For the past few years, we’ve chosen to rent houses whenever we’ve traveled for family vacations. It’s typically cheaper than booking several rooms at a hotel, and we save on food costs by cooking our own meals!
But cooking our own meals means using the tools provided in the kitchen, and those tools don’t usually look like they’ve been handled with care. My son-in-law is a chef, and he is always particularly appalled at the condition of the knives!
There are a lot of things you shouldn’t do to a good kitchen knife if you want to keep it in good shape, and those poor knives always seem like they’ve suffered through most of them. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing 7 specific things to avoid so that your knife can continue to do its duty as the most important tool in your kitchen!
7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Kitchen Knives
1. You Use Them To Open Boxes
Repeat after me: “I will not use my kitchen knives to open packages.” (I’m repeating it as well, because it’s possible that I’ve been guilty of this in the past…)
Opening boxes with your kitchen knives is a quick way to take the sharp edge off of them, and it’s not very sanitary either. Instead, spend a few dollars on a set of box cutters (like this $7 set) and store them wherever you tend to open packages.
2. You Wash Them In The Dishwasher
Tossing your kitchen knife in the dishwasher might be the easiest way to clean it, but it definitely isn’t the safest. The spray from the washer arm can jostle your knife around, leading to dings, chips, and a dull blade.
Instead, wash your nice knives by hand in warm, soapy water. It only takes a minute, and it’s an easy way to ensure they stay sharp and damage-free!
3. You Store Them In A Drawer
Just like the inside of your dishwasher, kitchen drawers are another place where knives often get dulled or banged up. Instead, store your knife on a magnetic knife strip or in a wooden knife block to keep it safe and close at hand.
4. You Use Them On The Wrong Cutting Board
Another part of taking care of a good knife is making sure you’re using it on the right kind of cutting board. Wood and plastic cutting boards are both good options that can help minimize potential damage.
Avoid stone, glass, and bamboo cutting boards if you want to keep your knife in good shape. These materials are hard enough to dull your knives, and possibly even chip them!
5. You Scoop With The Sharp Edge
Scooping up ingredients with the sharp edge of your knife can dull the blade rapidly. An easy alternative is just to flip the knife over and scoop with the spine of the knife instead of the sharp edge.
Another option is to start using a bench scraper or pastry scraper in the kitchen. They’re actually designed for the task of scraping and scooping (and it’s one of those things you’ll eventually wonder how you ever lived without!)
6. You Don’t Keep It Sharp
It surprises some people to hear it, but using a dull knife is often more dangerous than using a sharp one. The reason is that you need to put more pressure on a dull knife to cut with it, so if the knife were to slip, it would result in a much deeper cut!
Keeping your knives properly sharpened makes them both safer and easier to use. Use a honing steel weekly to keep it sharp, and when it stops feeling like the honing steel is helping, use a knife sharpener to grind a new edge (or take it to a local knife shop for a professional sharpening.)
7. You Use It For The Wrong Tasks
A classic chef’s knife can be used for all sorts of different tasks in the kitchen, but other knives are more specialized. Take the time to identify what types of knives you have and what they’re meant to be used for.
There’s a useful guide called “Types of Kitchen Knives” on Cook’s Illustrated that will tell you everything you need to know about which knife to use for different tasks. Using the right knife not only makes the task easier, but it’s better for your knives too.
Do you have a go-to knife in your kitchen that you love?