Making your favorite meals should be fun and easy, but a dull knife can ruin any cooking experience. Dull doesn’t mean the knife isn’t good anymore, it just means it needs to be sharpened or honed. While you can have your knives professionally sharpened, Howard shows us how to sharpen a knife in an easier, less expensive way by using a steel. A steel is the metal rod that usually comes with your knife block, but you can purchase steels separately if you don’t already have one. Either way, sharpening knives just got a whole lot easier.
How to Sharpen a Knife
To sharpen a knife, all you need is some patience, a little confidence, and a steel, the metal rod that usually comes with your knife block. The steel is used to file away burrs that form on you knife and make it dull. Make sure you steel has a plastic handle with bumper guards so you don’t accidently slice your hand with your newly-sharpened knife!
1. Hold your knife at a 45 degree angle and slowly bring it down, rubbing it against the steel. You should feel the burrs as they are filed off. Alternate sides on your knife so that it is sharpened evenly.
2. Go slow! There’s no need to rush. You will naturally speed up as you become more comfortable with the sharpening process.
3. When you’re finished, wipe away the steel filings from your knife by sandwiching the blade between a thick dishtowel and pulling the handle toward you.
And that, friends, is how to sharpen a knife! Your knife is back to new and ready to slice peppers in Country Coleslaw or cubing meat for Redneck Chicken-Fried Steak.
How to Properly Care for Your Knives
In order to keep your knives in tip-top shape, it’s important to properly care for them before, during, and after use.
Store your knives properly when you are not using them. Place your knife back in its block, or use a cardboard paper towel tube to guard the blade (and your fingers) during storage. You don’t want your knife in a drawer knocking around and getting dull, and you definitely don’t want to reach in and have an accident. Cover your knife blades to extend the sharpness of the blade.
When cutting meats, fish, or vegetables on a cutting board, always use the back of your knife to push food around. The tendency is to chop up an onion, for example, and then use the blade to push the pieces into the pan. Running your blade along the wood or plastic surface of your cutting board will only dull your knife.
Once you’ve finished using them, wash your knives immediately. The acids found on certain foods can erode the blade of your knife, causing it to dull. Use a dish sponge and dishwashing soap to clean your knives, keeping the knife low in the sink and the blade facing away from you, and towel dry your knife when you’re finished. Dishwashing detergent is very abrasive, therefore never place your knives in the dishwasher.