Sharpening and Honing Kitchen Knives: A ...

Sharpening and Honing Kitchen Knives: A ...

Tired of wrestling with dull knives?

They turn chopping veggies into a chore and can be downright dangerous! The good news is, keeping your knives sharp is totally achievable, and it makes all the difference in the kitchen.

This guide will walk you through the two main ways to keep your knives in tip-top shape: sharpening and honing.

Think of sharpening like getting a haircut for your knife.

Every now and then (a few times a year for most home cooks), it needs a good refresh to create a brand new sharp edge. There are two main tools for sharpening:

  • Knife sharpeners: These are super easy to use, perfect for beginners. Handheld sharpeners are great for quick touch-ups, while electric sharpeners can give your knives a more aggressive sharpening when they get really dull. Just remember, there are different sharpeners for Western and Japanese knives, so pick the one that works for yours!
  • Whetstones: These require a bit more practice, but they give you the most control over sharpening your knife. Think of it like becoming a knife guru! Just soak the whetstone (or oil it, depending on the kind you get) and then glide the blade across it at a steady angle.

Here are some handy tips for sharpening, no matter which tool you use:

  • Start rough, then smooth! Use the coarse side of your sharpener/whetstone first to get the main sharpening done, then finish with the fine side to polish the edge.
  • Let the tool do the work! Don’t press down too hard, or you might damage your knife.
  • Sharpen both sides! Just a few swipes on each side will do the trick.
  • Test it out! See if your knife can slice through a piece of paper cleanly. If it does, you’re good to go!

Honing, on the other hand, is like giving your knife a little pep talk between sharpenings.

Use a honing steel regularly (ideally before each use) to straighten out the tiny bends in the blade’s edge that happen during normal use. This keeps your knife sharper for longer and helps you avoid that frustrating experience of needing to resharpen all the time.

Remember, sharpening removes metal to create a new edge, while honing realigns the existing edge. Use both techniques together to keep your knives performing their best!

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