The importance of kitchen knives to a cook cannot be
overstated. The only piece of equipment more basic to cooking is the human
hand. All kitchen knives should be treated with great respect and care. The
following are the ways on how to care for your knives -
Handle knives with respect. Professional chefs
have their own collection of kitchen knives, which they care for, maintain,
and use daily. As a general rule, you should not be using someone
else's personal knife without obtaining the owner's permission to do
so. Use the knife with care and promptly returns it after using.
Many people will engrave their name on the blade of the knife, so
that they can identify which knives belong to them. If you work in a
large kitchen, this is generally a good idea.
Keep knives sharp. Learn the proper techniques
for both sharpening and honing knives. A sharp kitchen knife not only
performs better but is safer to use because less pressure is
required to cut through the food. When too much pressure is
required, the chances of the knife slipping and causing injury to
the user is great.
Keep knives clean. Clean knives thoroughly
immediately after using them. Do not leave them lying in or near the
sink. Work carefully, and pay great attention to what you are doing,
so that you do not cut yourself as you wipe down the blade..
Sanitize the entire knife, including the handle, bolster, and the
blade, as necessary, so that the tool will not become a site for
food cross contamination. Keeping knives clean helps to extend their
lives. Never drop a knife into a full pot sink. The knife might be
dented and nicked by heavy pots; also, someone who reaches
into the sink could be seriously injured by grabbing the blade
accidentally. Also do not clean knives in a dishwasher, because the
handles are likely to warp and split.
Use safe handling procedures for knives. In
addition to the etiquette involved in borrowing a knife, there are
other standards of behavior that should be remembered. When you are
passing a knife, lay it down on a work surface so that the handle is
extended to the person who will pick it up. Whenever you must carry
a knife from one area of the kitchen to another, always hold the
blade down and let people know you are passing by with something
sharp. Ideally, you should sheathe or wrap the knife before walking
anywhere with it, or transport it in a carrier.
When you lay the knife down on a work surface, be
sure that no part of it extends over the cutting board or worktable.
That will prevent people walking by from brushing against it or
knocking it onto the floor. Be sure that the blade is positioned so
that it extends away from any edges.
Knives are intended for specific cutting tasks.
They are not built for opening bottles and cans, prying lids lose,
or other such tasks. Do not abuse the knives.
Use an appropriate cutting surface. Cutting
directly on metal, glass or marble surfaces will dull and eventually
damage the blade of the knife. Wooden or composition cutting boards
should always be used to prevent dulling the knife edge.
Keep knives properly stored. There are a number
of safe, practical ways to store knives. They may be kept in knife
kits or rolls for one's personal collection and in slots, racks, and
magnetized holders in the kitchen. Storage systems should be kept
just as clean as the knives stored in them. Cloth rolls should be
washed and sanitized periodically. Proper storage will prevent
damage to the blade or harm to an unwary individual. Knifes should
be carefully dried after cleaning, then stored in sheaths to help
retain their edge.