I LOVE my knives…and that’s because I’ve picked up so many useful sharp knife tips in my 65 years on this planet!
There is nothing more relaxing for me than to pull some veggies out of the refrigerator and to start chopping. The repetitive motion and the rhythm and cadence simply soothes my soul…and it makes fixing dinner a breeze. But ONLY if my knives are sharp!
Have you heard the old saying that a dull knife will cut you faster than a sharp knife? That is actually true, since you have to apply more pressure to cut anything with a dull knife. And when you’re applying more pressure you are more likely to hurt yourself if the knife slips. A thin, sharp edge on a knife will cut faster and cleaner, with less friction.
Meemaw’s Sharp Knife Tip: Use a SHARP knife when slicing or chopping onions. You’ll shed less tears!
So since I am not a fan of gushing blood, missing digits or emergency room visits, I realized early this winter that my three Wusthof kitchen knives in our Florida condo were in desperate need of a professional sharpening.
I jumped online to look for a professional knife sharpener in Fort Lauderdale, and I found an amazing place located very close to our condo.
I was surprised to discover that World of Cutlery in Oakland Park has been owned and operated by the Polli family since 1901!
As soon as Peepaw and I stepped through the door we were greeted by a friendly gentleman who asked me to place my three knives into a flat cardboard box. He took the box to the back room…to a HUGE grinding stone…and of course I followed him into that noisy, busy, and slightly scary workshop. (I didn’t ask permission to watch him work…because I was afraid he would say NO!)
After grinding each knife for a minute he moved to several different wheels with varying grades of grit to give the blades a sharper and sharper edge. Then he headed to the polishing wheel…
And before long I was the proud owner of three very sharp knives!
And since we’re talking knives…here are some “cutting edge” Sharp Knife Tips I’ve learned through my many years in the kitchen…
- The BEST cutting boards are made of wood. If you use a glass or stone cutting board you will cause your knives to become dull more quickly. Slick cutting boards like glass can also cause your veggies or fruits to slip and slide…not good when you’re holding a sharp knife! Wood makes the best cutting surface because it’s soft and easy to clean. I use a soap, water and bleach solution to clean my wooden boards often, then I rinse them well with clear water and air dry. And I ALWAYS bleach my wooden surface if I’m cutting or handling raw poultry!
- You DON’T need twenty knives! Invest in a quality chef’s knife. And buy one based on how it feels in your hand. For example…my hands are quite small, so my chef’s knife only has a six inch blade. The longer the blade the more difficult it is to balance and control the knife, so make sure you think about that as you select a new knife for your kitchen.
- Use a large size board so all your food stays in one place. No one wants veggies flying around on the counter or landing on the floor!
- Grip your knife firmly by the handle…as if you were shaking hands. It will keep the knife from slipping in your hand. And tuck your fingers under (like a claw) while holding your veggies as you cut them. After all…ten fingers are the best number to start with…and to END with after chopping anything!
- Flat is your friend! That catchy phrase was coined by Dan, one of my talented students in a cooking class I taught several years ago. (Thanks again Dan…I think of you every time I begin to chop!) When cutting round fruits and veggies, cut them in half and then place the flat side down on the cutting board. This keeps the item from rolling on the board and keeps the knife from slicing your hand. And keep the TIP of your knife on the cutting board while slicing while moving the veggie under the knife! That gives you much more control, and your slices will be much more uniform in size and shape.
- Don’t put your good knives in the dishwasher. Just rinse and dry them before storing in a knife block. Some people hang them on a magnetic strip on the wall, but I prefer a block. (It just seems safer to me.)
- Don’t store your knives in a drawer unless they are secured in a rack. You have a much greater chance of cutting yourself since the sharp edge can flip up when other utensils are moved in the drawer, and the knives will become dull much faster if they rub back and forth against other utensils.
- Never leave sharp knives in the sink. Some unsuspecting kitchen helper could reach into the soapy water and get a nasty cut. (Yikes!)
- Teach knife safety skills to children at a young age. Don’t leave sharp knives where children can reach them. Even better, start them with butter knives or cheese spreaders. Or get them their very own (safe!) set. (This set is a favorite of mine.) And adults can even use that larger plastic chef’s knife to slice lettuce since the plastic blade will keep the lettuce from turning brown where it’s been cut. A cool trick, for sure!
- Step AWAY from a falling knife! Never try to catch it! Just step back and let gravity do it’s thing. You can repair the floor with less pain than repairing a severed artery!
Before I left the shop I spent a minute looking at all of the amazing products for sale in the showroom. I could have browsed for hours at all the restaurant tools and gadgets they offer. It was like Disney World for chefs and cooks! And since the company caters to so many chefs in so many types of restaurants they offer knives made in MANY countries. It was amazing to see how many styles and types of knives are available!
I finally pulled myself out of the showroom and we headed back to our condo…and back to my FIVE wooden cutting boards. (You can’t have too much of a good thing…right?)
Now…about those vegetables in YOUR refrigerator? I’m guessing my sharp knife tips will have you chopping like a pro in no time!