How to Sharpen a Knife
Why sharpening your knife is a really good idea
Blunt knives are one of the most commonly occurring kitchen nightmares we have all had to deal with at one time or the other: nearly squashed, unevenly shaped vegetables rather than the finely sliced results we were hoping for; a messy roast rather than neatly sliced portions on the central platter.
Anyone who has ever experienced the above certainly never wants to go through it again – ever. Hence the only solution is to keep a set of kitchen knives in excellent condition around at all times.
But just how do you do go about doing that? It is pretty easy – all you have to do is ensure that they are sharpened regularly and kept spotless, so that they are ready for use whenever you need them.
This article will provide you with the information you need to ensure your knives are sharp enough to slice through your vegetables, fish or meat and create neatly cut portions in the bargain ensuring you never have to endure any messy kitchen mishaps again.
Methods for sharpening a knife
So what are the best methods for sharpening a knife and keeping them in top condition to make sure you are ready to go once you’ve gotten them out the drawers in your kitchen?
Using a professional knife sharpener
Getting someone else to deal with the hassle of blunt knives and picking them up when they have been restored to desirable levels of sharpness is not such a bad idea.
Which is where professional knife sharpeners come in. All you have to do is drop off your knives, and have their edges fine-tuned to their former effectiveness for a fee.
That said, it is worth noting that this option can be a bit pricey and is particularly recommended for professional chefs or butchers who go through loads and loads of knives.
Such individuals may simply not have the time to sharpen them during extremely busy periods and would find such services especially handy at such instances.
Electric knife sharpeners
In terms of convenience and speed, they are simply a great option, particularly if you find yourself short of time. Some of them are even suitable for serrated blades as well and will have them restored to their original sharpness in a matter of minutes.
All you have to do is hold the blunt knife in place without applying any pressure and allow the device to work on its edge.
Special attention must be paid to ensure high quality sharpeners are obtained. The manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed during their operation to get the best out of the procedure and avoid any damage to your knife.
Manual knife sharpeners
Unlike the previous option, this method requires lightly holding your knife in the required slots and passing the entire blade through each one until you have achieved the desired result.
If you are already used to manual sharpeners, you will love having them around since you will be able to get your knives slicing through your food the way they are meant to in no time at all.
However in addition to requiring some level of skill, another drawback of this method is its unsuitability for serrated knifes, particularly bread knives.
The base of your coffee mug
This is an excellent DIY solution for anyone who does not have a whetstone, electric knife sharpener, or a manual one, for that matter.
All you have to do is turn a coffee mug upside down, hold your knife at a 20 degree angle and apply it to the unglazed ring at its base.
As you work your way up the blade, the base of your mug will start to darken which is the proof you need that your knife’s blade is getting sharpened.
Flip the blade and repeat for the other edge and test your knife on a vegetable to ascertain its new, improved status.
Using a whetstone
One of the oldest methods of knife sharpening, this is one which continues to remain as effective as ever.
Ceramic – Renowned for their fine grain and durability, ceramic whetstones are quite hard. They also require a small amount of water before they can be used.
Water – Whetstones of this kind are quite popular and must be soaked in water before they are used. They have a softer texture than ceramic whetstones and are highly effective knife sharpeners. They also need a fixer to eliminate the grooves which appear after a while to keep them effective.
Oil – These whetstones require oil as their lubricant are also a highly popular option just like water whetstones. Oil whetstones may be natural or manufactured with each category possessing different properties with regards to their knife sharpening abilities. As a result, special attention must be paid to the manufacturer’s specifications in this regard.
Diamond – The most expensive of this category, these whetstones come with a wide range of sizes and quantities of diamonds which influence their grit.
A whetstone’s grit is really important since it has an effect on how long sharpening a knife will take and the result that will be achieved: smaller grits take less time, while larger grits require longer but provide impressive results.
Enjoying the benefits
Once you have restored your knives to their desired levels of sharpness and cleaned them thoroughly, you will be able to slice your favorite vegetables, fruits, cuts of meat and fish as finely as you want to for amazing results.
In order to ensure your hard work lasts as long as possible you would need to ensure they are stored efficiently.
Knife magnets, countertop knife blocks or knife sleeves all work amazingly well and will keep those edges sharp for as long as possible. Storing them carefully in this manner will also make your kitchen tidier and safer and ensure they are easily within reach whenever you need to create a culinary masterpiece.