Tips for Caring for Kitchen Knives: Dos and Don'ts

Posted by Steven Tuckey on

In the kitchen, knives are more essential than any other utensil. You can complete the majority of culinary tasks using just this equipment. Kitchen knives are made to be fine slicers that swiftly, effortlessly, and effectively cut foodstuffs.

The first thing to understand is that your edge has a finite lifespan; the more surfaces it contacts, the shorter the lifespan. The blade will become dull with regular usage, but hard materials can accelerate the process considerably. However, abuse accounts for a large portion of kitchen edge dulling rather than normal use.

Let's look at how to prolong your kitchen knives' life and get the most use out of them. You'll discover several dos and don'ts for maintaining your kitchen knives and some mistakes that are frequently made. A good kitchen knife should last a lifetime—and frequently much longer—with appropriate maintenance.

Do Not Cut or Use the Edge to Anything Except Food

Kitchen knives are made exclusively to cut food; do not use them to cut ice, bone, or frozen meals. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that this will have the most impact on how long your edge lasts.

Use your knife carefully since it is narrow; if it were a cleaver, it would be much thicker. Limit the use of your standard household knives to little chopping and slicing.

Use a Cutting Board at All Times

Food should never be sliced on top of anything hard, especially something tougher than your knife. This applies to glass, granite, metal, and ceramic plates.

The contact between your knife's edge and the cutting board should be as gentle as possible. We'd chop food without cutting boards if we could; it'd be one less item to clean, and your knife-edge would last more. Since that isn't possible, your cutting board should, at the very least, be made of a material that won't harm your knife.

It would be best if you used a wooden or plastic cutting board. If your chopping board is soft enough to acquire scores (marks from the blade), that's a positive sign. If your scores are many or severe, you are cutting too forcefully and pasting the food into the surface, reducing the lifespan of your knife edge.

Cutting boards that are significantly scarred and cut should be replaced - or, if wooden, refinished. Bacteria thrive in environments like these.

To get the most out of your materials, consider plastic cutting boards for meats since they can be disinfected with bleach or washed in the dishwasher. Use hardwood cutting boards for loaves and veggies to reduce cross-contamination and limit bacterial development. Whatever materials you use, it's a good idea to have separate boards for meat and veggies.

Always push food off your board using the blade's spine to avoid dulling your knife edge. Note that the less touch your edge has, the more it will stay sharp -particularly with non-foods.

Corralling

Sweeping your knife across your board to scoop up your food, or twisting your knife after your cut to free the food from your blade, are collectively called 'corralling'. Whether you think you do it or not, most people develop this habit without knowing. Excessive sliding across the board on the blade edge will curl the cutting edge and eventually blunt it. Try to train yourself out of this nasty habit and your knives will thank you. 

If you need something to scoop up your ingredients, try using a pastry scraper instead.

Never Use the Dishwasher – Always Hand-wash Your Knives

Always hand-wash your knife, then towel it dry. Even though your knives may state they are "dishwasher safe," never clean them in the dishwasher. A knife marked as "dishwasher safe" solely refers to the handle's dishwasher safety.

Dishwasher use harms both the appliance and the knives. The knife's sharp edges slice your dishwasher's plastic and coated metal racks as they are pushed about by water. This could slash through the coating that protects your racks, resulting in corrosion and other damage.

Likewise, your knife may tumble off your other plates. Your blade edge will suffer damage from whatever it contacts.

Dishwashers spray hot water with sediment at your knife, dulling it. Knife handles can become damaged from heat and water exposure over time. Both liquid and granular detergents are frequently high alkaline soap solutions that can chemically harm the knife's thin edge, causing dulling.

Kitchen knives are stainless rather than stain-free. Compared to hand cleaning and drying, your knife is submerged in water for much longer in the dishwasher. Your knife will be more vulnerable to rusting the longer it is damp. Try to limit the time your knife is submerged in water to 2-3 minutes.

Store Your Knives Safely

For the same reasons that you shouldn't place blades in a dirty sink, you shouldn't keep your knives in the utensil drawer: it's risky for both the knife and other objects.

Instead, securely keep your knife on a magnet rack, in a knife block, or in a Blade Safe.

Knife Blocks – Be careful not to let the knife's edge touch the block while pulling it out or putting it back in. The knife will become dull as the edge rubs on the block.

To avoid dulling a knife's edge, store it with the blade edge up on a knife block with vertical grooves.

When purchasing knife blocks, ensure they are sturdy and won't tip over if knocked. A badly made knife block may cause the knives to spill across the counter, harming both you and the knives.

Magnet Strips – Magnets are useful since they keep your counter space free and are simple to clean. Keep the spine (back) of the knife in contact with the magnet bar while removing or putting it. Remove the spine first, then the blade edge side. When placing the knife on the bar, place the spine first, followed by the edge. You want to avoid coming into contact with the edge of the bar.

However, a magnet strip with surface magnets will be stronger and can handle larger blades; metal on metal isn't optimal for your knife, so be cautious while removing and replacing knives.

Knife Safes – A Blade Safe is a great device with a protective shell that snaps around your kitchen knife and makes it safe to store in a kitchen drawer. This is an excellent alternative for individuals who do not have enough counter space for a knife block or enough wall space for a magnet bar.

Use Some Mineral Oil to Protect Your Knives

A thin layer of food-grade mineral oil will prevent rust on your blade. Additionally, mineral oil will help make wooden handles last longer.

Make sure your mineral oil expressly specifies that it is food safe because some mineral oils are not. Food Grade Mineral Oil is reasonably priced and frequently available in stores.

Applying Oil: How Do You Do It?

A few drops on either side of the blade should suffice for an 8" kitchen knife. Spread the oil on the blade carefully using clean fingertips. Never run your finger over the edge; gently push away from it. Remove any extra by wiping.

Use enough oil to cover a hardwood handle entirely if it hasn't been resin-impregnated, and then let it soak in. After wiping away any excess, let it stay for 24 hours to thoroughly dry.

Let Your Knives Stay Sharp

One of the most crucial things to remember is to keep your blades sharp. Because it's less prone to create mishaps when attempting to cut anything, a sharp knife is considerably safer to use. Although most people are aware of this, it is still a common issue since, let's face it, sharpening knives may be a bit intimidating.

Most cooks advise you to whet your knives on a stone and hone them on a honing rod. For experts, a sharpening stone is arguably the best tool for the job. The issue is honing rods and sharpening stones require knowledge and expertise.

Final Words

We have discussed all the guidelines, rules, and do's in this post and certain don'ts you should avoid. If you wish to use knives safely in your kitchen, you must comply with these standards.

For a better knife experience, you should also adhere to specific cutting principles and procedures.

You only need to identify what you intend to use your knife for and follow the instructions we have provided above. Have fun cutting! 

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