The importance of a sharp knife
A sharp edge is not only crucial for efficiency and safety – a dull knife can slip off your food and injure you ,and significantly slow down the prepping process. But it is also important for ensuring your food will look and taste better, and stay fresh for longer. Dull edges are very destructive to the cell structure of your food since they tend to bruise more than cut, which leads to quicker oxidation and loss of moisture. For example, your greens will turn brown quicker, your onions will make you cry more, and your tomatoes will be more mushy.
How to tell if a knife is dull?
Sometimes cliches are true and the best way to test sharpness is with a ripe tomato – if you find your knife is sliding on smooth skinned items such as tomatoes or bell peppers then it is time to refresh your edge.
You might have seen us test our freshly sharpened edges by either cutting paper or shaving hair off our arms…. neither one is necessary at home and food is always the ultimate test.
How do I restore my edge?
The best way to keep a knife sharp is to not let it get dull in the first place – hone your edge while still sharp and you can avoid sharpening for a long time. The more maintenance you can perform at home means that you can can use finer abrasives which leads to less steel removal over time and ensures that your knife can last a lifetime for a home cook (or 8-10 years as a professional) The only thing which ages a knife is steel removal – meaning a 100 year old knife that has been sharpened 1 time is in better shape than a 1 year old knife that has been sharpened 100 times. For that reason avoid aggressive sharpening methods such as coarse stones or grinding wheels (which can also draw the temper from your blade and soften the steel if not used properly), and any gadgets such as draw through sharpeners which leave a very poor edge which needs to be resharpened almost immediately.
Here are some honing tools which we recommend:
Honing, unlike sharpening which removes steel, does not require much skill or training to become proficient at
- Ceramic honing rods – a fine ceramic is the best choice of material for a honing rod since it will always be harder than your blade and has abrasive qualities which will expose some fresh steel on your edge without the fear of overgrinding the blade. Standard grooved-steel honing rods are not nearly as effective since they tend to be soft and lack abrasives, diamond steels on the other hand are too aggressive and leave a poor quality edge.
- Leather bench or paddle strops – unlike their cousin the “hanging strop” which is used for straight razors, these will not flex (so will not roll your edge) and can be loaded with a fine abrasive (diamond spray is our preference). A “naked” strop is not very effective but once loaded these are great maintenance tools and are the best choice for users who require a polished edge.
No matter your choice of hone – make sure it is not aggressively removing steel, keep your angles consistent at aprox 15 degrees, and don’t wait until your knife is dull to use it.
STEELPORT knives are designed to not only hold a great edge, but also hone and sharpen quickly and effortlessly – you will be surprised at how easy it is to maintain our edges.
- Always use a cutting board – wood is best, plastic is fine, avoid hard surfaces such as glass, granite, and even bamboo.
- Keep your edge protected when not in use
- Never use your knife on bones or frozen foods unless designed for that purpose – if you wouldn’t use your teeth on it don’t use your knife.
- Never put your knife in a dishwasher.
- Never scrape your cutting board with your edge – alway use the spine.
- Hone regularly – when honing is no longer effective, it is time to resharpen your knives
We at STEELPORT always fully stand behind our knives and are looking forward to continuing to support you on your culinary journeys – don’t hesitate to reach out for advice.