Knife Care 101
Your knives are an investment and proper care will ensure you get the best value from that investment. Schmidt’s Knives has a few tips to help you keep your knife collection in top condition so you will always have the right tool for the job, no matter where your culinary efforts may take you.
Cleaning Your Knives, No Dishwashers
Never wash your knives in the dishwasher, since this can cause damage to both the blade and the handle. Instead, wash your knives by hand in warm, soapy dishwater. Do not leave knives in the water to soak, since this can also lead to rust and damage. After they are washed and rinsed thoroughly, dry them by hand using a soft cloth and return them to their storage location.
Carbon knives tend to rust much faster than stainless steel, which prohibits you from allowing them to air dry in a dishrack or on a drying mat. However, don’t have a false sense of security just because your knife is stainless – these knives can also develop rust and other types of damage from too much water. It is best to dry all knives as soon as they are washed, to keep the metal, blade and handle in top condition.
Rinse Lemon Or Acidic Juices Off Knives Shortly After Use
Acidic juices, including lemon juice, can be damaging to both stainless steel and carbon knives. If you use your knives to cut lemons, tomatoes or other acidic foods, make sure you wash, rinse and dry them thoroughly before putting them away. It is best to use your stainless steel knives when cutting acidic foods since carbon knives can be reactive with acidic foods and change their color, taste or scent .
Using Knives The Right Way
The way you use your knives will also extend their life expectancy. Never use a cutting board with your knife that is harder than the metal blade. This means you should stick with wood and plastic cutting boards that will protect your countertop without sacrificing your blade. Avoid cutting boards crafted of granite, marble or stone, since these surfaces can actually dull your blade.
The way in which you cut can also affect the longevity of your knife. If you chop foods with an up-and-down motion, you are more likely to dull your blade quicker. A better choice is to rock or slide your knife while chopping, keeping one end of the knife in contact with the cutting board at all times. This practice protects your knife from undue stress and saves your wrist as well. When you are scraping food off a cutting board, use the spine of the knife, rather than the blade, to keep your blade sharp and intact.
It is also important to use the right knife for the right job. Don’t try to use a paring knife to chop up a chicken, since you will be more likely to damage your knife. By the same token, don’t resort to using your knives for jobs they were never meant to do, such as prying open containers or breaking up ice blocks. There is a good chance your knife will never recover from the damage.
Knife Storage Pointers
Knives need to be stored in a way that protects the blade, which means not in a jumbled cutlery drawer with your other utensils. Instead, keep your knives in their own slots in a knife block or in a protective sheath. If you don’t have these storage options, a simple magnetic strip inside a cupboard door will allow for easy access and protect blades from damaging one another.
Knives also need to be honed and sharpened regularly, so it is important to understand what each of these tasks do and how to perform them properly. See our staying sharp for more information. Honing and sharpening keep your blades in top form, making your culinary endeavors more satisfying and much safer.
Many professional chefs recommend honing your knives before every use. The process is performed using a honing steel, which often is included with your knife set. The steel realigns the knife blade that has been subjected to microscopic bends in the metal through use. These bends cannot be seen, but you will know they are there because your knife will appear to get duller over time.
Honing straightens the blade, allowing it to cut more efficiently. The process will not actually sharpen the blade. Sharpening involves grinding metal off the edges of the blade and does not need to be performed nearly as frequently as honing.
Your knives will likely need to be sharpened once or twice a year, depending on your frequency of use. Restaurants typically sharpen their most popular knives every week or month, depending on the amount of business they do. Sharpening is important for both ensuring the best presentation of your food and the safety of your kitchen.
Sharpening is typically done on a stones or belt sander. While there are DIY tools for this purpose, many knife aficionados recommend professional online knife sharpening services to prevent damage to the knife during the sharpening process. These companies offer the highest quality of knife sharpening, as long as you choose a reputable business known for providing the best knife sharpening services available.
At Schmidt’s Knives, we are committed to the highest standard of care for your knives and service for you, our customer. Our company has taken online knife sharpening services to the next level, by giving special attention to every step of the mail-in sharpening process. From our specialty boxes for shipping to our fast service and secure payment options, you can rest assured your mail-in knife sharpening will be fast, easy and stress-free.
Proper care for your knives will ensure those essential tools remain in top condition for many years. To learn more about knife care or find out about your options in online knife sharpening, contact Schmidt’s Knives by completing our online contact form or calling us at 949-328-4016.