You have acquired your best kitchen knife or knife set. Then the next struggle is how to maintain it with straight edges and keep them when they are sharp. Let us learn sharpening Kitchen knives. Nothing haunts like getting to the kitchen with your meat ready to cut but find that the knife is blunt. I one time bought onions, tomatoes, and cucumber and then placed them on my cutting board. Upon picking out the knife, it was blunt. I ended up having my lunch without any salads. Immediately after lunch, I had to order a sharpener and the honing steel such that it does not happen to me again. Using a sharp chef’s knife or any other eases the time you devote to the kitchen and at the same time giving you a pleasant chop.
Using a dull knife to cut through your meat or vegetables will just hurt your fingers or even bring you bruises due to the high resistance. Please do not blame the blade, to have it work well, it requires maintenance such as honing and sharpening. Save your fingers from getting hurt and you getting angry by following our guide on sharpening a kitchen knife.
Note: After sharpening your blades, remember to handle them with care. A sharp knife is like a razor cut just like how the kitchen shear is. Never despise any of the knives even a small paring knife once sharpened, it can cut like a razor. And for a more extended stay of the sharpness, mind about the storage set you choose.
Sharpening and honing a kitchen knife. What’s the difference?
I Have seen many people confuse these two procedures; however, they are different. Let us help you know the difference between the two – and when you should hone or sharpen your knives.
Honing a kitchen knife or scissors refers to straightening the knives’ edges. Sometimes our blades are not necessarily unsharp, but they are not straight enough to make far cuts. When the knife has been in use for quite some time, they lose their shapes, and just after sharpening, their edges are no longer straight enough, so you need to hone them to become straight.
During sharpening, some of the steel, shading gets off from the blade, but with honing, it’s all about straightening up. No steel is lost. A honing steel is a commonly used tool to hone cutlery. However, honing with honing steel requires some patience to learn such that you acquire the right edge shapes.
How to hone a kitchen knife?
With your cutting board placed on the countertop, firmly hold the steel upright over the cutting board. Make sure that the steel does not slide off the board. To ensure this, you can add on a towel on the cutting board, then the steel rest on the towel.
After acquiring a firm grip, place the knife blade on the steel at an angle of about 15 to 20 degrees, with its tip facing upwards. Slide the knife downwards, repeat this for like ten slides without changing the blade side.
As you are sliding the knife over the steel rod, move the knife, from the edge to the tip. After one blade, change to the next blade and repeat the procedure.
Note: While honing, avoid crossing from one blade side to the other. You should finish one side then continue to the next side. Cross-cutting can easily lead to accidental cuts.
Sharpening Kitchen Knives
Unlike honing, sharpening kitchen knives is done occasionally only after using your knife for a long time until you feel like it is getting blunt. With sharpening, you need to ride or grind the knife’s edge over a stone, or in a sharpener, such that you can regain its sharpness.
Some people say that you need to sharpen your knife when it has completely lost its sharpness. However, according to many professional cooks and manufacturers, they advise sharpening your knife before it ultimately gets dull. When you sharpen a dull knife or blade, it becomes so difficult to regain its sharpness.
How to sharpen a kitchen knife – Tools you can use
A variety of tools can be used in sharpening kitchen knives blades. You can use either a Whetstone, electric sharpener, manual sharpener, or Ceramic mugs.
The use of whetstones to sharpen cutlery has been in existence for some good time. It has been here since before the coming of the electric and manual sharpeners.
It is a stone-like flat tool which sharpens not only knives, but also scissors, and many more tools.
Just like the honing steel, it takes some time for one to learn how to use the whetstone properly.
To start sharpening kitchen knives with a whetstone, grab a wet towel (even a dry one can work). Lay the towel on a flat surface and then place your whetstone.
Pour some little water on the surface of the whetstone, to improve the movement of the knife over it.
With one hand holding the handle of the knife, place the knife’s edge on the whetstone surface and let the other free hand make the edge firm on the whetstone.
Start to grind the knife’s edge across the whetstone surface while keeping the angle between the body and the knife constant – usually at 20 degrees.
Make sure the grinding covers all length of the blade. Do the procedure five times and then flip to the other side of the edge. Whetstone Cutlery 20-10960 is a dual-sided whetstone, meaning you can use both sides. To use it, you need to first soak it in water for about 5 to 10 minutes then run the blades over it.
After fully running the edges of the blades over the whetstone, then use the honing steel to straighten them.
Using electric Knife sharpeners
An electric knife sharpener can be used for both honing and sharpening. Depending on which slot you choose, it can be an explicit material if you grasp the user manual. Using an electric sharpener is the easiest and simplest way of getting your knife sharp because the abrasives on motorized wheels in the slots run over your blades without you putting in energy.
To use the sharpener, choose the correct slot, turn on the machine and lightly hold your knife in the space to let the grinding wheels run over the blades while you move the knife in and out of the slot slowly without pressing.
