The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

5:42 PM

Food Tip - Knife Sharpening

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

Knife Sharpening

When cooking, it is very important to keep sharp knives.  Various knives are used so much in cooking, that it would be quite difficult for most of us to imagine a kitchen without them.  However, using a dull knife can be much like trying to slice food with a spoon: it doesn't work too well!  Even if you don't have the greatest quality knives, you can still keep your knives performing to the best of their abilities by keeping them razor sharp.
 Sharp Knife

There are a few basic ways to keep your knives sharp.  Let's take a look at the options:

1.  Have them professionally sharpened.  Though the most expensive option, this is also the easiest way of sharpening your knives, as you don't have to do any of the work!  You can take them to a cutlery store, or even use a mail-in option online, where they will sharpen your knives for you, then ship them back.  If you aren't sure where to have your knives sharpened, try a Google search for "Knife Sharpening," or look up your nearest cutlery store.
This type of sharpening can also be great if you are unsure of your ability to properly sharpen your knives.  Since they are being done by a professional, you can rest assured that the knives will be sharpened the correct way.  Although this type of sharpening can be cost-prohibitive when compared with some other possibilities, it is a great option for expensive knives that deserve the best treatment.
 Sharpening Machine

2. Use a knife sharpening machine.  There are plenty of electric knife sharpeners out there that are relatively foolproof.  All you have to do is follow the directions, and the machine will sharpen your knives for you, automatically using the correct angles, since the grinding stones are set permanently into the machine.
Although this option can be rather expensive, it is something you will only have to purchase one time, and it will last you quite awhile, sharpening many knives.  Also, it is easy to use.
 Sharpening Steel

3. Use a sharpening steel.  This is a tool that is basically a large piece of metal with a handle, and the user can run the knife edge along the steel to sharpen it.  This is often used in conjunction with a more heavy type of sharpening, such as sharpening with a stone.  The user holds the steel in one hand, and runs the blade back and forth at an angle, rubbing it against the metal.
 Hand-Held Sharpener

4. Use a sharpening stone.  This is a very great, precise way to sharpen a knife.  However, the knife is sharpened by removing some of the metal.  Since this is the case, a sharpening with a stone is often followed up by sharpening with am honing steel (see above).  Sharpening stones come in many types and varieties, including hand-held and table models.
Table Sharpener

However, you choose to sharpen your knives, you will be glad you did the next time you need to slice into a soft tomato!

For more information on sharpening knives by hand, check out this page on knife sharpening tips, and this page on how to use a sharpening steel.

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