New Year, New You!

We all know that making a New Year’s resolution is hard and that making one you can actually keep is even harder! If you’ve been having a hard time with some of your resolutions, why not try to simplify things a little? Let’s take it back a step and look at the basics: taking care of the things we have. We often take for granted some of the quality things we have in life and abuse or mistreat them. This post is targeted to everyday cooks, chefs and culinary students and professionals out there that get messy and often don’t have the time to properly take care of these messes. When you do have quality knives, tools and cases, it is important to take care of them. Everybody gets busy and tasks are often pushed aside but hey, it’s a New Year, try focusing on the little things from time to time.

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CLEANING GUIDELINES FOR KNIVES:

Carefully wash knives, by hand, immediately after completing each and every cutting task. Use a mild dishwashing detergent, warm water and a cloth to wipe the knife clean. Rinse well with warm clean water and wipe dry with a clean towel immediately to prevent water spots from forming on the blade.

Your Food Service Establishment may have additional cleaning and sanitation guidelines that you should be aware of and follow. Make sure that all cleaning product instructions are followed carefully so that blades are not damaged by potentially harsh chemicals.

It is important to clean knives immediately after use for several reasons.

  1. If food has the chance to harden on a blade, it becomes more difficult to remove. In turn the cleaning job becomes more likely to result in personal injury.
  2. Acidic foods and foods that contain chloride (salt) can result in pitting and/or tarnishing of a “high carbon” stainless steel blade if left on the blade.

Why Should A Knife Never Go In The Dishwasher?

Personal injury or blade damage can result!

The “High Carbon” stainless steel blade can be “pitted” from exposure to high dishwasher water temperatures and/or chlorine, chlorides, hypochlorites and other chemicals used in detergents and cleaning products, so it is best to avoid them!

Leaving knives in a dishwasher not completely dried (after the “rinse and hold” cycle for example), can result in pitting of professional quality high carbon stainless steel knife blades.

CARE GUIDELINES FOR KNIVES:

Removing Pit Marks from a Knife Blade:

Place a small amount of powdered all-purpose cleanser (such as Comet or Ajax) on a damp cloth or sponge and rub on the knife blade in the direction of the grinding marks on the blade. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Dry with a soft towel.

Removing Tarnish Marks or Stains and Discoloration:

A non-abrasive stainless steel cleaner or polish can be used to remove stains. Read and follow the directions on the stainless steel cleaner. It is always a good idea to test in an inconspicuous spot first. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry.

Note: There are no “high carbon” stainless steels available that are resistant to pitting and discoloration so knives do need to be properly cleaned on a regular basis.

Do’s for Knives:

  • Use a wood or plastic cutting board.
  • Keep the knife sharp at all times. The knife performs better and is safer to use.
  • Use the right knife for the cutting task it was designed for.
  • Hold a knife correctly and away from your body.
  • Place knives safely on your work surface.

Don’ts for Knives:

  • Don’t expose a blade to heat or flame. High temperatures can destroy the steel tempering.
  • Don’t use glass or stone (granite, marble, etc.) cutting boards.
  • Don’t cut directly on Stainless Steel surfaces.
  • Don’t hammer on the knife back, this can damage the cutting edge and break the blade.
  • Don’t use the knife blade to pry frozen food apart, open bottles or cans, etc.
  • Don’t use a knife like a cleaver, if the blade hits a bone, the blade may chip.
  • Don’t use a knife with wet or greasy hands.

CARE GUIDELINES FOR ROLLS & CASES:

It is best to wipe up spills and remove marks on your bag as soon as they happen to prevent permanent staining and damage. Additionally, this will help to keep your case, its contents and your work space clean.

The roll or carrying case you have is made of durable nylon and polyester. DO NOT submerge your bag into water or a washing machine of any kind, this will cause irreversible damage. The objective is to clean the surface and not to soak the case.

Rather, remove flour, sugar and other visible food particles by gently brushing to loosen the dirt and then gently vacuum to pick up.

Use a damp cloth and a small amount of warm water (you can add a small amount of mild liquid cleanser), and gently wipe the rest of the bag where needed. Change cleaning cloths as necessary and make sure to avoid leaving soap residue behind. It is a good idea to use a separate clean damp cloth for the inside of the case (not the one you used for the outside). Empty the case before cleaning the inside.

It is always good to start with a small area first to make sure that you are not making matters worse. Make sure to let the case air dry before closing it or using it again.

It’s a New Year, let’s keep things simple and clean! Good luck!

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