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Choosing and Caring for Kitchen Knives

By Edited Sep 2, 2016 0 2

When purchasing your kitchen knives it's important to spend your money wisely.

It's good advice to buy the best utensils you can afford when outfitting your kitchen and this especially applies to purchasing knives.  A good-quality set of knives will save you time and should last a lifetime.  Start by selecting a few good knives that you can add to as you can afford them. 

Kitchen Knives

The knife blade is the most important element in choosing a good kitchen knife.  Make sure that the metal is a good quality.  High-carbon stainless steel is expensive, but it is the most practical for cutting all kinds of food.  It sharpens easily and does not discolor.  A forged steel blade is stronger than a molded blade and keeps a nice sharp edge.

When choosing a knife, look for wooden handles that are sealed with heat-resistant plastic.  These handles are long-wearing and easy to clean.  There are good quality metal handles but they get hot to the touch when near heat sources.

Check the structure of the knife.  Look for a well-balanced knife with a blade that is riveted right through the tang and handle.  The base of the blade should have a firm heel or shank to protect your fingers and reinforce the blade. 

Choose a good basic range of kitchen knives when you first go shopping. 

Always pick up a knife to feel how well balanced it is.  Rest the junction of the handle and blade on the edge of your hand.  The handle should fall back gently if the balance is right.

When buying a chopping or cook's knife, the heavier the better.  The heavier the blade, the less force you will need to apply and the less tired your hand will get.  A heavy wide knife is good for crushing garlic as well as chopping vegetables.

Other useful knives in the kitchen are a small paring knife with a straight blade.  A knife with a broad, long rigid blade is good for easy carving.  Use a deeply serrated blade for efficient bread slicing.

After you have purchased some good quality knives they will need to be stored safely and its important to keep them in good condition.  The safest way to store your knives is to keep them in a wooden knife block or mounted on a magnetic rack. 

Choose a cutting board made of polypropylene or wood as these materials will not blunt the blades.

Always make sure your good kitchen knives are only used in the kitchen and exclusively for preparing food.   Never use them to cut other materials like string or paper. 

Wash your knives by hand immediately after use to avoid accidents in the dish water or dishwasher and to keep them from staining.  For safety, remove stains from the blade with a wet cork that has been dipped in scouring powder. 

If you need to transport or store your knives, you can protect them by sliding them into a plastic or paper sleeve.  Most good knives will come with a sleeve and you should keep these for future use.

It's better to have only one or two good knives rather than a whole set of cheap ones!  Having a few good basic kitchen knives will pay off in the long run and you will be happy you made the decision to spend your money wisely. 

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Comments

Feb 15, 2011 11:53pm
greatnews
I bought a set of $100 knives for my wife. She wanted $400 knives. My mistake, but for some reason we've been using the ones I bought for the last year. I guess I should start saving for that $400 set, before they are a $800 set....
Thanks for the great article! Much needed knowledge.
Feb 17, 2011 8:30am
westernmom
Greatnews - I purchased a few good knives 30 years ago and still use them! The others just come and go..... Woman tend to get their favorites! No only in knives...
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