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Caring for your knives

Caring for your knives

It’s said that a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife.  The reasoning being, that with a dull knife you are pressing harder and are then capable of doing more harm to yourself when a mishap occurs.  We at The Happy Cook don’t have any statistics on this, but what we do know is that you get better results when you use a sharp and well- maintained knife.

All knives start out sharp.  It is the owner’s job to keep them that way.  There are two steps to keeping that just-like-new edge.  The first is to hone the knife at frequent intervals. Chef’s usually hone their knives each time they begin working.  Honing is where the knife is pulled multiple times at an angle of 20 degrees to 30 degrees along the side of a “steel.”  Although these “steels” can be made of ceramic as well as steel or steel composites, they all do the same job—aligning the microscopic burrs that occur on the edge of the knife. These burrs are inevitable, no matter how careful you are with your cutting surface.

The second part of maintenance is to actually sharpen the knife at regular intervals.  The definition of “regular” depends on how often you use the knife.  A knife that is in regular use in a home kitchen probably needs sharpening two times a year.  

There are a lot of good sharpening devices on the market from sharpening stones, to the small hand-held manual sharpeners,  to electric ones with variable sharpening options. Be sure to get a sharpener that is made for your type of knife—there are different sharpeners for Asian and for European style knives.

The alternative to investing in a sharpening device is to bring it to the folks you trust at The Happy Cook.  Our professional knife sharpeners will give your knives a good new edge and usually do it within a two-day turn around.  Call for more details about our knife sharpening service 434-977-2665.