How to keep your good knives a cut above the rest
Whether you are whipping up a gourmet meal, or just cutting an apple, there is no greater joy than using a sharp knife that performs effortlessly. Good quality knives are an essential kitchen investment that will serve you well if cared for properly.
The metallic composition of quality knives makes the steel very hard and able to keep a very sharp edge, but less corrosive resistant.
With knives the old adage is true – you get what you pay for. The reason why some knives are very cheap is that the quality of the steel is inferior and will not stay sharp.
Methods of Sharpening
Sharpening Steel - the most used and efficient method of sharpening; holding the steel in one hand, swipe knife from heel to tip down length of steel, reversing sides per swipe. Keep the same angle of knife to steel for both sides.
Whet Stone/Sharpening Stone - this should be double-sided, start on coarse side, grasp knife by handle and hold edge against stone at 22.5 degree angle and with moderate pressure slide blade across stone x 10. Repeat on other side of blade, then repeat process on fine(smooth) side of stone. Honing oil provides lubrication for sharpening your stone - it reduces friction andjkeeps metallic particles from embedding into the stone.
Diamond Sharpener - this works in the same way as a stone, by removing very fine particles of steel from the blade, but tends to be for very dull blades only. It is often used as the first stage of the sharpening process, prior to fine honing. Slowly swipe cutting edge along rod, reversing blade sides each time.
2 Stage Sharpener - stage 1 (coarse) is suitable for very blunt knives; with downward pressure, run blade from heel to point. Stage 2(fine) is suitable for removing small burs - no downward pressure required, pull knife through twice.
Pull-through Sharpener - for use on a knife that is already failry sharp; with a little downward pressure only, it will keep a very sharp cutting edge with regular use.
How to clean & store knives
While many knives are dishwasher-safe, it is still best to hand-wash them and dry straightaway. Blades are rust-resistant not rustproof, so if they are regularly left in the dishwasher overnight, they can develop 'spots', pit the steel, dull the blade and damage the handles. Over time this will destroy your knives and may void your warranty.
Due to the high carbon content, quality knives spot rust quicker than other stainless steel products .To remove rust spots, try a mild detergent and a scourer; alternatively you could try using a cork from a wine bottle. Likewise if you chop foods with a high acidic content like limes or lemons, it would be best to rinse the blade as soon as possible to prevent damage.
To prevent the blade from chipping or scratching, it is advisable to store knives in a block or on a wall magnet, or ensure the knife has a sheath. Storing loose knives in a drawer is not only dangerour, but can damage the edge.
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