Having sharp knives is key to impressing everyone with your carving technique. So before you sit down in front of the family to carve the Christmas turkey or Sunday joint, you need to make sure that your knives are well cared for so that they’ll cut with style.
You’ll probably already have a textured steel rod which came with your knife block and that can be used to maintain the sharp edge of the blades, so always give your knife a quick hone before you use it. It’s a pretty easy technique once you know what you’re doing:
Simply hold the rod upright in the hand that isn’t dominant, holding its tip securely on a table or hard surface, then using your dominant hand to hold your knife at an angle of about 20 degrees horizontally and pull the blade towards you across the edge of the steel rod, from its heel to tip. Repeat 4 times on each side.
Alternatively, there are plenty of great knife sharpeners on the market, and you can read our guide to finding the best ones to suit your needs. You have to sharpen your knives properly to repair any nicks or damage to their blades. You can tell if you knife is ready for sharpening when it slides off an onion with the skin still on. Here are some more tips for keeping your knives in tip top condition.
Make Sure To Cut Properly
It might sound ridiculous that your cutting technique could be ruining your knife blades, but actually that could be the case. The upwards and downwards motion you make while chopping dulls the blade edge causing it to need sharpening more often.
You should, instead, adopt a sliding or rocking motion, keeping the knife always in contact with your chopping board. Even then, each time the knife hits the board’s surface it will cause a microscopic burr on the metal of the blade and over time that’ll result in dullness.
If you want to fully minimise the damage, you should avoid chopping boards made from stone, glass or acrylic and instead go for a plastic or wooden board. If you’re scraping any food off the chopping board, you should always flip over your knife to scrape with the spine instead of the blade.
Wash Your Knives By Hand
If you put your knives in the dishwasher, they run the risk of being warped and banged up. Instead, always wash your knives by hand in soapy, warm water, holding the blade away from your body.
If you have knives that are made from carbon steel, you shouldn’t leave them to air dry. Instead, wipe them gently with a towel as this will prevent blotches and rust from forming.
Store Your Knives Separately
If you just throw your knives into your cutlery draw with your other silverware, you’ll find that they will become ruined and nicked by the other utensils. If you sheath the blades with a cheap plastic guard and lay your knives flat in the drawer, that is the best way to keep them safe.
However, you could also store them in a knife block as long as it has horizontal and not vertical slots to keep the blades resting on their sides instead of their cutting edges. A magnetic knife board is another great way of storing your knives in a convenient way that won’t take up lots of space in your kitchen.