Keep your knives sharp.
This may seem like a very obvious thing say, but it is surprising just how many people will invest in good quality knives and fail to keep them sharp.
It is true to say that good knives stay sharper for longer, but no knife will stay sharp forever (regardless of what you may be told!). Every time you use them they will lose a bit of sharpness, and as this is such a gradual process you may not even notice the loss of edge until you compare them to some new, or newly sharpened, knives!
It is very important to try to keep a sharp knife sharp, rather than have to re-sharpen it. If you have to put a new edge on a blunt or very dull knife it is a much more time consuming and difficult process and will also wear the knife blade away much quicker.
Depending on what type of steel the knives are made from will determine the type of sharpener that you will need to use. For example German steel knives tend to be made of a slightly softer steel to Japanese ones, and as such you can maintain the edge with a traditional ‘butchers’, or honing, steel.
This type of steel is primarily used to keep a knife sharp, rather than to ‘re-edge’ or re-sharpen. If your knives are beyond being a bit ‘dull’ and do need to be re-edged you may need to use a more aggressive sharpening tool, such as a diamond steel. This type of steel tends to be a flat rod that has industrial diamond grit embedded in the surface. A good tip with this type of steel is to make sure that you wipe it down with a damp cloth after each use – this will stop the metal shavings building up between the diamond grits and smoothing off the surface, thereby lessening it’s effectiveness.
For Japanese steel, or other knives that tend to use a harder steel the recommended sharpener is a whetstone.
A whetstone will give the best possible edge to any knife (excluding serrated ones), but does require a reasonable amount of skill and practise to use properly and get good consistent results. As such a ceramic pull-through sharpener such as the Minosharp Shinkansen is a good alternative, as it is very easy to use and will give good results.
After sharpening your knives wash thoroughly and store safely.
We will cover the actual process of sharpening in another post.