8 Things You Can Do to Make Kitchen Knives Last Longer2014 March 11 | Words by Sharee Narciso |
Knife abuse happens more often than we’d like to think – and you’ve got to admit that you’ve done it, too, at some point. Kitchen knives are among the most basic and essential tools in cooking and preparing food – and if there’s anything we’ve learned from celebrity chefs, it’s that there’s nothing more dangerous than a blunt knife. And unlike what most might think, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the dullness and bluntness of a knife than just time and overuse. Read on – you might be shocked to find out that your long-time kitchen habits are actually detrimental to your knives’ health.
8 Tips on Knife Care
Follow these 8 no-nonsense tips for handling and caring for your knives to make sure that they’ll last sharper for longer:
#1: Know Which Knife to Use
The common problem that happens with knives is mishandling and misusing them – for instance, as a general rule, you should only use a chef’s knife (usually with a 15-20 cm blade) for food items bigger than a tomato. For anything smaller than a tomato, use a paring knife. Of course, there are a lot of other knife types with their own uses, too. Wikipedia summarises the types of knives used as kitchen utensils.
#2: The Back VS the Edge
A lot of us have grown used to handling our knives for many purposes and functions besides chopping and slicing. For one, we often use the knife when transferring food from your chopping board to a plate or frypan. The mistake here is using the sharpened edge of the knife for this purpose. You should never do this because the edge will get blunt and dull. Instead, use the back of the knife, since this part isn’t used for cutting and slicing.
#3: Soaking Knives in the Sink
NEVER leave your knives in the kitchen sink – and more so, never leave them soaked in the kitchen sink. First of all, this proposes an open hazard to the person who is going to wash the dishes. But more importantly, soaking knives in the sink is bad for the knives themselves. The blade can be scratched and the tip can break or bend. Instead, make it a habit of washing the knife as soon as you’re done using it, dry it immediately, and store it in a safe place.
#4: Storing Knives in Drawers
Speaking of storing knives in a safe place, here’s another common mistake: keeping kitchen knives with other utensils in the drawer. By throwing kitchen knives in just about any drawer can expose the blade from being jostled around, thus making it prone to breaking, and getting dented and scratched. Even worse, you might cut yourself accidentally while looking for your knife or dislodging a utensil especially if the drawer is really crowded.
So, what do you do? Knife blocks are the safest choice. But if the utensil drawer is the only place where you can really store your knives, then be sure to use a knife sheath to guard the blade. Even with the knife sheath, you would want to remain cautious when handling sharp utensils.
#5: Knives in the Dishwasher
NEVER wash knives in the dishwasher. The knife can get dinged during the wash cycle, and you wouldn’t want this for your knives. As we said earlier, the best practice would be to wash your knives by hand and drying them immediately afterwards.
#6: Knives in the Dish Rack or Utensil Bin
If we haven’t said it enough, it is ideal to dry them immediately after washing. Drying them in the dish rack together with other utensils and dishes runs the risk of dulling the blade, because the blade shares such close space with other items in the utensil bin. The knife’s tip can break or be damaged, and of course, there’s the risk of you cutting yourself.
#7: Storing Knives Without Drying
Knife blocks, as mentioned a while ago, are a great way to store knives safely without the risk of damaging them or other utensils. These also provide security from accidental cuts.
However, if you store knives in their block after washing without drying them thoroughly, there is a likelihood of mildew and mold formation over time. The risk is doubled for knives with wooden handles. This is without a doubt very unsanitary and dangerous for your health.
So remember to always dry your knives properly before storing.
#8: Cutting Without a Board
Cutting boards and chopping blocks exist for a reason. So, you can do whatever you like – just don’t cut on any surface aside from your cutting board. Your countertop, whether it’s marble or granite, is not suitable for the knife’s blade.
Be sure to invest in a good, solid cutting board. Wooden cutting boards are ideally the best choice because they have enough “give” that is important to prevent your blade from getting dull.