How to Stay Sharp in the Kitchen

Want to learn one of the easiest ways to improve your cooking? Make sure your knives are sharp!

Sharp knives result in uniformly cut food that cooks evenly and tastes better. Your recipe probably calls for a dice or thin slices, not ragged hunks of uneven sizes, am I right?

A sharp knife is safer, too. You’ve probably heard that dull knives are dangerous, and it’s true — a sharp knife cuts through food faster, with less resistance and slippage, which means fewer mishaps involving your knife and fingers.

How Can I Tell If My Knife Is Dull?

Chef Brittany
Even the best knives become dull over time. Cheddar’s Development Chef Brittany Neisen points out that if you feel resistance while cutting an onion, your knife probably needs sharpening.

If you don’t have an onion handy (or want to keep your eyes tear-free), you can also try this easy test: Hold up a sheet of printer/copy paper, place the blade against the top edge at an angle and slice outward. If it doesn’t slice cleanly, use a sharpening steel (the metal rod sold with most knife sets), which hones the edge of a slightly dulled blade.

Sweep the blade along the sharpening steel at a consistent angle. After this, if you still can’t slice the paper correctly, the knife needs sharpening to reshape its edge. Repeat the paper test when finished.

What Is the Best Sharpening Method?

Chef Brittany, like most chefs, uses a whetstone to sharpen knives, but it can be a little tricky. The stone must be soaked in water and kept wet while you move the blade back and forth across the stone. It takes practice to achieve a consistent edge on the knife.

The easiest, most convenient option is an electric sharpener, which is fast and simple to use. The knife blade is held securely against the angle guide, eliminating all guesswork as you pull the blade through the slot. Manual versions work the same but require the knife to be slid repeatedly through the slot, which takes longer and requires force.

Be Kind to Your Knives

Your knives are your friends, and we know you don’t mistreat your friends. Never put your knives in the dishwasher or leave them in the sink. Keep them dry. Also store your knives properly — in a knife block, attached to a magnetic knife strip on the wall or dressed in plastic knife guards.

Don’t feel like bringing out your knives to prepare a homemade meal for your family today? Stop in at your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and let us do the chopping, slicing, dicing and cooking for you.

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