For people new to the kitchen, it can be easy to underestimate the importance of a nice, sharp knife. Every knife inevitably grows dull, but as long as it keeps cutting food, it’s fine to keep using it, right? Wrong. Using a dull knife not only slows you down, but also damages your ingredients, limits the dishes you can make, and most importantly, puts you at risk of serious injury. Need more convincing? Here’s the breakdown on why a routine visit to a knife sharpener or sharpening your knife at home is a worthy investment.
Sharp knives are safer knives
If this is your first time coming across this fact, it may seem counter-intuitive. After all, if sharp knives are better for cutting, doesn’t that also mean they’re better at cutting us? While this may be true, sharp knives are actually safer because you’re less likely to cut yourself at all. Why is this?
For one, a sharp knife offers its handler more control than a dull one. While a sharp knife will quickly sink into whatever ingredient it’s cutting, a dull knife is more likely to slip off the surface, possibly towards one of your vulnerable fingers. Also, consider the fact that you naturally have to apply more pressure to a dull knife than a sharp knife to create the same cut. When we combine these two facts, we get a recipe for disaster. Not only are you more likely to lose control of a dull knife while cutting but you’ll also have more pressure behind the stroke, making it faster and more forceful. This means you’re more likely to inflict a serious injury on yourself with a dull knife, whereas a sharp knife can help prevent such a situation from forming in the first place.
Sharp knives keep kitchen prep quickEven if you aren’t daunted by the danger of dull knives, it’s hard to deny the time-saving power of a sharp knife. Yes, you’ll have to spend some extra time taking your knives to a sharpener or sharpening them yourself, but given how much a sharp knife can speed up meal prep, you’ll likely save time in the long run. Whereas a dull knife can make every cut a drawn-out struggle, a sharp knife can cut through ingredients quickly and efficiently, something that becomes even more critical if you’re preparing meals for a group. Plus, even if you’re just cooking for yourself, wouldn’t you rather have more free time to do what you love rather than time spent fighting against a dull knife in the kitchen?
Sharp knives keep ingredients beautiful and freshEven if you aren’t daunted by the danger of dull knives, it’s hard to deny the time-saving power of a sharp knife. Yes, you’ll have to spend some extra time taking your knives to a sharpener or sharpening them yourself, but given how much a sharp knife can speed up meal prep, you’ll likely save time in the long run. Whereas a dull knife can make every cut a drawn-out struggle, a sharp knife can cut through ingredients quickly and efficiently, something that becomes even more critical if you’re preparing meals for a group. Plus, even if you’re just cooking for yourself, wouldn’t you rather have more free time to do what you love rather than time spent fighting against a dull knife in the kitchen?
Sharp knives keep ingredients beautiful and freshHere’s another counter-intuitive fact: sharp knives actually do less damage to your ingredients than dull ones. This is because while they do cut more efficiently, that cut is more precise and thus damages fewer of the ingredients’ cells. Think of it like this: a sharp knife slices while a dull knife tears. While this difference may not seem that important at first glance, it can be a crucial distinction when preparing fruit, vegetables, herbs, and other plant-based ingredients. Why? Because damaged plant cells immediately begin to wilt and discolor. This is how using a dull knife can lead to sad-looking salads and lifeless herbs. In contrast, a sharp knife can keep all your ingredients looking their best. But it’s not just about appearances. Because a dull knife tears and crushes organic cells, it often forces out the ingredients’ natural juices and moisture. This is true not just of plants but of meat too, which are more likely to “bleed out” their natural moisture after a messy cut. The result is ingredients that dry up quickly after they’re cut, which can negatively affect the flavor, freshness, and texture of the final product. A sharp knife can prevent this from happening by damaging fewer cells and thus squeezing out less of the ingredients’ moisture.
Sharp knives allow for greater dish diversityGiven all the ways a dull knife can make cooking more dangerous, difficult, and time-consuming, you may find yourself drifting away from recipes that require extensive cutting. You may not even be aware that your knife is the problem. Upon finding an interesting recipe that calls for a lot of knife-work, you may just decide that it sounds like too much of a hassle without examining why. The truth is that a sharp knife can make even finicky recipes much less intimidating, increasing your confidence to try out recipes that a dull knife might ruin. Given how much a sharp knife can increase your recipe repertoire, a good sharpening can be a huge boon to anyone who has a passion for cooking.
Sharp knives make for a happy chefThe Spanish use Bomba rice to make paella. It’s an ideal rice for paella because it can absorb more liquid than mosts other rices which means that it is absorbing the flavors of the ingredients cooked with the paella.
The Importance Of Keeping Knives Sharp
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and we spend a lot of thattime with a knife in hand. If sharpening your knives can make that time more productive, enjoyable, and safe, why not do it? Your hands, schedule, and dinner guests will all thank you for it.