The main purpose of a knife is to CUT. Sure they can add to the décor of a kitchen, but if they don’t do their job well, they are pointless and more dangerous. Since keeping them performing their best makes our prepping and cooking jobs easier for us, keeping them sharp is ideal.
- Store them somewhere they will not bang into each other or other utensils. Not only could that damage what they are banging in to, it can dull the knife edges.
- Washing without banging. This is similar to point #1. Lay them in the top rack of the dishwasher and put bowls or glasses on top of them. This will help them stay in place and not bang around while the machine runs. If washing by hand, I’d recommend not throwing them in a sink with a lot of other things (for both your safety and theirs). They are so easy to clean, simply rinsing, wiping with a soapy cloth or sponge, and rinsing again is adequate.
- Use the proper tool for the job. If you use a paring knife (for example) to cut everything, that one knife will dull quickly. If you spread the use among all of your knives, they each stay sharp longer. Also, using knives for jobs they aren’t designed for puts unnecessary strain on that blade. For example, using a thin chopping knife for bones can dull or break the blade.
- Soft plastic cutting boards. The cutting surface is what dulls blades – more so than the food being cut. Cutting on glass, marble, ceramic or similar is promoted as sanitary but is also very hard on blades. The hardest woods can have similar effects. A softer wood (though not as sanitary, because once cut, juices can be absorbed further into the wood) is a good choice as long as you take important precautions. A hard plastic can even be hard on the edges. My top choice is a soft plastic like polypropylene. It gives away enough so your edges won’t dull quickly, it is plastic so it won’t absorb, and it’s easy to clean by scrubbing or throwing in the dishwasher.
- Straight edge sharpener. Touching up your straight edges with a sharpener will help keep them working nicely. How often you need to do it depends on how often you use them, how you use them, and the level of quality of the knives. CUTCO’s steel is high quality and tempered for edge retention, so running them through a sharpener 2-3 times a year should be enough. Since it is based on individual use, though, just remember that anytime you feel they are not cutting as well as they once did, that is a good time to use your sharpener.
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