Chances are if you’ve just purchased a high quality, professional knife set you’ll want to learn how to use it properly and how to best care for it to ensure it will last you many years.
The following article will detail some great tips on caring for your best knife sets and how to ensure they stay working efficiently and effectively.
These tips include using the right knife for the job, general knife care and safety, and how to properly sharpen your knives.
Using the Right Knife for the Job
If you’ve recently purchased your best knife set, it likely includes numerous knives that you aren’t even sure what to do with. While knives such as the bread knife and steak knife are fairly simple to figure out, other knives such as a utility knife and paring knife can be a little trickier.
The Chef’s knife comes in almost every one of the best knife sets and can potentially be used for any purpose in the kitchen. Indeed, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you do not have a large selection of knives to choose from, a chef’s knife will get you through most anything. However, a chef’s knife is most often used for cutting, slicing, and deboning smaller cuts of meat.
Likely your best knife set came with at least one utility knife. These knives, so called for their great utility can be used for a number of tasks. Generally these knives are smaller than chef’s knives but larger than paring knives. They are often called sandwich knives as they are the perfect size for cutting food products such as meats, vegetables, and cheeses.
Smaller than a utility knife and often used in food preparation, best knife sets usually come with a paring knife. This knife is excellent for peeling, cutting, and cleaning fruits and vegetables. In addition, a good paring knife can be used for preparing meats.
If you don’t want to use a paring knife for peeling vegetables, a peeling knife is specifically designed for this purpose. The peeling knife features a curved blade making it optimal for peeling all assortments of fruits and vegetables.
In addition to the basic knives above, many of the best knife sets will come with a variety of other knives each with an individual purpose. This can include carving knives for carving large cuts of meat, fillet knives for filleting fish, cheese knives designed specifically for cutting cheese, boning knives that are flexible for separating meat from bone, and other knives for almost any function you’ll perform in the kitchen.
General Knife Care and Safety
If you’ve invested in your now best knife set, the following safety and care tips will serve you well in the kitchen and can prevent damage to both your knives and your fingers and hands.
- Take care to wash your best knife set separately from other kitchenware. Often time’s knives can get banged up and hidden if they are in a sink with other dishes. This can result in damage to the blade and handle as well as increasing the chance that you’ll grab the blade and cut yourself.
- By using the correct knife for the job you are ensuring both your safety and the extension of your blade’s life. Certain knives are designed specifically for certain tasks. For instance, don’t use a paring knife as a boning knife. Boning knives are specially designed to be flexible to get around the bone and using a paring knife for this purpose can result in a dull blade and the chance of slipping causing cuts to your fingers and hands.
- Storing your best knife set properly is essential to keeping your blades performing efficiently and effectively. Don’t simply toss your high quality blades in a draw filled with all your other kitchen tools. This will result in dings, scratches and other imperfections in your blade that can reduce its life. In addition, this can result in cuts if you were to reach into the draw and not notice your sharp blade.
- Although it should be common sense – never attempt to catch a falling blade. Sure, you don’t want to drop your best knife set on the floor but attempting to catch it can result in serious damage to yourself.
- Keeping your knives sharp is likely one of the best tips to keeping your best knife sets it working order and keeping you safe. A sharp knife requires less pressure and is less likely to slip thereby preventing cuts. Keeping your blade sharp is essentially to long lasting blades for your best knife set.
Sharpening Your Knife
As mentioned, keeping best knife sets sharp will decrease the chances of injuries and result in a better performing knife. With a sharp knife, you’ll more likely enjoy working with it and enjoyment is one of the best parts of cooking.
Sharpening a knife doesn’t have to be difficult so long as you have the right tool for the job. The first step to sharpening your best knife set is to purchase high quality sharpening steel. Often the best knife sets will come with one or will come with a self-sharpening knife block.
Once you have good sharpening steel you’ll want to place the blade on it at the top at a twenty degree angle. From there, you’ll want to pull the blade down the sharpening steel forming a slight arc ensuring that the full blade receives contact with the steel. You’ll need to perform this action five to ten times on each side of the blade.
When sharpening your best knife sets the first couple of times you’ll want to maintain a slow speed. Speed has no importance in sharpening the blade while a consistent angle and smooth motion is essential to proper sharpening. Don’t worry about how fast professional chefs can sharpen their blades – they’ve had years of experience. With time you’ll become faster and more proficient at sharpening your best knife sets and by learning to do it properly from the beginning you’ll ensure a long life and sharp blades for your quality best knife set.