Cooking Knives

 

If you're anything like I used to be, I had no idea that cooking knives needed special care. I used and abused my very first knife set, a cheap, crappy one from Walmart (note: whatever you do, do not buy a cheap knife set), treating them no differently than regular utensils because I didn't know better.

But now that I am using quality knives and am more educated about my cutlery, I want them to last as long possible, perhaps for the rest of my life if I'm lucky.

Follow these guidelines to keep your knives in the best condition possible:

- Never put knives in the dishwasher. Whoops. I used to do all of the time because I didn't know better and was too lazy to hand wash them. Even if your knives say "dishwasher safe" and you're still not convinced, here are a few reasons not to put them in there according to Professional Cutlery Direct:
1. The sharp edges can damage the rubber coating of the dishwasher baskets, eventually allowing the metal underneath to rust.
2. Other items in the dishwasher can strike the knife edge, damaging the knife or other items.
3. If you stick a knife in a dishwasher and it sits for a while, food can cause damage and pitting to the blade.
4. Plastic handles may be discolored by detergents, and wooden ones are damaged by soaking.
5. Hot and cold cycles may change the temper of the steel, causing brittleness.

- Always use a cutting board (wood or plastic, not glass) when using your knives. This may seem like a no-brainer because you don't want to damage surfaces when you're cutting. But a cutting board also protects your knife. If you use it against a hard surface like glass, metal or ceramic (come on, I know we've all cut on plates before when we were too lazy to get out the cutting board. Admit it!), it will unnecessarily dull your knives. Take a few extra minutes to get out your cutting board, even if it's a quick job.

- Store them in a wooden knife block, in sleeves or in a compartmentalized drawer.  Don't throw them in a drawer where they will be clanging around with other knives and utensils. I use a magnetic rack and it's very handy.

- Do not use your knife as a screwdriver, chisel or other tool. Again, this may seem like a no-brainer, but I have been guilty of using the end of a knife as a hammer from time to time, not a wise idea.

Of course, if you're using a cheap cooking knife set, you might not care. But why are you still using that set? If you invest in a few nice knives, or at the very least, a decent chef's knife, I promise, it will make your life in the kitchen so much easier. You can find some good deals (and free shipping specials) at Metro Kitchen and Excalibur Cutlery and Gifts.

 


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