Why would anyone want to cook with a dull knife? It’s frustrating, it turns cooking from a joy to a chore, and it’s dangerous. A dull knife requires more force, which makes it more likely that you’ll make a mistake and injure yourself. Basically, dull knives are the worst things since unsliced bread.
There’s really no reason to use a dull blade, either. Sharpening a knife may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually relatively simple if you have the right tools. A honing steel will keep your blade’s edge in shape between sharpenings, and when your blade eventually does go dull, a whetstone will quickly whip it back into shape. Here’s a brief tutorial on how to keep your kitchen knife sharp.
Honing your knife
The best way to sharpen your knife is to not let it go dull in the first place. Honing your knife is simple, only takes a few seconds, and can keep your blade sharp for an extended period of time.
Your blade bends practically every time you use it, whether your chopping onions or slicing fruit, and this contact adds tiny imperfections to the edge of your blade. The steel will eventually fold over on itself and make your blade dull. One way to prevent this, or at least delay it, is by honing your knife.
If you’ve ever watched a cooking show, you’re probably already familiar with honing, as most chefs use this technique every time they remove their knife from the chopping block. When you first start the procedure, make sure to start slow and don’t speed up until you’re comfortable with the motion.
Step 1: Take your honing steel in one hand and your knife in the other. If this is your first time, try leveraging the honing steel against a solid surface.
Step 2: Run the blade of your knife down the honing steel.
Step 3: As your knife moves across the honing steel, make sure the contact point moves from the bottom of your knife blade to the top.
Step 4: When you’ve completed your down stroke, twist the knife so that the other side of the blade is in contact with the honing steal.
Step 5: Repeat the process in the opposite direction.
While its not unusual to refer to this technique as “sharpening,” there’s actually a pretty big difference between sharpening and honing. Sharpening actually removes imperfections from the steel and creates a new edge for the blade. Honing doesn’t remove any steel. Instead, it bends the steel back into place.