Ever find yourself struggling to slice through that onion or chicken breast with your knife? Maybe it’s time for an upgrade. You spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so you deserve tools that make cooking more enjoyable and efficient. High-quality knives are an investment that will make meal prep so much easier and help you rediscover your love of cooking.
With a razor-sharp blade, you’ll breeze through all your slicing and dicing tasks. And with a few simple care tips, your knives will stay sharp for years to come. Keep reading to find out why you need a great set of knives in your kitchen and how to keep them in tip-top shape. Your taste buds and fingers will thank you.
Invest in High-Quality Knives for Precision and Safety
Investing in high-quality knives is worth every penny. Not only will they make cooking more enjoyable, they’ll also make you safer and more efficient in the kitchen.
Precision and Control
With a sharp, balanced knife, you’ll have more control and precision. This means thinner, more even slices and a reduced chance of slipping. Dull knives require more pressure and struggle to cut, often slipping and posing a hazard. High-quality knives hold an edge better so you sharpen less frequently.
Buy the Essentials
You only need a few types of knives for most cooking. A chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife can handle 90% of tasks. Look for forged blades with a full tang, meaning the metal extends into the handle. This provides balance and durability.
Learn Proper Care
To keep your knives in peak condition, hand wash and dry them after each use and avoid the dishwasher. Use a cutting board, not your countertop. Sharpen with a whetstone when they lose efficiency. Honing with a steel realigns the edge between sharpenings.
How you cut makes a difference. Hold the knife handle firmly and draw the blade across the food using even pressure. For tough produce, make multiple light passes instead of forcing it through. Use a slicing motion for most tasks, and a rocking motion for herbs. With practice, you’ll be dicing with the best of them!
Investing in essential, high-quality knives and learning proper care and technique is worth the effort. Your cooking experience will be safer, more efficient and enjoyable, and your new knives will last a lifetime when given the proper TLC. What are you waiting for? Go get chopping!
How to Choose a Set of High-Quality Knives
Investing in a set of high-quality knives is one of the best decisions any home cook can make. Not only will they make cooking more enjoyable, but a good set of knives will last a lifetime if properly cared for.
To choose a set, look for forged knives made of high-carbon stainless steel. Forged knives are more durable than stamped knives. High-carbon stainless steel blades hold an edge better than regular stainless steel and are resistant to stains and corrosion. Some reputable brands are Wüsthof, Henckels, and Shun.
A good set will include:
- An 8-inch or 10-inch chef’s knife: Your go-to knife for chopping, dicing and slicing.
- A serrated bread knife: For cutting bread, tomatoes and other foods with tough skins.
- A paring knife: For peeling, coring and other small tasks.
- Kitchen shears: Useful for cutting string, herbs, and small poultry joints.
- A honing steel: Used to realign the edge of the blades between sharpenings.
To keep your knives in top working order:
- Hand wash and dry knives after each use to prevent dulling and rust.
- Use a cutting board. Never cut on hard surfaces like granite or glass which can damage the blades.
- Hone blades regularly using a honing steel. This keeps the edge straight and prolongs the time between professional sharpenings.
- Have knives professionally sharpened once a year or when honing no longer works. Look for a pro sharpening service or knife shop in your area.
- Store knives in a block, rack or sheath. Don’t just throw them in a drawer where they can get damaged and dull.
- Avoid excessive contact with acids like lemon juice which can pit the blade. Rinse and dry knives immediately if exposed.
With proper care and maintenance, a set of high-quality knives will serve you well for many years to come. Your cooking experience will be greatly enhanced, and you’ll wonder how you ever got by without them!
Proper Knife Care: Honing and Sharpening
To keep your high-quality knives in prime working condition, proper care and maintenance are essential. Honing and sharpening your knives regularly will ensure clean cuts, safe use, and a long lifespan.
Honing Your Knives
Honing realigns the edge of the blade to keep it sharp. You should hone your knives before each use. Use a honing steel – a rod made of steel, ceramic or diamond. Hold the knife at a 15-degree angle and slide the blade along the steel using even pressure. Do 10-15 passes on each side. Honing takes just a few seconds and will keep your knives ready to use.
Sharpening Your Knives
Over time, honing won’t be enough – the blade edge will become dull. Sharpening removes metal from the blade to reform the edge. You’ll need a whetstone – a rectangular stone with coarse and fine grits. Lubricate the stone with honing oil or water.
Hold the knife at a 15-20 degree angle and slide the blade along the stone using even pressure, doing 5-10 passes on each side. Start with the coarse side, then the fine side. Check your progress by slicing into a piece of paper – it should cut cleanly without tearing. Sharpen knives once a month or when honing no longer works.
Some additional tips for keeping your knives in top shape:
- Hand wash knives and dry immediately to prevent rust. Never put knives in the dishwasher.
- Use a cutting board. Never cut directly on countertops. Wood or soft plastic cutting boards are gentle on blades.
- Store knives separately in a knife block, on a magnetic rack, or in sheaths. This prevents dulling and damage to the blades.
- Have your knives professionally sharpened once a year. A pro can sharpen knives to a razor-sharp edge honing and whetstones can’t achieve at home.
- Consider using knife guards or sheaths when storing and transporting knives. This prevents injury and keeps blades protected.
By properly honing, sharpening, and caring for your high-quality knives, you’ll keep them working like new for many years to come. Your knives and your fingers will thank you!
Hand Washing and Drying Your Knives
High-quality knives are an investment, so properly caring for them will ensure they last a lifetime. The most important thing you can do is hand wash and dry your knives after each use.
After cooking, wash your knives as soon as possible using warm water and a mild dish soap. Gently scrub both sides of the blade with a soft sponge to remove any stuck-on bits of food. Do not soak knives in water, as this can damage the handle and allow bacteria to grow.
Rinse your knives thoroughly with water to remove all soap residue. Pat them dry immediately with a towel—do not air dry. Allowing water to sit on the blade can lead to corrosion and dulling. Pay extra attention to drying the area where the blade meets the handle, as water trapped there can damage the seal or wood.
For stuck-on messes, make a paste from baking soda and water and gently scrub with the sponge. Rinse and dry as usual. Avoid harsh abrasive cleaners, strong detergents and dishwashers which can dull the blade and damage the handle.
After washing, thoroughly drying your knives is just as important as cleaning them. Water left on the blade or handle can lead to rust, corrosion and bacterial growth. Using a towel, wipe down both sides of the blade from the base to the tip using a wiping motion, not scrubbing.
Pay extra attention to drying the seam where the blade meets the handle. For wood or laminate handles, wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid water spots. Gently slide the towel between the blade and handle to absorb any trapped water.
Leave your knives lying flat on a towel to air dry completely before storing. Do not stack wet knives together, as water can become trapped between them. Following a proper hand washing and drying routine after each use will keep your high-quality knives in tip-top shape for life. By investing a few extra minutes, you’ll save time not having to sharpen or repair a damaged knife. Your knives—and your wallet—will thank you.
So now that you know why you should invest in high-quality knives and how to properly care for them, it’s time for you to take action. Go find yourself a high-quality chef’s knife that feels good in your hands and inspires you to get cooking. Develop a routine to sharpen and hone your new knife and keep it in tip-top shape. Before you know it, you’ll be slicing, dicing and chopping your way to culinary bliss.
Your fancy new knife will quickly become your favorite kitchen tool and your go-to for any recipe that comes your way. High-quality knives and good knife care practices will elevate your cooking game and make time spent in the kitchen that much more enjoyable. You and your taste buds will be thanking yourself for making this smart investment in no time. Happy cooking!