Knife Care 101
Knives are the most used items in kitchens. Commercial kitchens and restaurants are well aware of the importance of knives in their operations, which only makes the lack of attention paid to them by home cooks more baffling. Perhaps this is because home cooks don’t realize the one thing that professional chefs take for granted: knives are fragile.
Surprised? Don’t be. Did you ever stop to think that every time your knife edge makes contact with food, a plate or a cutting board, it gets a bit duller? Imagine how much damage is done to that poor blade by hundreds or even thousands of cuts? Luckily, we’ve put together Knife Care 101, a set of do’s and don’ts that will help every home cook keep their knives in tip-top shape.
Tip #1: Keep Your Knives Sharp
Don’t keep using your knife if it takes a lot of force to cut your food.
Tip #2: Use a Honing Rod
Don’t confuse honing with sharpening. Honing realigns the edge, while sharpening removes a bit of material to create a new edge.
Do hone your knives often, preferably on a good ceramic hone (we like the Cooks Standard Professional Ceramic Honing Steel). If a knife gets used every day in your kitchen, we suggest honing it at least once a day. It only takes a few seconds to hone a knife! Here’s a short video that demonstrates the easy honing method we use (we swipe about 6 times per side) :
Tip #3: Choose the Right Cutting Board
Don’t choose a board made of hard material such as glass or marble. The materials are almost as hard as steel, and have no give. They will quickly dull even the best blades.
Do choose plastic or wood cutting boards. Softer wood is better for your knife, but less durable. Teak, walnut or bamboo are good choices. Plastic cutting boards have the added convenience of being dishwasher-safe.
Tip #4: Forget the Dishwasher
Don’t put knives in your dishwasher. Knife edges can be dulled or even damaged when they bang around in a dishwasher.
Do hand-wash your knife blade with a sponge or cloth, reaching around from behind the spine of the knife. We also recommend hand-drying your knives immediately after washing them.
Tip #5: Store Knives the Right Way
Don’t toss your knives in drawers. Loose knives can be damaged by being jostled around, and it is dangerous to risk striking your hand against a knife while reaching for a kitchen tool in a drawer.
Tip #6: Careful With Carcasses
Do use a cleaver, or keep an inexpensive back-up knife for such purposes.
Tip #7: Avoid Frozen Goods
Don’t cut frozen foods. Not only can it damage your edge, it’s extremely dangerous since the knife can slip.
Do defrost food before attempting to cut it. Or at least cook it first!