How do I keep my knives sharp?

This question is asked more frequently than you think. How do I keep my knives sharp? and what is the correct way to sharpen them? It’s only natural that all knives will eventually lose their original edge. High quality professional knives are an investment for a life time and should therefore be treated with extra care.

The moment your knife loses its edge you will not need to urgently look to professional services. I will tell you how following a few simple steps will keep your knife sharp and in great condition.

Proper Washing and Daily Knife Care

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.

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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’s 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.

A knife should never go in a dish washer. 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.

Proper Sharpening

No matter what you’re planning on cooking it’s important that your quality knife is properly sharpened. A properly sharpened knife makes it easier to cut and makes the whole preparation process smoother and more importantly, safe.

Sharpening steels work on a very fundamental principle. Quite simply, it provides a grinding surface which is harder than the blade of the knife to be sharpened; this allows sharpening to take place. The surface of sharpening steels can be finished or “cut” several different ways.

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A good knife is easy to sharpen and should be sharpened regularly. “Little and often,” defines how professionals sharpen a knife. A few strokes on either side of the blade, every time the knife is used will maintain sharpness and guarantee best performance.  After numerous sharpening’s, a blade may begin to lose its original shape, or have been sharpened to the point where the blade edge is thicker than desired. If this happens, the knife should be professionally reground. This process will restore the blade to its original state.

Next week we will talk about proper sharpening methods! Stay Tuned!

 

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