Ever shy away from a sharp knife because you were afraid to cut yourself? What I’m about to tell you may seem confusing, but it’s actually the dull knife that will cut you more often than the sharp one.
A dull knife requires you to use more pressure when cutting which creates a greater chance of having the blade slip, and with such great pressure being applied you won’t be able to control where it goes (which is almost always into our skin.) Ouch!
Here are the top activities that dull your knives:
- Using your knives to open or break down boxes.
- Put your knives in the dishwasher (always hand wash and dry them immediately).
- Storing them willy-nilly in a drawer where they get beat up by other utensils. If this is how you store your knives, you also run the risk of cutting yourself when you go digging in that drawer.
- –> Instead, use a magnetic strip or a knife block.
- Cutting on non-cutting board surfaces; Don’t cut on stone, glass or bamboo.
- You’re using the blade of your knife to scrape up ingredients from the cutting board. (G
- Flip the knife over and use the flat spine side or use a pastry scraper.
Perhaps you’ve been using the same knives over and over again for years or doing one of the no-no’s above and don’t even realize they are dull. So how do you know if your blades are in need of a little love?
The tomato test is a simple way to see if your knives are sharp. According to Cooking light, here’s the best way to perform this simple test:
1) Place a beefsteak tomato on a cutting board with the stem facing up
2) Balance your knife on the top of the tomato without applying any pressure.
3) Pull the knife back towards you and do not press down.
If your blade penetrates the skin of the tomato, you have a sharp knife and should rejoice. But don’t fret if the knife fails to make anything but a dent in your tomato … we’ve all bee
So, if your knife failed the test (many of mine did too!) there are a couple of options for you: a honing steel and, of course, actual knife sharpening.
A honing steel is a handy tool for those in-between sharpenings that can help correct your knife and bring the blade back to a sharper state. Basically it helps to keep the steel straight by gently guiding the knife edge along the steel at an angle, though it doesn’t really sharpen the knife. I found this great video from House of Knives that show in a very simple manner how to use the honing steel.
For most home cooks I think you’ll find it easier to just have your knives professionally sharpened. Check out your local farmers markets and restaurant supply stores to find a service near you. I’ve also read that Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table both offer knife sharpening for just $5 per knife and the first one is free if you bought it there.
Once a year sharpening will do the trick for most…depending on how you use them.