If you want to develop your skills as a cook, an important step is learning how to care for a knife. You may take your knives for granted, but they are just as important as pans and the cooking method you choose. The difference between a knife that's never been sharpened and one that has been sharpened by a professional is quite noticeable, and the difference actually has an effect on your food.
Professional knife sharpening is needed unless you buy a whetstone and learn how to use it, which can be challenging for a home cook. The sharpening equipment that comes with a knife set doesn't actually sharpen the knife, it just hones it, so the effect is not the same. Here's why knives need to be sharpened, what causes them to get dull, and how knife sharpening is done.
Why You Want A Sharp Knife
A sharp knife does all the work when you're slicing something. If the knife is dull, you have to use pressure, and that can cause the knife to slip and it increases the risk of injury. Using pressure while you're slicing with a dull knife affects the food. It shreds vegetables rather than making a clean cut, and that allows your vegetables to go bad quicker. A dull knife also crushes the cells and releases flavor. A sharp knife makes clean cuts and retains flavor and aroma, so you may notice your meals have a more appealing flavor.
What Makes Knives Go Dull
If you use your knife a lot, it will go dull eventually. However, if you use a knife improperly, it gets dull quicker. You should only cut on a wood cutting board. Anything that's harder than the knife, such as granite, ceramic, or glass will cause the blade to dull. Also, the quality of the knife matters since high-quality knives stay sharper for longer. How frequently you have to sharpen a knife will vary according to how often you use it and the cutting surface you use.
How Knife Sharpening Is Done
There are multiple ways to sharpen a knife. Using a wet method with a slow grinder is a good choice that gets good results. Air-cooled sharpening is often done with a pull-through machine. This sharpens knives, but this technique removes more steel than necessary, so your knife won't last as long. However, this method is quick and inexpensive. You might have it done in the store while you wait.
High-quality professional knife sharpening usually requires that you drop the knives off or mail them in and then pick them up days or weeks later. Sharpening done by hand takes time, but the results are exceptional. Higher-quality knife sharpening also costs more, but the service can be in high demand and lead to a longer wait time. A freshly sharpened knife has a mirror-like surface, no imperfections, and an edge that makes preparing food a safer and more enjoyable chore.
Contact a local knife sharpening service, such as Knife Flight, to learn more.
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