for both sides of the edge. After running both sides on the steel, it’s important to clear up all the microscopic remains left behind. Simply wipe both sides of the blade with a clean towel before you store the knife.
How to sharpen your knife
You only need to sharpen your knife just once a year. Slice a printer paper to see whether your knife needs sharpening or not. If it slices the sheet of paper easily, one of the best possible arguments is that you need not sharpen it.
You can get a professional to sharpen your knife for a small sum and if you own a really impressive, costly set of knifes, you should take this route. A professional really knows how to sharpen the edge to precision. If you’re a DIY individual, you can sharpen your knife at home but take care. You will need to buy a good whetstone—which will cost you at least $40.
Place the coarse side of the whetstone facing up on your wooden chopping board.
Hold the knife’s handle in your hand with the edge against the whetstone, tip first. Try to create a twenty two and a half degree angle.
Using your other hand, stabilize the blade.
With moderate pressure, glide the blade forward. Keep it smack against the stone and at a consistent angle.
Repeat 10 times, turn, and repeat the same action on the other side.
Repeat the same action on both sides using the whetstone’s fine grit side.
Hone the blade like above.
Rinse the knife with really hot water, wipe with a soft, dry cloth and put it away.
Further tips on how to look after your knives
Always sharpen the blades in a similar direction.
Keep the blades protected using a special container or knife block.
Never put knives in the dishwasher.
When using your knife to put food on the pot, do that with the knife’s dull side against your hand.
For foods bigger than tomatoes, use the chef’s knife with a 6-8 inch blade.
Use bamboo, wood, or special plastic cutting boards. Porcelain, marble, granite, glass, and other materials may damage the blade.
Knives are essential kitchen tools that need to be well taken care of. Do so and you will never have a dull moment.