A good kitchen knife is expensive, but it will last for years when you treat it right. Proper care will keep it sharp, free of dings and able to slice through the toughest of foods.
Good knives are essential tools for the cook, so important they are like another hand. To help you breeze through your cutting chores, here are tips from experienced cooks to help you use, clean and store your knives.
Keep Knives Sharp
Wood cutting boards work best as a cutting surface, providing a gentle surface that doesn’t damage the knife. They also provide a solid, stable material that won’t slip. Wood is self-healing, so it won’t scar easily. It also resists bacteria buildup, a major problem with plastic.
The best wood cutting boards are made from hardwoods like maple and cherry. Though bamboo is a popular and inexpensive alternative, it has a surface that is about 20% harder.
Bamboo also has small grooves along its surface, which can catch slightly on your blade as you cut, which can interfere with a smooth, uninterrupted cutting action.
Avoid plastic, which collects bacteria and develops tiny scars that shred into your food and make the surface next to impossible to clean thoroughly.
Never cut on marble, porcelain, glass or granite. These materials are much too hard, causing nicks and dulling to your knife blade.
Keep Knives Clean
Never drop a dirty knife in the kitchen sink. Knives can easily get scratched when left there. The blade can bend or even break when it jostles with other dishware and gadgets. It is also unsafe for the person washing the dishes.
Clean your knives by hand and dry them immediately to prevent mold and mildew. Mild detergent and hot water work best.
They don’t do well in the dishwasher. It is too easy for them to develop scratches, tiny cuts and dings from spray action in the wash cycle.
Rinse your knife often while using it. Run hot water over it and dry it to get rid of food particles, which makes smooth cutting more difficult.
Store Them Safely
The utensil drawer is the worst possible place to store a kitchen knife. Mixing it in with silverware and utensils makes it easy for the surface to get scratched and chipped.
The only exception is if your knife came with a knife sheath. This provides ample protection, so you can go ahead and store it with other kitchen tools.
Otherwise, use a knife rack. Magnetic racks mounted on the wall work well, and help to keep them out of the reach of children. Another choice is a knife block with slots to set individual knives when not in use.
The greater the care you take with your knives, the longer they will last and the better cutting job they will do for you