Your knife set may have been razor-sharp when it was new, but each cutting session leaves your knives duller and dirty. Not only will this make it harder to slice and dice those tomatoes, but dull are dangerous! One of the most common kitchen injuries occurs when a dull knife slides off what you are slicing and into one of your fingers.
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Always use a cutting board. Without one, your knife will damage the surface below. This is especially important for marble counters. If you have marble countertops, learn how to maintain them, read: Maintain Your Marble Countertop.
Hand-wash your knives after each use. No dishwashers allowed! The heat can actually morph the shape of the blade. Wash each knife in the sink with warm, soapy water.
Once you’ve washed your knives, hand dry them immediately instead of cramming them into the drying rack with everything else. Wet knives run the risk of swelled handles (if they’re made of wood) and rusting.
To extend the lifetime of your knives and prevent injury, it’s a good idea to sharpen your kitchen knives at least once a year. You can either have this done professionally, or purchase a simple stone sharpening kit and do it yourself. These kits can be found in most kitchen appliance sections and cost around $15 dollars.
It’s also a good idea to hone your knives regularly. Honing is different than sharpening, and requires a honing steel (this is a metal rod often included with the knife set). Hold the rod point-down on a cutting board and slide your knife along the rod at a 20-degree angle about 10 times on each side (alternate the side after each swipe). Ideally, you want to start with your knife at the top of the honing steel and move it down the rod as you hone the blade. Hone your knife before each use to maintain a good edge!
Find a safe place to store your knives. If you don’t have a knife block, choose a drawer that allows for plenty of room between your knives’ edges and the sides of the drawer to prevent dulling.