Get Sharp: Knife 101

Every kitchen should have the following:

Chef’s knife (8-10 inch) for chopping, slicing and dicing.(I like a Santoku)
Serrated knife (8-10 inch) for bread, squash, roasts -and chocolate!
Paring knife (3-4 inch) for peeling, coring and small slicing jobs
Boning knife for boning meats – and for peeling melons!
Kitchen shears
Sharpening steel

What to look for:
Comfort: how does it feel in your hand? Is the handle comfortable? Does it have a secure grip? Does the knife feel balanced? Is it light weight enough to prevent tiring on big jobs.
Construction: Is the bolster deep enough to protect your fingers when cutting?
Quality: like anything, buy the best you can afford. A good knife can last forever if it’s properly cared for.

How to clean:
Hand wash in hot soapy water. Don’t put them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher can warp the knife and damage the handle. Wash and dry each knife separately.

How to store:
Store knives in a block or an in-drawer knife rack. A knife sheath can be used, too.
(Don’t buy a pre-filled block. Buy your knives one at a time, making sure each is comfortable for you.

How to sharpen:
Even a good knife will lose some of its sharpness with time. However, sharpening a knife is easy if you have a steel. (Note- it’s not necessary to do this with great speed. You can place the tip of the steel on a kitchen towel for steadiness if preferred)
Place the knife blade against the tip of the sharpening steel at a 20 degree angle
Pull the knife down and across the steel, in a slight arc.
Repeat on the back of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade.
Repeat five to ten times, alternating the left and right side of the blade.

Knife Safety:
NEVER catch a falling knife! Step back and watch it fall.
NEVER leave a knife in a sink of soapy water or in a sink of dishes, where it can unwittingly be grabbed by the blade. (NEVER cover a knife left on a counter with a towel, either)
Keep knives sharp. A sharp knife requires less pressure to cut, which means you’re less likely to get cut. A cut from a dull knife is far worse than a cut from a sharp one.
Always hold the knife firmly and cut away from the body.
Always use a cutting board.


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