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Learn how to care for a chef's knife and it'll be the only kitchen knife you need.
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A Dummy's Guide to Caring for Chef's Knives

Mar 30th, 2017

A chef’s knife may well be the most important and useful tool in your kitchen. Some culinary experts like Anthony Bourdain even recommend throwing out your entire knife block in favor of a single sharp, effective chef’s knife. Efficient, versatile, and easy to use, these high-quality knives save cooks loads of time and energy on food prep. But in order to maintain the sharpness that makes slicing and dicing with a chef’s knife effortless, the knife must be properly cared for.

Use correctly

Proper cutting is key to keeping a knife’s blade sharp. Sliding a knife through ingredients you’re chopping or dicing is much better than the up-and-down motion that comes naturally to many untrained cooks. Your knives will also stay sharper longer if you use wood or plastic cutting boards rather than acrylic, glass, or stone boards.

Hand wash

Never run a good chef’s knife through the dishwasher, even if the knife’s manufacturer claims it’s dishwasher safe. It’s not worth the risk of the blade or handle getting banged up or warped. Instead, carefully wash chef’s knives in warm, soapy water, wiping them dry to avoid rusting.

Hone regularly

Hone your knives before each use to maximize their utility. If you have a knife block that came with a textured steel rod, you should be able to use this. Otherwise, invest in some honing steel. You can learn how to hone a knife watching online tutorials or in an introductory knife skills class.

Sharpen annually

Even with regular honing and proper use, a chef’s knife blade will eventually dull. To keep your knives working optimally, sharpen them once a year or whenever you notice they’re dulling.

Store separately

Knife blades are easily nicked when they come into contact with other silverware. If you don’t have A designated knife drawer in which are stored individually sheathed knives is ideal. If you don’t have room for a knife drawer in your apartment kitchen, use a horizontally slotted knife block or a magnetic hanging board.

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