How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives? Quick Tips For You
Having a good quality set of knives in your kitchen is an investment that will pay for itself over and over again. If you keep your kitchen knives properly sharpened, you will be protecting your investment and make your prep time a breeze.
This article I would like to share some tips that I've used to sharpen kitchen knives .
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What kind of kitchen knives do you use?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your kitchen knives but you do have to get a set that is of good quality. If you are a “foodie” and watch any of the cooking competitions on TV, you know that all of the professional chefs carry their own knives with them.
Here is a list of the more common types of knives most people use in their kitchen:
- Boning Knife – used to debone and filet fresh fish, meats and poultry.
- Chef’s Knife – this is the knife that is used for more everyday duties such as slicing, dicing, chopping and mincing.
- Utility Knife - this is a smaller version than the Chef’s knife and is used to slice meat and cut some foods into portion sizes.
- Paring Knife – this versatile knife is sized to fit right into your hand to cut and peel your fruits and vegetables
- Bread Knife – the serrated blade on this knife helps you to cut fresh bread without tearing it.
- Carving Knife- this blade helps to cut large roasts or whole chickens easily without struggling with it.
- Meat Cleaver – a heavy oblong shaped knife, the cleaver is solid enough to cut right through bones.
How much can you expect to pay for a good set of knives?
The price of a set of knives varies – blocks sell for $200 to $1000. Many professionals believe you should skip the sets and just opt for a Chef’s knife, paring knife, and a bread knife.
The three knives listed above can handle just about all of your cooking duties. If you chose to add any specialty knives as you go along they will just add to the value of your collection.
What is the difference between honing a knife and sharpening a knife?
After prolonged use of your knives your tools will become dull and not perform like they did when you first bought them. Y ou will find that it is taking more effort to cut a tomato than before and in fact, it is actually starting to do more tearing than cutting.
Your knife is out of alignment. So what do you need to do to get your knife back into its proper alignment?
There is no such thing as the best knife sharpener – it is the one you are most comfortable with.
If you buy a set of knives that come in a knife block, one of the extras you may find is a steel pole known as sharpening steel. While a honing steel does not truly sharpen a knife, it straightens it and adjusts the edge to the center.
Consequently, it will not sharpen the knife the way it should be but it will put the knife back into the correct position.
There are a few different kinds of knife sharpeners: a whetstone, sharpening stone, and electric sharpener. When you use a professional knife sharpener, the edge of the knife is shaved off ever so slightly to create a sharp edge to replace the dull one.
Thus, you can hone your knives whenever you would like to; sharpening your knives is only required a couple of times a year.
If you’d rather not deal with sharpening your knives you can bring them to professionals who sharpen knives using their own equipment. Sometimes department stores will feature free knife sharpening services or at least at a special discounted price
How do you sharpen kitchen knives?
Sharpening knives is easier than you think. As with anything it just takes practice:
- The first thing you should do is test your knife to make sure it needs to be sharpened and to get an idea of how much sharpening it needs. Try cutting a tomato to see if it resists cutting the skin.
- If you are using a stone make sure to wet the stone so it doesn’t get too hot and hurt the blade.
- Take the blade in your right hand and face the blade away from your body. Position the knife on the stone so that the blade is at a 20-degree angle from the stone.
- Pull the blade across the stone and towards your body all the way to the bottom of the stone.
- Repeat the process in reverse for the other side of the blade.
Or sharpening knives with an electric sharpener is much easier. You just put the knife in the appropriate slot and the machine sharpens both sides of the blade at the same time.
Today, many sharpeners use ceramic or diamond rods to get the knives back into shape. Many of the electric sharpeners are able to sharpen knives with serrated edges as well.
Do self-sharpening knives really work?
When you are buying your kitchen knives you may be interested in self-sharpening knives. These knives are usually kept in a specific block so that when you pull them out to use each time the knives are automatically sharpened.
Do they actually work? If you purchase a good quality set, chances are they will keep your knives sharp at all times.
Therefore, make sure to read the reviews from customers who have already bought a set. Some people have raved about self-sharpening knives while others say they simple don’t work.
One quick tip
If you have your favorite knives and you would like to give them a quick sharpening you can take a small ceramic saucer, turn it over and run the blade against the rim drawing it to you. Repeat a few times then turn it over for the other side of the blade.
And you can test your knife to make sure it is sharp enough by cutting a tomato. It should easily glide through the skin with ease.
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