Care for your knives
Basic kitchen skills - Caring for knives
I don't know about you, but I'm always looking to learn new skills that make life easy in the kitchen. Sharing is caring so I'm sharing my little tips, tricks and hacks with you.
It may surprise you, but blunt knives are dangerous. Why? Dull knives require a greater amount of pressure to cut and are far more likely to slip and end up cutting you.
Keeping your knives sharp is important and so is investing in a sharpener to keep your knives in top condition.
Firstly, let's talk about honing and sharpening
Honing involves a steel, honing is how you straighten and centre the edge of your knife, it doesn't sharpen the knife, it just corrects the knife.
Sharpening involves filing the edge of the knife to create a sharp edge; you can use a water stone or sharpener.
So why do you need a sharp knife? Are blunt knives really more dangerous?
The answer yes and yes. Sharp knives cut into food, it will not slide off, so you need less pressure to cut which also means the blade won't move around and is far less likely to end up with you needing a plaster or stitches
Keeping the edge of your blades sharp means that you need less force to cut, and this is an excellent thing.
Which sharpener is best for you?
When you choose a sharpener you should look for the best one you can afford, find one that suits your needs and is easy to use. If you are like me and use your knives every day having a sharpener that is easy and fast to use is important to me.
Before you choose a sharpener, it’s good to know what the options are available to you
- Manual knife sharpeners
- Electric knife sharpeners
- Sharpening stones
Manual knife sharpeners
These come in lots of different shapes and sizes, some are used horizontally or vertically, and they generally require little effort to use. All you need to do is pull the knife through the sharpener to straighten the blade and leave the knife edge sharp. Here are a few that are available on the market
- Circulon Two Stage Sharpener
- Anolon Knife Sharpener
- Kleva Sharp Knife Sharpener available from The Warehouse
Electric Knife Sharpeners
Some people believe that electric sharpeners are the best option when it comes to sharpeners. Here in New Zealand most of the electric sharpeners are expensive and can be found in hunting and fishing stores. Electric sharpeners are a great option if you have a little more money to spend and want a hassle-free sharpening experience. Here are a few that are available on the market
- ANGLER'S MATE 240V
- SHUN ELECTRIC SHARPENER
- Electric Knife Sharpener 230V
There is a broad range of sharpening stones available; they are like sand paper, different grits give you different finishes. Using a stone to sharpen your knives takes some skill so it will take time and practice to sharpen your knives. Here are a few that are available on the market
- Lansky Double-Sided Diamond Bench Stone DB-2860
- Buck Edgetek 2-Sided Diamond Sharpening Stone - 97076-B
- Arkansas Combination Sharpening Stone - AC70
Before you buy a sharpener, make sure you are getting something that will suit your needs and your budget.
So what else do you need to know about caring for your knives
Cut on the right surface
Another important thing to remember about keeping your knives in good condition is to make sure you use your knives on the right surfaces, never use glass, metal, or hard plastic cutting boards, never chop directly on your countertop. That is a sure way to ruin your knives. Using the right surface will protect the edge of your blades and means you will not damage your countertop.
Washing and drying your knives
After using your knives washing them and drying them is a significant step. If you have gone through the effort to protect your knife-edge and made sure it is sharp you don't want to have your knives bashing around in the dishwashers or rolling around in the sink with the dishes. I would recommend that you hand wash each of your knives in hot soapy water and dry them straight away, this will prevent the blades from getting bashed around in the sink or the handles warping in the dishwasher. If you do use a dishwasher to clean your knives put them in the top of the dishwasher, make sure that they are not going to bang around while the washer is running.
How to store them
Whatever you do, don’t put your knives next to other utensils, this is will damage your knives. I recommend that you store your knives in a knife block to keep your knives separated and protected. If you are going to store your knives in a draw it is a good idea to put your knives in protective sheaths, you can buy these or make your own from cardboard.