Kitchen knives are a must have for anyone who considers themselves a cooking hobbyist. Using them properly is also a must to ensure that no one gets hurt, for they are sharp and can be dangerous.
Stay Safe in the Kitchen -
Choosing the right knife for the correct job is the first step in staying safe in the kitchen with a kitchen knife. Using the highest quality knife you can afford will make any kitchen chore a breeze and keep your hands and body safe during use. Storing and cleaning your knives are also important parts to knife maintenance and remaining safe in the kitchen.
A Knife Everyone Should Have -
A chef's knife is the largest in the collection of kitchen knives and is the one used most often for chopping, dicing, slicing and mincing vegetables, fruits and meats. Make sure to choose one that has a tang the full length of the blade, which means the blade goes through the handle. This insures stability in your knife. These knives can be very expensive to reasonably priced and most chefs recommend at least having one for every kitchen.
Generally 2 to 4 inches in length, paring knives are the second most often used kitchen knives. Sometimes called sandwich knives, because they are the correct size for slicing meats and cheeses, paring knives are also good for peeling and garnishment work.
Top Off Your Set -
A bread knife would round out your set of knives nicely. The bread knifes are usually serrated and it's suggested to get ones with pointed tips rather than the rounded or 'wavy' tips because they last longer and you have better control of the knife when 'sawing' back and forth.
Utility knives are basically the same as a chef's knife and can be used as extra cutting knives when needed. They are a little smaller, yet just as tough as a chef's knife.
Find Out What Your Knife Is Made Of -
What a knife is made of is just as important as the type of knife you are using for an individual job. A knife made of stainless steel and high carbon will last the longest and is the most expensive. There are other combinations of steel and carbons available in the various knives and run a wide range of prices. Ceramic knives are fairly new and are incredibly sharp. They will hold the sharp edge for many years through many uses and should be sharpened by a professional if they do wear down. Because they are pretty new, they are considered expensive.
Knife handles are made of a composite of wood or plastic, and both can be quality materials depending on the brand. The way you clean the handles is what counts. You need to clean them properly in order to ward off germs and wear and tear. Wood handles deteriorate faster in a dishwasher; however the blades become cleaner with the higher temperature of water.
Never Keep a Dull Blade -
A dull knife is a dangerous knife to have in your kitchen. There are several ways to sharpen a kitchen knife; one is with a honing stone or whetting stone and oil or water. The only problem with this method is that you must maintain the correct angle for the knife with each pass against the stone. The other way to sharpen a knife is to use an electric or hand-held sharpener that will hold the knife at the proper angle and sharpen the blade correctly for you.
Knife Storage -
Make sure to store your knives in a knife block or a rack with metal strips in it for safety reasons. If you just simply place the knives in a drawer without any protection, you will find it difficult to select the proper one for the job you need to do, and it would be dangerous to your hands with the sharp edges showing. In addition, the blades will dull quicker without being protected all the time. Many manufacturers suggest that you wash your knives by hand, but most people prefer not to handle knives in dishwater so they use a dishwasher if they have one.
To use a kitchen knife safely, always make sure you are using a cutting board or other nonskid surface. A cutting board is best because it helps to preserve the knife's edge while chopping and slicing. A cutting board will also protect you from slips of the knife, preventing cuts to hands and fingers or other parts of your body.
Always cut away from your body using a rocking motion and never allow the blade to leave the cutting surface. Make sure your hands are dry because wet hands can cause the knife to slip and a cut to happen. Always stay safe with your kitchen knives.
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