A knife is an essential kitchen tool. Most households use it for preparing food. You might be able to get by with a dull knife while cutting vegetables, but a sharp knife is critical when carving certain food items such as meat.
A dull knife can prove to be dangerous. You will need to exert more force to cut an item. You can even lose your grip while holding onto the knife. And if you lose control of your knife, you could accidentally cut yourself or even someone else.
A dull knife will interfere with food preparation because it compresses the food. A properly sharpened blade is efficient, allowing for exact and precise cuts. When you cut your food into similar sized pieces, it will cook more uniformly. This technique allows for better looking and better-tasting food.
A kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.
If you were to examine a knife under a microscope, you would see that the edge of a knife is composed of thousands of tiny, cutting teeth. After each use, these teeth will become misaligned. This misalignment results in a dull and ineffective knife. Honing, or sharpening your knife will renew your cutting edge once more.
There are many ways to sharpen a knife. Each way serves a specific purpose. No matter what method you use, make sure to sharpen both sides of the knife. You will also want to hold your knife at an optimal angle against a surface to ensure a perfectly sharpened blade. Here are some different types of knife sharpeners that you might want to know about.
The Ceramic Plate
If you don’t own any traditional knife sharpeners, this smart trick will help you out. The back side of a ceramic plate is actually the perfect surface for knife sharpening! Do not fear that you will destroy your plate.
First, secure the plate. Make sure that it does not slip from your hands. After doing so, use the back-and-forth motion as if you were using a stone. Even the rough area on the bottom of a coffee mug will be sufficient to sharpen your dull knife.
The Electric Sharpener
While there are many sophisticated electric knife sharpeners on the market, it turns out that you may not need any of them. Even though the electric sharpener will complete the task faster than a stone, it is known to be one of the worst tools for knife longevity.
An electric knife sharpener is one of the quickest ways to sharpen your knife. It usually contains two to three grinding wheels with various levels of coarseness.
To sharpen your knife, place the blade in the slot provided. Then slide the knife through the slot at a fifteen to twenty-degree angle. Pass the edge through twice on each side. Now repeat the process on the finer grit stones. Finally, rinse your knife and dry it. Be sure to store it safely.
Since an electric knife sharpener uses motorized components that chip away at your blade during the sharpening process, it may wear away your knife more quickly. It does sharpen swiftly and efficiently, though. If you have an inexpensive knife, you can use an electric sharpener. For more expensive cutlery, consider using a sharpening stone.
The Steel Sharpener
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A sharpening steel is a long thin rod that is used to sharpen a knife that is already sufficiently sharpened. It will enable you to give your knife some extra cutting force. A steel sharpener is a handy tool that you can use for daily maintenance.
To use a sharpening steel, hold it in one hand and your knife in the other. You would begin by applying pressure and making a sweeping motion across the steel. You want to hone your entire blade from base to tip. By using this simple technique, you can sharpen your knife in no time!
The Stone Sharpener
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While a stone sharpener isn’t necessary for everyday maintenance, it’s best to use it when your knife is sufficiently dull. A stone sharpener is an appropriate tool to use on occasion. It is not necessary for everyday maintenance. You may want to utilize it every week or every month after you notice that your knife is dull.
A sharpening stone is both reliable and durable. It produces a sharp blade that is flawless when adequately sharpened. Even though it is not the fastest method of sharpening your knife, it provides for a flat blade that uniformly cuts through almost anything. The edges are refined as you apply pressure against the surface of the stone.
There are three types of sharpening stones. In contrast to an electric knife sharpener, a stone will allow for greater control of the sharpening of your knife. It is not as abrasive to use a stone. Each of them has its pros and cons, as detailed below.
These stones are available in fine, medium, and coarse grits. Coarse grits can leave deep gouges. If you are an inexperienced sharpener, you might want to work with finer grits when you begin.
With diamond stones, you can use water to wash away any metal filling created during sharpening. These are known to be extremely durable. You can also use them dry if you prefer. While diamond stones are generally a bit more expensive; you can find some more affordable ones on the market.
These stones require oil application before each use. It will prevent the particles that chip from the blades from remaining on the stone. By lubricating it, you will preserve the life of the stone and ensure optimal efficiency.
An oil stone lasts a long time because they are silicon or aluminum oxide. Coarse and medium grits will serve to remove the edges of the blade very quickly. However, you must purchase oil to use them. Also, some say that the oil can make their use a bit challenging.
These stones have fine and coarse grit, one on each side of the stone. It is not as affordable as some of the other sharpening methods, but it provides a superior result. First, submerge the stone in cold water for five to ten minutes. Place it on a non-slip base with the coarse side facing you and the short side parallel with your body. Hold the knife at a twenty-degree angle and run it back and forth across the stone.
When used correctly, the whetstone allows for an extremely sharp blade. Some have said that they are considered less durable than other stones on the market.
The Professional Sharpener
If you don’t feel entirely comfortable learning these techniques, you can always seek the assistance of a professional. Your local knife sharpening specialist will be an excellent resource for you and can answer any questions that you might have. They will know more about cutlery and can select the appropriate knife sharpener for the task.
Also, depending on what type of knife you need to sharpen, you may need to consult with a professional. Any knives such as serrated or scalloped knives will need to be sharpened by an experienced professional. These types of knives require special care.
Checking Your Knife Blade
After completing the sharpening process, you will want to evaluate if your knife is ready for use. You may want to check the blade against your thumb, but we do not recommend this! Here are two separate tests for evaluating the sharpness of a blade
The Tomato Test
Use a chef or paring knife and attempt to slice through a ripened tomato. If your knife slides easily through the skin, then it is sharp enough. It not, you may want to try honing the knife with steel.
The Paper Test
If you do not have a tomato available, the paper test is a good alternative. Take a piece of computer or construction paper. Begin at the very top of the paper and try to slice your knife through the entire sheet. If it cuts easily, then you can tell that your knife is sharp and ready for use.
Keeping Your Knife Sharp
After taking the time to sharpen your knife correctly, you will want to ensure that the sharpness will last for some time. There are several things you should do to keep your blade sharp.
Primarily, you should always use a cutting board. By using a cutting board instead of other surfaces, you will ensure that your knife blade stays sharp. While you can cut items on marble countertops or even glass surfaces a few times, you should not make this routine. These types of surfaces actually dull your cutlery very quickly.
I feel like a princess with a knife. I've wanted to be an Iron Chef forever.
Washing your knife in the dishwasher will also dull the blade over time. You should know that dishwasher detergent is especially harsh on cutlery. You should clean your knife with dish soap and hot water instead. Dry the knife completely with your dish towel and then store it away safely.
Additionally, it is not advisable to store your knife with other kitchen items such as whisks, tongs, and spoons. If you do store your knife in such a drawer, a knife block or a magnetic knife strip will be helpful to protect your knife blade.
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A knife is an essential tool for food preparation. A properly sharpened knife allows for precise cuts. When you cut your food uniformly, it will look more aesthetically pleasing. It will also cook well for a better taste. If you regularly use a dull knife, be sure to sharpen it. Having a dull knife can be dangerous
As you can see, there are many options to choose from, from stone to steel. Try to avoid electric sharpeners if your knife is exceptionally high quality. Remember, you can always use a ceramic plate if you do not have anything on hand. Feel free to consult with an experienced professional.
Knowing how to use a knife sharpener properly is essential when it comes to kitchen cutlery. Learning this basic technique will be worth your time and effort in the long run.