Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Knives and Sharpening

Here's a little information on knives...
Good quality knives can last a long time if cared for properly!

  • After using your knives wash, dry, and put them away. You'll prevent damage to them as well as other people.
  • Never wash knives in the dishwasher, as this can also hurt knives (the force of water can dull the knife, the chemicals in the detergent can stain the steel) - they should be washed by hand.
  • Soaking knives in water can also damage knives by causing the blade to separate from the handle.
  • Hard cutting boards (marble, glass) will cause knives to dull faster than those made of plastic (polyethylene) or wood.
  • Keep knives sharp*! You'll prevent injuries with a sharper knife because you'll have decreased "drag" and the necessary force required to get the job done will be less. Sharp knives also decrease the amount of tears when chopping onions (the sharper your knife, the less you cry...). Onions have a compound in them that is released in the air more readily when crushed (which is what happens with a dull knife). I've heard that this compound is stronger in the root end of the onion, so cut it last. However, I read somewhere that if you find that you need to cut many onions you should burn a candle close by because the compound will be incinerated before it reaches you eyes. I've not yet tried this one, but I really should... I just never remember when I'm cutting onions.
*To sharpen knives use a stone or a steel. I had a video that stars Mr. Personality, Gordon Ramsay, but it's unable to be shared because whoever put the video on YouTube didn't want it shared so easily (here's the address if you want it).

So, here's another I can put on... not my favorite of all time, but it's something.

If you're not comfortable with sharpening knives either start slowly, or don't do it at all. Although it's definitely a useful skill to have! The only way I've ever sharpened is with a steel, so this works for me if I ever need a better edge. I should probably pull out the stone and practice it...

Knives should be professionally sharpened on occasion as steel and stones straighten the bits of blade that are a bit out of whack, but don't really give a totally new edge you would need. Serrated knives should be professionally sharpened!

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