There are several points when it comes to knife sharpeness and blade sharpeness in general;
- No one likes a dull blade.
- Cutting with a sharp blade is extremely satifying and pleasurable.
- Ninty eight percent of domestic knife users will not notice how dull their knives are and how desperatly they need sharpening unitl the matter is brought to their attention.
- One percent will only notice their knives require sharpening when they are significanlty blunt normaly to the pont of needing re-edging.
- The remaining one percent, who keep good sharp knives are one of two types; Professionals who maintain their knives with a steal and stone, or house residence who never use them!
In the thousands of cooking shows and magazines, recepie websites and cooking blogs, information on knives and sharpeness is forever missed.
The knife is such an important part of cooking; As an essential as the ingredients themselves. With sharp knives, the preperation process speeds up no end and the out come of the dish is one hundred time better.
This Page hopes to provide you with some insight into the diffrences between a blunt knife and sharp knives and there effictiveness. We also show how you can identify when your knives requires sharpening and how to maintain your knives once they are sharp.
We hope you enjoy this Stay Sharp Sydney Blog....
The Danger of not having Sharp Knives
Keeping your knives sharp is much safer. When using a blunt knife, one has to apply more force to the product being cut, this limits knife control.
With a blunt knife, the edge can not bite into the product as easy so is much more likely to slip off especially when cutting round smooth products like onions and apples.
Because more force is being applied, if the blade was to fall into the fingers, it will be a much nastier injury than if less force was applied.
In addition to this, nothing heals faster than a good clean cut. With a sharp knife a wound will most likely stop bleeding within minutes.
Cut yourself with a blunt knife and the skin will be bruised and torn and will take hours to stop bleeding.
Above all else, cutting with blunt knives is much harder work. Keep it sharp and make like easier.
The Measure of Sharpness
There are many levels of what sharp is. Go to the 'Next level Ninja Knife skills' page to see some examples and explenations of this.
Here though, we would like to give you a guide and some ideas on how you can measure your knife sharpness and show you the signs of when you require sharpening.
Upon reading the following tips, you will need to consider what type of knife you are using. A quality knife like a fine bladed Japanese knife will be far more effective at cutting than a cheap knife. A thin bladed blunt knife, however may seem sharper than a thicker edged knife.
A simple way to check initial sharpness of your knives is to have look in your fridge and pull out some hard slipery fruits and vegitables such as onions, apples and tomatoes.
Place the product on a chopping board. On first contact, the knife edge should bite into the skin and not slip around.
See if you can slice through the fruit or vegetable with relitive ease and by applying just a little presure. A sawing motion should not be necessary and the knife should glide through the product in a clean motion.
Now try slicing a whole ripe tomato. If your knife is dull, you will squash the fruit and tear the skin. If you have a sharp edge, you will slice clean through without damaging the shape of ripping the flesh.
The picture below shows us a sharp knife gliding through a tomoato.
Additional Ways to Test Knife Sharpeness
The Extreme Sharpness Test
If slicing through paper is easy enough, try stepping up to magazine paper. Because magazine pages are so thin and glossy they are much more slippery and harder fro the knife edge to grip. Below are three ways you can test knife sharpness.
Slice: First slice like the copy paper
Roll: Rolling the paper makes it harder
Shave: The Ultimate test; Scraping a layer off
Sharp Enough to Clean Shave
If you knife is sharp enough to slice paper and shave magazines then you will have little trouple performing the below task.
We do advise caution when trying this. But with a razor sharp knife gentley scraping it across hair, there will be no problem completing a close smooth shave.
Now your domestic or commercial knives are sharp, lets have a look at maintaining them.
There are serveral helpful tips on keeping your knives as sharp as possible and prolonging the time needed before having to place them back on a stone.
Three factors; Usage, maintainace and Storage.
The three rules of maintaining a sharp knife edge are essentially based on one important factor. We will refer back to this factor as we discuss the three rules;
The factor - Every time the blade of your knife makes contact with anything, it is effectively bending the edge. The trick is to prevent this edge from bending and straitening the edge back as much as possible.
1. Cutting Boards
Always use a chopping board when cutting. Never cut on hard services.
Cutting on a plate, metal service or work top is a sure way to blunten you knife quickely.
The hard service will bedge that knife edge over much faster than if you are cutting into a soft chopping board.
Like most things in life, quality is best. A quality chopping board as aposed to a cheap hard plastic chopping board will help keep your knife shapper for longer.
2. Using a steel
Using a steel takes a little practice but it is something you can easily enough to get to grips with over time.
Refering back to the points above, every time you slice with a knife, you are effectively bending the knife edge over on itself.
When steeling a knife, we are actually attempting to bend that edge back straight.
Practice holding the knife on the steel at a 20 degree angle - as a guide this is about the angle of a book of matches.
Place a little pressure on the steel and practice rubbing the edge across the rod in a downwards motion.
Practice, practice and you will improve over time.
Either method of knife storage shown in the pictures above is advisable. Essentialy, the idea is to prevent the blades hitting eachother or anything else.
Throwing your knives in a draw, for example, will do them no good as they are bound to clang together and comprimise the edge.
When using the magnetic rack shown in the first image, be sure to place them back first. If you are not carfull, the magnetic strip can pull the edge of the blade on to it, potentialy dulling the knife as it attaches.
If you prefer a knife block to store your sharp knives, try to rememer to place them in the slots upside down. Inserting the knives in blade down, can cause the edge of the blade to rub across the wood.
If the knives are placed in on there backs, this contact will not occure.
Above all, keep your knives in a dry well ventelated place, clean them individualy with warm soapy water (do not place them in a dish washer) and keep them free from damage.
Get in the habbit of doing all there things and you will find your knives will remain sharper for much longer.
Thank you for reading and Stay Sharp!