Caution: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions since the sharpener automatically sharpens the edges at the required angles. It means any slight mistake like twisting, pressing the knife downward, or pausing the stroke of blades while the knife is being pulled through the sharpener’s slot can alter the angle, hence affect the sharpness.
Sometimes, using electric knife sharpeners could lead to a loss of a lot of steel coating from the knife. This could translate into reduced durability of your blade. However, compared to the whetstones, electric sharpeners, though versatile, they are kind of expensive.
The Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Edge Select Professional Electric Knife Sharpener is one of the greatest and versatile sharpeners on the market. You can use it to sharpen both serrated and straight knives.
The electric sharpener comprises of three stages, where the first and second are made of diamond abrasives for sharpening straight edge, whereas the third stage is for the serrated knives. With this sharpener, you need only one minute to sharpen your knife. As the sharpener uses automated technology to shape the edges at the required angles and with resharpening, you only need ten seconds.
This sharpener is highly recommended for deeply damaged blades. Within minutes, one of the sharpener’s slots will not spare the damages on the knife blades.
What about the manual sharpeners?
With the manual sharpeners, it’s you the user who does the sharpening as you ou pass the edges through the V-shaped chambers of the sharpener carrying the abrasive material.
You need to put in some force, and as you pull the knife through the openings, remember to pull towards yourself.
Pull your knife blades through the V-chambers quite many times to achieve a straight and sharp edge. The good thing about these sharpeners is that even the full bolster knives can properly be sharpened.
Let us try using a ceramic material like mugs to sharpen our knives
Imagine a situation whereby have gone for a vacation away from home but forgot to carry your whetstone or sharpener with you. Or maybe you do not own either. Here is the trick, you can use any of your ceramic mugs, container, or bowl to regain back your knives’ edges sharpness.
Are you wondering how to do this? Simple. Grab your bowl or mug, turn it upside down such that the bottom faces you. There is an extended part at the bottom which sometimes appears to be scratchy when touched (the rim).
Holding the heel of the knife blade against the ceramic mug or bowl at an angle of about 45 degrees. Now slowly pull the edge from the heel to the tip across the ceramic rim as some remnants are seen off the knife.
Repeat this for like five times on both sides of the knife. However, this is a short-term method as the blades do not retain the sharpness for long. Secondly, it does not work for already severely damaged knives.
Do not forget to wash the knife or knives after sharpening it as it carries some residues from the mug and the steel from itself.
How to check whether your knife is sharp?
There are two mostly done tests you can do to see whether after sharpening and honing you have done is sufficient and your cutlery is now sharp enough for use or storage. You can do either the tomato or paper test.
This test can be done before sharpening to see whether your knife needs sharpening or after sharpening to check whether you have sharpened it well.
To do the paper test, pick up a paper. This can be the regular printer paper or one from your book. Hold it in one of your hands, let the other hand hold the knife above the paper. Then bring the knife to try to cut the paper from the top to the bottom of the paper.
If the knife slices the paper well without you using a lot of force, then it is sharp enough. If not, then it needs sharpening or resharpening.
With the tomato test, place the tomato on the cutting board, pick the knife you have just sharpened, or the one you are thinking of sharpening. Try slicing it without having to hold it and then see how easily this is done. In case the knife gets stuck a bit then it needs sharpening or resharpening. But if it slices well, then you can clean and store your cutlery because it is perfectly sharp.
Storing your knives after sharpening
After honing and sharpening your cutlery, now the next thing to do is cleaning and storage. Immediately after sharpening kitchen knives, please clean it well under running water to reduce its contact with the utensils. Thoroughly dry the knives with a dry kitchen towel.
Avoid storing wet knives as they oxidize and rust, even when some are said to be rust-resistant.
There are entire ways of how you can store your knives. These include knife block, Magnetic Knife Strip, Knife guard, or drawer. With the knife blocks, they comprise of slots where the knife blades are placed. However, if the spaces in the slots are small, they affect the edges of the knife as they keep on colliding, hence losing their sharpness.
Some knife block manufactures have opted to design the block with spongy material, and the slots are within that material. Hence they are gentle to the blades’ edges.
Using magnetic knife strips is considered the safest way to store knives. This is because the edges are not in any way affected. This is because it is the body attached to the strip laid on the wall. For storage of your cutlery in the drawer, use the knife guard to protect the knives’ edges.
A sharp knife or cutlery brings a smile to you as you do not need to use a lot of force to cut through that steak. Hence it is a good idea to always keep your knives sharp. Sharpening kitchen knives should not only be done when you need to use them but still, keep them awake as this saves on time to prepare food for your family. In this article, we have shared the different tools and ways to keep your knives shinning and with perfect edges. However, always remember to handle the sharpened knives with great care to avoid any accidental cuts.
Storing your sharp knives well should be another aspect you should treat with importance. This will help your tools to retain their sharpness for a long time. We hope you will have a smart home and kitchen with sharp cutlery by following our guide on how to sharpen your knives.
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