Knife care handling and skills are extremely essential if you want to keep your kitchen knife in top conditions for a long time.
However, even a step as simple as avoiding common knife mistakes that shorten their life and dull their performance could make a huge impact on the quality of your cuts.
If you want to get into the world of professional cooking, you may kick start your journey by correcting some of the common mistakes that we’re going to tackle in today’s article. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
10 Common Knife Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
1. Picking an Inadequate Knife Set
The first of these common mistakes strikes as early as the moment you purchase your knife set. Knives are available in a wide range of sizes, with some as small as a boning knife, others as large as vegetable chopper knives.
Make sure that you pick the type of kitchen knives that suits your hand size as well as the food you’re going to use them on. For example, if you work with meat more often, consider a knife with a longer blade.
Moreover, knives also come in a wide variety of metal compositions that affect the style and quality of the knife.
For instance, opting for a high-carbon steel knife means that you’ll have a much sharper knife in your kitchen than a stainless steel one.
However, it also means that you’ll need to give it much more attention and maintenance when compared to the steel knives.
That said, there’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to using the knife. So, make sure that you’re able to replace them if they don’t work for you
2. Poor Knife Storage
Improper storage of the knives can easily harm both you and the knife with all the damage it might get from being left out in a drawer.
Instead, always keep the knives secure in a knife sheath that would protect you from cuts as your reach for them and prevent them from dents and bent on the blade.
There are various types of sheaths, such as the clam-shell and the lock-in types. These types are the best in terms of safety but can bulk up your drawers easily.
To save space, you might opt for the best quality magnetic knife holder, which is ideal if there are no children in the house.
2. Spending Way Above (or Below) Your Budget on the Knife
Now that you know which knife sets are suitable for you, you’ll be tempted to make a purchase, and that’s where the next common mistake happens.
It won’t take you long in the kitchen knives isle until you realize that they come in a wide range of price options.
It’s always wise to spend the right amount of money on your kitchen knives without opting for something too cheap or too pricey.
Ideally, a nice kitchen knife that will last for a long time and provide a solid performance should set you back anywhere between $50 to $100 with some premium picks priced at up to $300 or more.
Avoid opting for a cheap knockoff that wouldn’t last, as it might cost you cumulatively more when you replace them.
Also, don’t go overboard with an ultra-professional set that’s extremely unnecessary for even a beginner chef.
4. Tossing Your Knives in a Dishwasher
A lot of people who quickly wear their knives out suffer from this because they take the easy way out by tossing the knives along with everything in the dishwasher.
Unfortunately, no matter where you’ll leave the knives, they’ll bump around and cause a whole slew of problems for you.
First, the knives themselves can easily dent and warp from the heat. Additionally, they can damage other silverware you toss in.
Moreover, sharp knives will damage the protective walls of the dishwasher. Instead, clean the knives separately with hot soapy water following each use.
5. Transporting Them Around Unprotected
If you’re going to take your knives along anywhere, make sure you keep them protected in a knife roll bag.
Even if you use one of those pocket folding ones, invest in a good quality pocket knife sharpener and lube for knives to maintain its longevity.
6. Using the Right Knife for the Wrong Task
If one knife could’ve done it all, you wouldn’t have been that puzzled with all the types of knives out there.
For example, a Santoku Knife is pretty much similar to a kitchen knife. However, they’re recommended only for finer and delicate cuts, while western chef knives are better for thick cuts.
Similarly, an efficient bread slicing knife would cut perfectly through a loaf of bread but not through a steak and vice versa with a steak knife.
If you do a lot of deboning, consider opting for the small flexible boning knife. As the name suggests, it’s designed to work around bones to make cutting through meat bone much easier!
7. Inadequate Handling and Knife Holding
One of the quickest ways to have a bad memory with a knife is to hold it incorrectly. While there are specific ways that chefs use to hold their knife, you can use the one that’s most comfortable to you, provided that you can do it right.
A common mistake that people do while cutting is to extend a finger to push down on the knife’s spine.
However, contrary to what you think, such a hold shifts the pressure away from the right spot and decreases knife stability as well as causing carpal tunnel syndrome in the long run.
Also, make sure that the other hand is in the “bear-claw” hold where you tuck your finger under your knuckles to protect them.
8. Not Sharpening Them Regularly
Every knife is different when it comes to sharpening. That’s why there isn’t a definitive guide on when to sharpen your knife. Yet, a regular home user might only need to sharpen their knife once or twice a year.
However, for better performance, while avoiding over or under sharpening, you can test out the sharpness of your knife.
This can be done by either slicing a sheet of paper or pressing on a tomato’s skin. If the knife bends or dents those items before cutting through them, slicing them would up the knife’s performance.
9. Cutting on a Glass Board
While sharpening the knife regularly is one of the greatest causes of longevity and high-performance, each time you need to sharpen the knife, you’re slowly wearing the blade away.
This happens if you’re using a glass cutting board, as its smooth surface dulls any knife much faster than wooden ones for example.
10. Not Keeping Them Honed Correctly
Honing is one of the most underrated knife care routines that everyone should keep. By using the honing steel on your knife you bring it back to alignment after use.
Honing won’t sharpen a dull blade. However, an unhoned blade might feel quite dull despite being sharp.
In other words, honing makes an already sharp blade feel as sharp as it actually is. Consider maintaining a habit of honing your knife after every use and even during long cutting sessions.
There you have it. A complete guide with some of the most common mistakes everyone makes with their kitchen knives.
As you can see, these mistakes are easy to avoid, but they make a world of difference in your kitchen knife’s lifespan and performance!