KITCHEN KNIVES CARE
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home, as it is where the food that is essential for life is prepared. For some, this space can become an obligation whilst for others it is a place of enjoyment. Cookery enthusiasts and professionals take pleasure in cooking dishes for the rest of the family, friends or clients. Those who are familiar with the culinary world, which is constantly evolving, will know that, as in any other job or profession, the tools used are extremely important. One of the most indispensible utensils in cookery is knives.
On the market, the range of kitchen knives available is very extensive. We can find kitchen knives of a very high quality as well as cheap and nasty ones. Therefore, when making a purchase it is important to make the right choice depending on how the knife will be used. Nowadays, there are national and international knife companies that manufacture knives of exceptional quality which are highly effective. Some examples are Victorinox, 3 Claveles and Martínez Albainox.
In the Spanish and internatioanl market you can find high quality kitchen knives
However, for the kitchen knife to have a long life and maintain its original characteristics it is essential to ensure it is well maintained and used correctly. Taking good care of knives will help to keep the blades sharp so that the knife works the way it should, thereby avoiding unnecessary risks.
There are three key concepts in relation to maintaining our kitchen knives: use, cleaning and sharpening.
CORRECT USE OF KITCHEN KNIFE:
Kitchen knives are tools which must be used only for cutting. They should never be used as a “hammer” for hitting, or as a screwdriver or engraver’s chisel; something which, unfortunately, can occur commonly in our kitchens. For these hammering, screw driving or engraving operations we have other more appropriate tools. The incorrect way in which we sometimes use our kitchen knives causes them to suffer wear and tear such as loosening of screws and springs, or even fracturing.
If we take a good use of our kitchen knives will ensure a long life
The surface on which we cut using our kitchen knives is important. The best approach is to use wooden, plastic or nylon boards for chopping, whereas surfaces such as granite, marble, metal, glass and ceramic can affect the knife by wearing down its blade.
CLEANING THE KITCHEN KNIVES:
It is essential to clean kitchen knives, in fact, after correct use, it is the second step in the utensil’s maintenance procedure. Our kitchen knives constantly come into contact with substances which can be aggressive for the tool such as acids in foods. Therefore, after use it is essential to clean them correctly to avoid oxidation and transfer of odours and tastes to other food which we chop with the kitchen knife afterwards. To clean them special chemical agents are not needed, just a little warm water and soap. It is not recommended to keep the knives under water for a long time, because if they have a wooden handle, this can become damaged.
Water and soap are ideal products for cleaning the kitchen knives
After cleaning they must be dried immediately to avoid oxidation (if the knife is made of carbon steel), to avoid rust appearing or to prevent the blade from becoming damaged (stainless steel knives). It is not advisable to clean kitchen knives in the dishwasher for various reasons, but mainly because they can become worn down with other materials which damage the blade. In addition, the use of detergents and harsh chemical products can damage the material of the knife such as the steel of the blade or the wood/plastic of the handle which will lose their natural shine when washed.
If the handle of the kitchen knife is wooden we can apply a light patina of olive oil to shine it which will help to close the pores of the wood and thereby prevent dirt residues from penetrating into them.
KITCHEN KNIVES SHARPENING:
Sharpening is a crucial element in the maintenance of the kitchen knife. With every use the knife loses a little of the blade and along with it its cutting capacity. It is well known that a knife with a badly sharpened blade is more dangerous than a knife with a sharp cutting edge, as the strength which we must apply for cutting is greater. This can make it more difficult to control the cut and we can end up cutting something other than the food itself. On the market there is a wide range of products available for sharpening such as steels or stones for sharpening, which we discuss in more detail in another of our texts.
Sharpening is the final task to ensure the maintenance of the kitchen knife
To store our knives a wooden block with slots to insert the knives can be extremely useful as well as magnetised strips which hang on the wall. This way, the knives do not come into contact with each other or with other cookery utensils thereby avoiding them getting damaged.
Accidents in the kitchen with knives are unfortunately one of the most common risks at work. This is why it is so important to ensure correct maintenance of our knives. To achieve this, they must be used in a suitable way, on appropriate surfaces, as tools for cutting foods, using them in a responsible way (keeping our fingers away from the blade), with suitable blades and keeping the work area clear of any elements which could prevent us from working comfortably. If we take all these tips into account, we will be able to, without any risk, make use of the exceptional tool that is the knife and make the most of the surprising and infinite universe of the kitchen.