Stay Sharp

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Here’s how to keep your quintessential culinary tool, the knife, ready for a lifetime of safe use

One of the best things about being a student and a writer is having the option to work from home. The next best thing is that home can be anywhere.

I’ve made my way back to my hometown in Cleveland this week to celebrate my best friend’s wedding. Coming home during the summer for weddings has become somewhat of a ritual for me. I am at that stage in life where everyone is getting married, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Weddings encompass some of my favorite things in life: catching up with friends and family, dinner, dancing and gift-giving. I always love perusing bridal registries to see what couples have picked out for their homes. And while the days of fine china may have passed, one of the no-fail staples of each list, along with a standing mixer, is a good knife set. Your knife set is your most important set of tools in your kitchen, so do what you can to ensure the set lasts by following these tips.

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Keep them dry. Immediately after using your knives, wash and dry them by hand, and don’t forget the handles. Keeping water off the steel helps to keep them rust-free.

Say no to the dishwasher. The heat may damage your knife handles, and the water circulation may knock your knives around, potentially damaging them. The soaking and harsh detergents don’t help, either.

Choose cutting boards carefully. Certain surfaces such as glass, stone and metal can actually dull your blades. Instead, opt for boards that are wooden or bamboo. Just because you can cut on a surface, such as granite, does not mean you should do it.

Store properly. Knife blocks and magnetic strips keep knives accessible. If a drawer is your only option, use plastic blade guards to ensure the knives do not unintentionally wear down by getting bumped around, or worse, hurt someone.

Know their role. Kitchen knives are meant for cutting food, not for opening packages or prying jars open. You can lump your kitchen scissors into this category as well.

Knife sets can last a lifetime if cared for properly. Dull knives are not only annoying, but they can also be more dangerous than sharp ones because they require more effort to cut. Sharpen yours once a year and hone them periodically in between using the steel in the set. If you are uncomfortable with sharpening or honing yourself, consult a professional.