Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Knife Care 101

I was complaining to my friend Julia at La Medusa about dull knives and asking what she and her fiance (the head chef at La Medusa) do to care for theirs. She highly recommended The Epicurean Edge in Kirkland for sharpening. I took my knives there and holy canoly, those suckers are sharp. So sharp that I had to significantly slow down my chopping for fear of losing a finger or two. I enjoyed talking with the owner of The Epicurean Edge, who as you can imagine is very passionate about knives and proper knife care. He taught me a lot in my short visit. Here are a few of the tips I can still remember.
- Don't smash garlic with the side of the blade (OOPS, that's the only way I've ever done it). It bends the knife making it harder to sharpen. Often times they will have to re-bend the blade before sharpening which can break it. Not worth risking with an expensive knife. Also, he explained that smashing the garlic oxidizes it and makes it bitter. I still smash mine but I use the flat side of a meat tenderizer instead of my good knives..

- When you get your knives sharpened, don't leave them loose in the sink (as I always did with my dull knives) because you are bound to cut yourself or the sharp blades will nick the blades of other knives or scuff their handles. They are that sharp once he gets his hands on them! And this is good advice because I splurged on a great knife while I was there. (I cook so much I thought I deserved it!) It was so sharp that I nicked it on a large serving spoon sticking up in the sink. Amazing how fine and sharp these suckers are. So be careful and mindful when cleaning them or leaving them in the sink.
- Don't chop chocolate, nuts, or any type of bones with your good knives. These items are too hard and can ruin your blade. They recommend having an "abuse knife" for these items so if the blade gets chipped, you haven't ruined your best knife. He helped me select one knife from my set to set aside as the abuse knife.

- Don't put your sharp kitchen knives in the dishwasher (apparently the only knife fact I did know). The water jets in the dishwasher can knock your knives into one another or into other hard objects, chipping them.

- Use a honing steel every few uses, or every few hours of use, to keep your knives sharper longer. If you do this regularly you don't need to get them sharpened nearly as often. Most knife sets come with a steel version but the owner prefers ceramic honing rods for reasons I'll let him explain because that's where it gets too technical for me. If you're curious, go visit him in Kirkland.

I got my knives as wedding gifts and after seven years of them being so dull that it was like chopping with a butter knife, I got off my lazy ass and took them in. I took half at a time so I had something to use while they were being sharpened (takes a few days). I can't recommend The Epicurean Edge enough. You don't realize how bad you've had it until you get them professionally sharpened.


1 comment:

Erika said...

great info....I'll be heading to Kirkland soon!