Caring for and Sharpening Cutlery

Posted by Chef on 5/1/2012 to Cooking Tips
Cutlery should be used for food preparation only.

Cutting other materials, such as paper and cardboard, will cause the blade to dull faster.

Cleaning

Cutlery should be washed in hot soapy water and dried immediately. Letting knives soak in water or putting them in the dishwasher could be harmful as water and high temperatures may cause a change in the temper of the steel blade or loosen the handle. Cutlery should also be stored in their own rack or in such a manner that their blade does not rub against other items and become dull faster.

Use a Steel

The sharpening steel or "Steel" will maintain the edge of your knife if used regularly. Drawing the edge of the blade across the the steel realigns the microscopic fibers found on the very edge of the blade. It is recommended that ceramic knives be sharpened using a diamond sharpener and not a sharpening steel.

To use the steel:
  •  Hold the steel in one hand and the knife in the other with the cutting edge toward you.
  •  Place the blade on the top of the steel and raise the back of the knife 20o  (about 1/4"). This attitude should be maintained during the entire process.
  •  Place the heel of the blade at the tip of the steel and using light pressure, draw the edge of the blade across the steel in a sweeping, curved motion until the tip of the blade points toward the handle and guard of the steel.
  •  Place the blade on the bottom of the steel and repeat the process to sharpen the other edge.
  •   Always give each side the same number of strokes to maintain the knifes balance and even cutting edge.
Sharpening

Eventually the cutting edge of knives become dull and require sharpening to restore it's original sharpness. This can be done with a professional electric knife sharpener designed to restore the sharp edge and maintain the proper angle of the blade, using a sharpening/wet stone with honing oil, or taking your cutlery to a professional grinding shop.