13 Things You Didn’t Know About Kitchen Knives

Knife professionals weigh in on safety and proper use.

By Meaghan Cameron
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    1. Cutting board materials matter.

    Using a proper cutting board and hand washing your knives are absolutes; you're either doing it or you're not. Wood, bamboo, and plastic are better for your knives than composite boards; harder boards like glass, metal, stone, and ceramic will quickly destroy knives, experts say. Find out the truth behind three other kitchen knife myths that can hurt you.

    2. A sharp knife actually causes fewer cuts.

    The reason you cut yourself less with a sharp knife is because it takes less force to cut through anything. Sharp knives aren't scary, blunt ones that need loads of force and are liable to go anywhere are. Use the right tool for the job and use it the right way.

    3. Learn proper cutting technique.

    Tuck your fingers under and use the knuckles as a guide for the knife. Watch your thumb too! Check out this video on proper knife skills before you start chopping.

    4. Choose a knife that works for you.

    The best knife for your best friend may not be the best knife for you. If possible cut with a knife before you buy it to see how it feels in your hands.

    5. Don't use a knife for anything other than cutting food.

    As a general rule, if you wouldn't bite into it with your teeth, don't touch it with your chef's knife.

    6. Don't use a steak knife for food preparation.

    Use a chef's knife or paring knife, even if these are the only two knives you own. In many households, the serrated steak knives are often the only sharp knives capable of cutting at all.

    7. A serrated knife is not a saw.

    Most items can be cut in a nice slice with a single long draw of a serrated knife.

    8. Keep your cutting area clear.

    Don't place any item on your cutting board that you don't want to be cut.

    9. Don't toss knives into a sink

    Sharp knives + washing up bowls full of soapy water + unsuspecting hands = nasty surprise. Wash your knives after using, dry, and put away in a knife block, knife drawer insert, or secure magnetic rack.

    10. A falling knife has no handle.

    Don't grab for it. Just let it go and watch your feet. Also, don't cook barefoot.

    11. Skip the huge gift sets.

    You are better off buying a couple of really good knives than a huge block set of mediocre knives.

    12. Safety first.

    Brace your cutting board with a kitchen towel for more stability.

    13. The blade is for cutting, not corralling.

    Many people use the blade edge of a knife to corral the food to the edge of the board. Avoid using the blade of the knife to sweep things off the board, instead turn it over and use the spine of the knife to keep the working edge sharp.

    Sources:
    Adam Marr/Marr Knives, Christopher Miller/ Owner/ Industri Cafe, Mark Richmond/owner/Chefknivestogo.com, Sebastians, Tom Bolton, Kenny Chan, Mike Zollner / Zollners.blogspot.com

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    Your Comments

    • Anonymous

      These are all basics. How about a practical and economical guide on how to sharpen your knife and how to keep it sharp between sharpening? How about how to determine a knife handle is right for ones grip? How about how to determine if a knife is balanced? These 13 things noted by Cameron are the basics and if some people didn’t know them, they should not play with knives as most spend 100′s of dollars and buy expensive knives just to decorate their kitchen

    • Franc910

      Superior quality knives are a great investment- even if you can only afford two or three. Also buy a good knife sharpener- and use it.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_45IGUF3PZB4NQIWGZY6C5XKU6Q ÐTZµlµ

      Some of the points at the start of the article were good.  Then it went right to crap after about hint number 6. Don’t cook barefoot?!  Don’t put knives in the sink?  I think they left out “Don’t throw knives at anyone in the kitchen…”