A kitchen knife is an essential tool for any cook. It's the one piece of equipment that you can't function without, so it pays to know how to use it properly. Using the knife correctly will help to minimize the risk of injury and make cooking as satisfying as possible. So let's get started.
Use the sharp knife
A blunt knife can be more dangerous then the sharp knife. When you cut with a blunt knife, you need to apply more force. As a result, the knife is more likely to slip, increasing the risk of injury. Keeping knives razor-sharp is one of the easiest ways to keep them safe. Simply use a sharpening stone to keep the blade's sharp edge.
How sharp should a knife be? To balance sharpness and durability, most kitchen knife blades are designed at a 20-degree angle on each side of the cutting edge. If you work with a lot of soft ingredients, you might want to sharpen the knife to 15 degrees on each side. However, a knife with a 15-degree angle requires more frequent sharpening, which can reduce the knife's overall durability. If most of your ingredients are hard in texture, keep the blade at 20 degrees on each side.
Choose the right knife for the job
Choosing the right knife for the task at hand is one of the most fundamental knife safety tips that professionals and amateur cooks alike should learn. However, this choice can be very difficult because of the wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes of kitchen knives.
A few general tips to help you choose the right knife are:
-Use a chef knife for most tasks. It has a curved blade that is versatile enough for slicing, chopping, and dicing. Chef knife blades range in size from six to ten inches and have a pointed tip.
-Use a slicing knife for slicing meats and poultry. Slicing knives have long, thin blades that are designed to make clean cuts without shredding the meat. They range in size from eight to twelve inches.
-Use a serrated knife for slicing bread ( as bread knives), tomatoes, and other soft fruits and vegetables. The serrations help to cut these items without crushing them.
-Use a paring knife for tasks such as peeling fruit or vegetables, deveining shrimp, or cutting small objects.
-Use a cleaver for hacking through bones.
So what else do you have to consider when choosing the right knife? Here are some things:
Blade Length: Choose a knife that is proportional to the food you are cutting. For example, a utility knife won't be very useful when cutting a large piece of meat, so use a cleaver instead.
Flexibility: Some tasks require a flexible knife, while others require a sturdy knife. Think about the knife you choose to remove scales from fish compared to the knife you need for slicing potatoes.
Cutting Edge Shape: Cutting edge shape can make your work much easier or harder. For example, knives with a wave-shaped sharpening edge ( as serrated utility knife) are great for cutting food with delicate flesh.
Never use the knife for anything other than cutting food. Using the knife for other purposes may not only endanger your safety but also damage the knife.
Keep the knives clean
It's critical to clean the knife as soon as you're done with it in order to avoid dirt build-up. Leaving the knife on a cutting board or in a sink full of soapy water creates a mess in the kitchen and the possibility of infection and injury. A clean knife is also easier to use. Food residue on the handle can make your knife slippery, so make sure it stays clean for a more confident grip.
To ensure hygienic conditions and maintain the longevity of your knife, make sure you wash your knife properly. Some types of knives may have handles or blades that can collect food waste, so inspecting the knives before and after washing will help prevent food build-up.
Store the knives correctly
A special area in the kitchen designated to store the knives keeps the kitchen tidy and also facilitates safe knife handling. When knives are not in use, they should be stored away from the workplace. It is important to set up a dedicated area for the knives to avoid mishaps and extend their lifespan.
Master the correct cutting technique
Knowing how to cut properly with a knife is a fundamental part of safety when working. Incorrect knife handling can lead to injury and damage to the knife itself.
How to use a knife correctly?
- Always use a cutting board when cutting ingredients. This will allow you to cut consistently and protect your work surface while working.
- The best way to hold a kitchen knife is with your dominant hand close to the blade, and your non-dominant hand gripping the handle near the base. This gives you more control when slicing or chopping. If you're unsure how to hold or use the knife correctly, seek help from a more seasoned person or study Youtube videos!
- If you're right-handed, hold the knife in your right hand and vice versa.
- When using a slicing knife, hold the blade at a slight angle with the dominant hand while gripping the handle with the non-dominant hand. This will give you more leverage when slicing.
- Another important point - when you drop a knife, your natural instinct may be to grab it. You must learn to refrain from doing this and let it fall! A dropped knife can easily be washed and replaced if necessary, but your hands will take a long time to heal!
Pay attention to what you are cutting
Although the home kitchen can be a hectic place, always give the cutting process your full attention. This means you should never try to multitask when using a knife. Cutting vegetables or fruits while watching TV can be very dangerous, as you may not be paying close enough attention to what you are doing. This could lead to an unfortunate accident. If you become side tracked or stop, immediately put the knife down and then address the cause of distraction.
Be aware of your surroundings
When you're working with knives, it's important to be aware of your surroundings. This means being careful not to swing the knife towards other people in the kitchen, or towards yourself.
A basic rule: if the blade is facing towards yourself (or another person), then your hand should be on the opposite side. This way if there was an accident where the tip accidentally came out, it would hit your hand and not the other person.