Intro: Care for Your Knives
I know I do! In fact, my family is NOT allowed to touch my knives, and I even keep a second block in the kitchen that they can use. That might sound drastic, but I have found them in the sink dirty, beside the sink dirty, in the dishwaher and even out in the garage being used to cut hose line!
IF IT'S NOT IN YOUR HAND IT'S IN THE BLOCK!
Simple as that, if you aren't using it, clean it and put it away.
Wash and put away your knife/knives immediately after using. Allowing food particles to sit on the knife will cause oxidation and dullness.
Never NEVER run knives through a dishwasher. Only wash by hand. The force of water knocks utensils around and will cause dulling of the blade.
Keeping your knifes in ai block or some other way of keeping the blade from touching other objects is best. It you keep all your knives in a drawer they will dull quickly. The other items in the drawer will knock against the blades every time you open or close the drawer.
A good knife is a great investment if you do a lot of cooking. If you take good care of your knife, whatever price you paid for it will be worth it over the years.
Step 1: Cleaning Your Knives
Place a dishtowel in the bottom of the sink to keep the blade from hitting the hard bottom.
Using hot soapy water, gently wash away all debris from the blade AND handle. Don't forget the handle just because it wasn't the part doing the cutting, it needs love and attention too!
Dry your knifes with a soft dish towel immediately after washing and rinsing. Some people leave their knives out to air dry, but this can lead to oxidation and dulling, especially in hard water areas.
After thoroughly drying your knife, put it away in a knife block or other device to keep the edge from touching other items. I use a block, but I have had magnetic strips in the past that I could "stick" my knives up and out of the way.
Step 2: This Is STEELING OR HONING... NOT a Sharpener....
I know a lot of people think that the steel rod often included with knife sets is for sharpening, this is not at all true. But it is something you should use each and every time before you cut into something.
This is a honing rod or a steel. It has one specific use, and that is to help straighten out the tiny bends and bumps that occur when you are cutting. These are so small that most people assume that the blade is just the same after cutting, but even soft items cause changes in the blade.
This drawing is a crude representation at best.... but if you look at a well honed blade it will be straight and sharp. One that has been used and washed will have small imperfections along the blade. These imperfection may seem small but they can keep a knife from cutting at it's best.
Step 3: Hone Before Each Use!
To hone your knife, hold the rod firmly with one hand and knife in the other. At a 10-25 degree angle run the knife down the length of the steel. 4-5 passes on each side sound be sufficient.
Some people like to hold their steel in their hand while honing, and this is fine if you have a firm grip and can control the movements. Placing it down on a solid surface can help keep the rod and the knife steady.
Kitchen knives are an important investment, and they should be treated as such. I can't say taking proper care and keeping your knives sharp will make you a great chef, but it sure can make you a better one!