A few tips on how to use a kitchen knife safely
We all know that cutting and chopping is important in everyday cooking, but using the best knife will not help you avoid injury if you don’t know how to handle it properly. Below are some tips on how to safely use a knife.
Use a sharp knife
You may ask why using a sharp knife is safer when you can get injured easily from a slight cut. The answer is the exact opposite: by using a sharp knife, you exert less strength than you do when using a dull knife. This alone will prevent you from slipping, thereby decreasing the risk of injuries. If you wish to sharpen your knives, simply use a sharpening stone or a knife sharpener.
But how sharp is sharp enough? Most knives require 20 degrees on each side of the blade for easy cutting. Unless you are not cutting many soft materials, consider continuing to sharpen the knife until it’s around 15 degrees on each side. Although doing that will make the knife sharper and give more precision while cutting, it will decrease the knife’s durability. So unless it is really necessary, keep it at 20 degrees most of the time.
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The right knife for the right task
Although you might consider just using one knife throughout the cooking session as it costs less time or you might just be lazy, it is much safer if you use a different knife that is suitable for each task. However, there are many choices, and it will be a headache just to choose based on styles, shapes, and sizes of the knives available.
For sizes, choose the knife that is proportional to the food you’re going to cut; for instance, you cannot just use a fruit knife to chop a huge piece of meat, so use a cleaver instead.
Each knife is only suitable for the task it was intended for. For instance, using a knife that is made for removing fish scale to cut potatoes will annoy you and make it harder to finish the task.
The edge shape of the knife can either help you or deter you from finishing the job. You are likely to have a harder time if you use a serrated knife, which is meant to cut food with a tender center, for example cheese, instead.
Another note is to never use your knife outside of cutting food, as it will be very dangerous and you may risk breaking the knife.
Keep it clean
You should always remember to clean the knife every time you’ve finished using it. If you just leave it dirty or dump it in soapy water in the sink, you might as well be inviting contamination and rust to gather on your knife. Also, a clean knife is much easier to use than a dirty knife.
Store the knife properly
If you think throwing your knife in a drawer or on the cutting board is enough, then you are wrong. Doing just that may lead to injury or just make the knife’s lifetime shorter. It is better to have proper storage, like knife blocks or rolls, to keep both the user and the knife safe.
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Know your cutting technique
Even if you know how to choose and store your knife, you can still hurt yourself if you know the correct way to cut your food.
For starters, always cut ingredients on a cutting board; this will give you balance and a consistent surface for cutting. Next, you must have a firm grip on your handle; you can add more control if you use your pointer finger and thumb to grasp the side of the blade. Curl up your other hand slightly and press it on the food you're going to cut, as this will prevent you from cutting your fingers. Bring down the knife in one smooth motion, rinse, and repeat until you are done with the job.
Sometimes, you will drop your knife; in such a case, it would be wiser just to let it fall and stay away from the area. It is much better for you to clean or replace the knife than to risk being injured.
That’s right: if you always stay focused on what you are cutting, you will be less likely to cut yourself and have an accident. If you are distracted by something, stop using your knife and do what you have to do. After you’ve finished working on the distraction, you can resume your cutting task.
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With these tips, you can safely use your knife without any fear. Fear of using the knife will just make you prone to injuries.
You can check some top reviews online about which knife is the best for your intended task, or you can also check out some Amazon reviews; you might find some surprise tips from a pro.