Cutting edge cutlery can make food preparation easy so it can be tempting to buy the new, hot knife when you see it touted on television by a celebrity chef or featured in the fancy cooking magazines. The fact of the matter is that while you may or may not need a new knife, you really do need to take stock of the cutlery you own before buying anything new because proper cutlery care, handling and storage has a lot to do with how well a knife does or does not perform. If you are not taking proper care of the cutlery you already have then a new knife is not going to improve the situation.
Take a look at each knife you have and make sure the handle is securely and seamlessly attached to the blade; there should be no wiggle room and rivets should be flush with the handle. The blade should be smooth and shiny with no nicks or gouges which may harbor germs and breed bacteria and the blade should be corrosion and rust free. Water is the natural enemy of any knife and regardless of how your cutlery is marked it should not be placed in the dishwasher because the hot water of the wash cycle and the heat of the dry cycle will compromise the overall integrity of the knife. The best way to clean a knife is to wipe it with a damp cloth until clean and then towel the knife dry to help prevent rust.
Knife storage is also important – it is not a good idea to toss a knife in the gadget drawer where it can be easily damaged. Invest in a knife block, magnetic knife rack, fitted knife drawer or individual knife protectors to keep your knife blades segregated and protected. Professional chefs often use a knife roll – this is another excellent knife storage option.
It is often said that a sharp knife is a safe knife and with good reason – if you are working with a dull knife you may be exerting too much force when can lead to mishaps and accidents. Invest in a knife sharpener and use it on a regular basis to keep your knives sharp and safe. If possible, make it a practice to sharpen each knife before using. Many professional chefs like to use a diamond steel sharpening rod; a manual knife sharpening wheel is another popular option.