Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time in the kitchen knows that having the right tools is extremely important to being able to work quickly. But it is also important that you maintain these tools so that they work the way they are designed to. Like most chefs, the tool I find myself using most frequently is my chef’s knife. So making sure that it always has a keen edge is a must.
The Importance of a Sharp Knife
Do you remember the first time you used a brand new chef’s knife? It sliced through everything quickly and efficiently. It didn’t matter if you were cutting through carrots or a ripe tomato, it required almost no effort whatsoever. This is how your knives should always operate. It may seem rudimentary, but keeping your knives razor sharp is important to ensuring they last as long as possible. It’s also crucial for your own safety.
Let’s look at an example. I cut a lot of sweet potatoes. These are a very popular food for those that are on the Paleo diet. On top of that, I happen to love them. But cutting them can be somewhat challenging. They are an unusual shape, and they are very dense. So a dull blade tends to change directions as you cut through a dense food like this.
Obviously this is very bad. A knife should cut through your food in one direction. This eliminates any possibility of you getting cut instead of the food.
How to Sharpen a Knife
Humans have been sharpening knives and tools for many thousands of years. There are quite a few methods for keeping your blades razor sharp. My favorite way to do this is with an electric knife sharpener. They are fast, efficient, and capable of restoring your knife to it’s factory condition.
But not all electric sharpeners are the same. The best models tend to come with 3 stages. The first stage is for repairing any damage done to the blade during cutting or use. The second stage then raises a burr on the blade. This is an important step in the sharpening process. Finally, the third stage hones the blade by removing the burr. For the most part this process should take no more than 10 minutes.
The best knife sharpeners will also allow you to choose the angle at which you sharpen the blade. This ensures that the smallest amount of material possible is removed from the knife during the sharpening process. It also extends the life of the blade and also helps to ensure that the blade will remain sharp for a longer period of time. Some models even let you adjust the blade angle based on the type of knife your are sharpening. Using a dial you simply select the type of blade, and then sharpen it according to it’s instructions.
What to Pay
When it comes to a good electric knife sharpener, you should expect to pay well over $100. Some models even get up into the $200 range. Since good kitchen knives are expensive, I don’t recommend skimping on a quality sharpening device. Smith’s is one of the better names out there and they have a couple of good products that allow for an adjustable angle. You’re going to pay a bit more. But I have no problem with this given it’s a quality product.