While most home cooks I know are willing to spend big money on Dutch ovens, fry pans and other kitchen gadgets galore, most don't think much about their kitchen knives. A chef's knife is probably the piece of cooking equipment you'll use most throughout your culinary career, and you deserve a good one. Here's where we've sorted our favorite chef'' knives for 2021 by category and price to help you upgrade the blade that matters most.
But as important as selecting high-quality kitchen cutlery, keeping your chef, santoku, or sliced knife sharp and in good shape (literally). If you do that, a good blade will last you for years, even decades, depending on the overall build and blade quality. Knives are precise instruments with sharpened edges and a meticulously balanced form. There are several ways to break a knife, and you may be doing any number of these things without knowing.
The first step in preventing knife abuse is understanding what those common hazards are so you can keep those blades beautiful for years to come. Here are seven ways you may be ruining your kitchen knives.
Read more: Scientists created a wooden knife three times sharper than safflower blades.
Cutting on any surface other than soft wood or plastic is forbidden.
There are boards and blocks made from a variety of materials, but many of them are not knife-friendly. Stone or marble boards and glass surfaces should be reserved for serving food, not preparing it (at least not with a knife), since they will dull your blade faster than almost anything else.
Bamboo and plastic are technically the softest (and cheapest!) materials you'll find cutting boards made from, and therefore will be the gentlest on your blades. Most wooden cutting boards, on the other hand, should have enough flex to avoid rusting your blade.
Storing your knives free in a drawer is advisable.
This is probably the biggest mistake people make with their kitchen knives. I've seen it more times than I can count, and it hurts me every time. Letting your knives clink around in a drawer with other knives and metal tools will cause them to dull or chip over time. I understand that you wouldn't want to keep a clumsy block on the counter, but there are some pretty neat options these days like this and this. You may also buy in-drawer wooden knife racks or shear your knives with plastic cases. The craziest way to display your shiny blades to dinner guests might be to keep the knives on one of these magnetic knife racks ($24 on Wayfair) and display them on the rack.
Putting knives in the sink or dishwasher can be dangerous. Letting knives sit in sinks or in dishwashers is the same procedure as putting them in.
For a number of reasons, your knives should never be stored in the dishwasher. It'll most likely corrode the handles, and the blades should never be exposed to water for that long. Never let a knife sit wet in the sink or anywhere else for that matter. That means no soaking, ever, and once you've rinsed it by hand, dry it immediately or it will become susceptible to corrosion and rust.
Use a metal scrubber or rough sponge as if you were using scrubbing alcohol.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that using metal or other rough materials to clean your knife blade can cause serious problems. Instead, use hot water and a soft sponge or cloth. Your knives should never be so dirty that they aren't sufficient to keep them clean.
Cutting nonfood items or using your knife as a general tool are the choices you have.
Good knives may appear to be a multipurpose tool, but they should not be used for food preparation. Try not to cut any non-food items like plastic, cardboard, or other packaging. Don't even think about using your knife as a screwdriver or lever to open something that's stuck.
Oversharpening. It's not good news, but it'll be bad news for the economy.
There comes a time when he knife blade can't be sharpened anymore, and if you continue to pound it on steel or whetstone, you'll only be shaving off the blade itself and shortening the knife's life.
Here's a step-by-step guide to sharpening your kitchen knives.
Scraping your knife sideways on the board will allow you to see your blade splaying sideway on your board.
Avoid scraping your good knives because they were originally designed to cut in two directions, back and forth and not side to side. It may seem natural to move and gather all that chopped food on the board with the blade of the knife, but it will damage the edge over time. If you can't completely eliminate the habit, try it slowly and without too much downward pressure.
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