Whether you're a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, knife safety and maintenance should be a top priority. After all, a dull or improperly handled knife can lead to injury, and misuse can shorten the lifespan of your best culinary tools. Here we'll explore the best practices for knife safety and maintenance, with top tips to keep you safe and your knives in peak condition.
Knife safety tips
Always hold the knife correctly. The proper way to hold a knife is to grip the handle with your fingers and thumb, keeping your thumb and index finger on the blade's spine. This gives you better control and reduces the risk of accidents.
Cut on a stable surface. Always cut on a stable, flat surface to prevent the knife from slipping. A cutting board is preferable as it also protects your countertops.
Keep your fingers away from the blade. When cutting, curl your fingers under and use your knuckles as a guide. This 'claw' grip keeps your fingers away from the blade.
Don't use your hand as a cutting board. This is a common mistake and a quick way to a serious injury. Always use a proper cutting board.
Store knives properly. Don't toss knives into a drawer where they can jostle with other utensils. Use a knife block, magnetic strip, or specialized drawer.
Knife maintenance tips
Regularly sharpen your knives. Sharp knives are safer than dull ones as they require less force to cut. Use a sharpening steel or whetstone, and learn the proper technique.
Clean knives immediately after use. Rinse and dry knives immediately after use to prevent corrosion and keep them sharp longer. Don't leave them in the sink or dishwasher.
Don't use knives for inappropriate tasks. Knives are cutting tools, not can openers or screwdrivers. Using a knife for non-cutting tasks can damage the blade and increase the risk of injury.
Use the right knife for the right task. A bread knife isn't meant for chopping onions, and a paring knife isn't for cutting through thick meat. Using the wrong knife can be dangerous and bad for the knife.
Following these best practices for knife safety and maintenance can help ensure a safe, enjoyable cooking experience, and prolong the life of your knives. Remember, always respect your tools and they'll serve you well for years to come.