It is a knife that makes or breaks the experience of cooking. Everyone knows that the sharper the blade, the safer it is. A great one will make us feel proud for effortlessly juggling a carrot. We’ll complain about the rotten tomatoes that spilled out of their skins if it’s terrible.
How does one know when a knife is sharp and when is the right time to sharpen it?
How Do You Tell If a Knife is Sharp or Not?
Whether you do it yourself or bring them to an expert, sharpening your knives regularly will benefit them greatly. You may need to maintain and sharpen your knife periodically, depending on how frequently you use it.
Try the paper test if you are unsure whether your knife needs sharpening. You only need these knives and a sheet or two of printer paper. It is probably dull if your blade does not glide through the paper.
Your knives might need some attention when you notice your knife slips on the product you are cutting, or it takes some effort to cut through food.
It’s important to remember that while you should always be careful when using knives, a sharp one is safer than a dull one and makes for a better experience in the kitchen.
How does a sharp knife help you?
Ultimately, safety is the most important factor. Having a dull blade can cause accidents while you struggle with food.
Food prep is faster, safer, and more attractive pictures when a sharp knife glides through ingredients easily. As well as producing more precise cuts, even cooking, and maintaining the texture of food, sharp knives are more efficient.
Follow these simple do’s and don’ts of knife sharpening and maintenance to keep your blades sharp and avoid wasting time and money on blade replacements.
THINGS TO DO
Clean and dry your knives as often as you can.
Your knife will last longer if you cut your food on wooden boards. When you use a knife on a hard surface such as a stone or steel countertop or a glass cutting board, the edge becomes dull faster. The blade gets damaged.
Use sharpening stones to sharpen your knives. Using a Japanese whetstone, you can achieve the sharpest edge for your knife.
Make sure your sharpening angle is consistent. It may be challenging to hold the knife at the same angle on every stroke while sharpening a knife, but the angle must be below.
Always finish on a fine grit stone to polish your knife’s edge and make it razor-sharp.
Finish your edge-polishing process with a leather strop, which will help achieve the most precise edge possible.
Maintain your knives by polishing and stropping them frequently. Doing so will prolong the life of your knives’ edges in between sharpening.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Knives should not be run through knife systems or devices. A sharpening device can unevenly chew up the edge, can scratch the blade, and may not produce the same sharpness as a whetstone.
Sharpen knives without belts. A belt grinder heats the blade and will change its molecular structure as a result. Knives will lose their fullness after being heated, as the sharpening steel will soften, and the blade will be unable to hold its edge as long as possible.
Make sure you don’t hard chop, hack, or saw your food if your knife isn’t designed for such use. You could harm the overall structure by misusing it or for the wrong purpose. Simply put, use your knife according to its intended function.
Never slam a knife against a steel rod when honing it. The tool is not a percussion instrument; rather, it is an instrument that’s used to maintain softer steels edges. Consistent angles and long, even strokes are also important. We recommend using a leather strop to hone steels with a harder edge.
How Sharpening Differs from Honing
There’s a good chance you’ve seen someone “sharpen” a knife using a honing rod. Steel rods do not sharpen knives; they simply straighten out the cutting edges on the blades to make a smoother, safer cut. However, sharpening your knife actually does just that. It is therefore wise to do both. You should hone your knife weekly (every time you use your knife if you like) and sharpen it at least every few months.
How to sharpen knives with a whetstone
We prefer to sharpen blades using a whetstone. It is nearly like sandpaper, which smoothes and refines the blade’s cutting edge as it passes over it. In most cases, whetstones are designed to be soaked in water before each use. Check with the manufacturer for specific instructions.
If you need to soak your whetstone, immerse it in water until no bubbles are appearing out of it, 5 to 10 minutes.
Depending on the dullness of your knife, you can use a whetstone with a coarse-gliding side or a fine-gliding side. If your blade is especially dull, begin by grinding it on the coarse side, then finish it on the fine side. When using it, hold the knife 20 degrees away from the whetstone, and gently rub each side of the blade against it.
How to sharpen a knife with a knife sharpener
You can use this thin metal bar to resharpen a dull knife quickly–just push a blade into the coarse side, go back and forth a few times, then go back to the fine side. Knife sharpeners may be helpful in a pinch, but they aren’t the most effective.
Considering the fact that these tools might not be great for your knife, use this method when sharpening your less expensive knives, and keep your fancy Japanese chef’s knife sharp using a whetstone.
When Should You Sharpen a Chef’s Knife?
Depending on how much you use the knife, how much it gets used, and what kind of food you’re cutting, you may need to sharpen it more or less frequently. If possible, use steel once or twice a week to hone the edge. A chef’s knife does not need sharpening more than a couple of times a year if used only at home.