Monday, March 5, 2012

Caring for Knives

I'm slacking, sorry. Haven't felt well all week, so living off simple stuff (hamburgers and the like). I figure this might be a good time to talk about knives, especially since I just sharpened all of mine last night. The biggest mistake we all make is buying bad materials, a good knife won't be stainless steel (not to be confused with stain free) they won't hold an edge, and don't sharpen well. The biggest issue is go to the store and try and buy a knife that isn't stainless or an arm and a tank of gas. I buy high carbon steel. Now storage, the worst place is the silverware drawer, they bang together, and dull, plus you could get cut reaching in. If you have to use a drawer put some type of sheath over the knife, just keep in mind they can still get bumped, and the sheath will dull the knife a little (just like cutting with it). Next is the old wooden blocks, they are handy, and do protect them, but they can hold dirt, and if you happen to put one in damp, nasty stuff can grow. The best option is a magnetic strip, they are kept away from bumps, and open air so they dry nicely, downside, is you could knock another one down getting one. Now washing, this is one of the items that should never go in the dishwasher, they bang against other stuff, and if the handles are wood they will dry out and split, plus they will loosen up and eventually fail. Also don't drop them in your soapy water, you could get cut, and it's too much water especially for the handles.  Ideally you should use a honing steel before you use a knife (I don't with my paring knives) except serrated knives of course. Your cutting board is also important, a nice marble or glass one that looks really pretty is horrible for the knives. I use a wood one for veggies, and a plastic one for meats. Sharpening the knife when it dulls is important, if you are experienced a whet stone works great (every butcher I met uses them, and I do too), one of the sharpening gadgets will also work, although I don't think they are all created equal, and I rarely trust pitchmen (I don't own any), finally there is always a professional, but that can get expensive, so if it's not a high end knife I'd stick with one of the other options. I don't have any ceramic knives, but I want one, so I don't know the care of them, but since they are glass, you need to be careful. Hopefully I can post a bit more this week

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