Some of the most important tools in your kitchen are your knives. You need a variety but the bottom line is: they need to be sharp!
While price is what sometimes limits your options, being knowledgeable about a product always helps you to make a good choice. So what about knives? Which are the best, what should they be made of, and which are most necessary?
There are so many different kinds of knives that Wikipedia lists six different groups, including chefs, meat, cheese, country where manufactured, small and specialty that includes over 24 different choices.
Sharpness is the most important factor to consider when purchasing knives. But how do you know which ones are sharp? You can’t test them before buying them! Actually they are all likely to be sharp when they are new. The difference is – will they stay sharp and for how long?
There are a wide variety of construction materials. Knives were traditionally made from carbon steel. It comes in a range of hardness, and the harder it is, the longer it keeps it edge.
The down side of this metal is that is susceptible to rust. Knives are now being made with stainless steel which does NOT rust. The hardness of the metal varies as with carbon steel and again, the harder the better.
Modern knives are now made with a variety of metal alloys added to improve the quality. Almost all can be sharpened! The hardest metals do not have to be sharpened as often.
Knives are also now being made from ceramic, which is quite durable and sharp, but cannot be sharpened. You can also get knives made of plastics which are recommended for certain fruits and vegetables.
You will find a wide choice of prices when knife shopping. Do not assume that those made internationally are the best. There are excellent quality knives being made domestically and the prices are quite competitive!
Doing online research will give you reviews of the brands you are considering. Your basic knife set should include one to cut meat, several sizes for slicing and paring vegetables and fruit and a few steak knives. Then you can add specialty knives for meat carving, bread, and cheese.
Taking proper care of your knives will help to keep them sharp and ready to use. People are often surprised to learn that putting their cutting knives in the dishwasher will dull the edge.
The problem is the detergent used in your dishwasher is very abrasive. So wash them by hand in soap and water, and then dry with a soft towel. Do not leave them to air dry.
Finding a suitable way to store your knives is also important for safety and to protect the edge. A wooden knife block, magnetic strip or knife sleeves are all good choices. You should also be careful with your cutting board.
Choose one that will not dull your knives! Any hard wood like oak are fine, but other woods are also acceptable. Some plastics, glass and any metals will dull your knives.
You should also be careful to NOT use your blade to use the blade to scrape the food off of the board. This sideways scraping will quickly dull your knife!
So what should you do about knives? Find the hardest metal ones that you can afford, those that can be sharpened, choose just a few to start, then be careful to protect them with proper storage and using the right cutting board. It is just as easy as that!!