Knives come in different types. Aside from that, they differ in material composition. One such material is ceramic.
A ceramic kitchen knife set is commonly used both in professional and home cooking. This article will outline the basic things you need to know about owning a ceramic cutlery set, its advantages over other knives, and how to care for it.
Knives are made from different materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel, high-carbon stainless steel, and ceramic, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The knives you usually see sold commercially are made from steel. In contrast to these, ceramic knives are made from zirconium oxide.
Do not mistake coated knives for ceramic knives. Although they have the same look, they function differently. Coated knives are a more affordable alternative to ceramic knives. Unfortunately, the significantly lower price of coated knives lures some consumers into buying them, not knowing they aren’t ceramic knives. If you want to invest in a ceramic blade knife set, make sure it’s authentic.
Ceramic knives are usually available only in two blade colors: black or white. The blades are razor-sharp and don't dull or rust easily even after a long time. In addition, when you use ceramic knives to chop fruits or vegetables, the blades don't oxidize the insides of the fruit. As a result, the chopped fruit will retain its original color.
On the other hand, the blade material of coated knives is high-carbon stainless steel. The term “coated” pertains to its nonstick coating added after honing the knives. Compared to genuine ceramic knives, coated knives are available in more colors, such as pink, yellow, and green. However, these are not as sharp as true ceramic knives, and they dull and rust easily. They also oxidize the sliced surface of fruits and vegetables.
So if you're looking forward to buying a ceramic knife set, see to it that you're getting knives with true ceramic blades. Although some people prefer the coated ones due to their lower price, you may not appreciate it if you're after the advantages of a true ceramic one. So choose your kitchen collection of ceramic knives wisely.
Aside from distinguishing authentic ceramic from coated steel knives, there are other basic things you need to learn about them. For some, knives are only a tool they use for preparing food, but others consider knives as an extension of their hands when they're cooking.
It doesn't matter if you're a pro or a home cook. If you want to maximize their features, you need to learn more about knives and how to use them properly. Here are the basic facts about ceramic knife sets.
Ceramic knives are made from a chemically unreactive compound metal called zirconium oxide. This property is why fruits and vegetables don't turn black (or oxidize) when sliced with a genuine ceramic knife.
Among the different types of knives, ceramic knives are one of the hardest. The hardness of a knife is measured using the Mohs scale, which characterizes minerals based on their ability to scratch the surface. The highest rating on the scale is 10, the hardness level of a diamond. At 8.5, ceramic-blade knives are in between the hardness of corundum and topaz.
Now, you might be thinking, “Is hardness associated with a knife’s performance?” Aside from the blade's sharpness, its hardness also contributes to its performance. Even if the blades are sharp, they will dull more quickly if they are not hard enough.
If you slice or chop for a long duration, featherweight knives aren't ideal because your arms and hands will do most of the work. You also wouldn't want to have a heavy knife that can tire your arm quickly.
Ceramic knives weigh less than steel knives. Try holding them, and you will notice these are about half the weight of steel knives. Although they’re lightweight, they still have some heft to them, which makes them comfortable to use.
When buying a kitchen knife, its sharpness and hardness aren't the only things you should focus on. If you want a knife to last long, choose a nonporous one.
Both ceramic and steel knife blades are made of metal. Metals have different characteristics, such as the level of porosity, which is a measure of spaces or voids in a material.
Stainless steel blades have more pores than ceramic ones. Since the knife blade is always in contact with food surfaces, minute pieces of food can get stuck within the pores. Although cleaning the knife will remove large food debris, the microscopic ones wouldn't be as easy to remove.
In contrast, ceramic knives have fewer pores than steel knives, so there's less accumulation of food debris in it. This feature makes ceramic knives more hygienic to use in the long run.
Benefits of Using Ceramic Knives
Steel knives aren't the only ones with stainless properties. Ceramic knives are naturally 100% stainless too.
This feature makes the knife unreactive to acidic substances. Acidic foods such as citrus and lime are tangy, and their scent and flavor can stick on surfaces (even on your hands) for a long time. So if you're cutting lime, you don't have to worry about its scent and flavor lingering on the knife's surface.
Ceramic knives keep their sharpness for a long time, especially if you use them on soft and fibrous materials. Once they get dull, you can use sharpeners to keep their edge sharp.
Ceramics are safe to wash with a dishwasher, although there's some risk to it since other objects might hit the ceramic knives and dull their sharpness. We recommend hand-washing them instead. Doing this will also maintain the sharpness and overall lifespan of the knife.
As mentioned earlier, ceramic knives are lighter than most knives, making them easier to control. Nevertheless, you don't have to put added pressure on it just to cut or slice through food properly. Its weight is just enough for you not to tire out if you're cutting for a long time.
There are no other special instructions on how you should clean a ceramic knife set. Since it's nonporous, you don't have to rub hard on the edges to remove food debris. You need no special cleaning ingredients either—dishwashing liquid should be good. As we said, we recommend that you hand-wash them to retain their sharpness for a long time.
Maintenance also won't be a problem since ceramic knives don't dull easily. Once they do, a knife sharpener should be good to use for getting the knife sharp again. Depending on where and how much you use it, you can expect its initial sharpness to last for six months to a year before you'd need to sharpen them once again.
Kitchen collection ceramic knives would be a great addition to your cooking essentials. Note, however, that ceramic knives aren't cheap, especially if you want to get authentic ones.
If you'll buy a ceramic knife set, see that these aren't coated. One way to know if it's a true ceramic knife or not is through its color. It is usually available in two basic colors, white and black, while coated steel knives are available in more than two colors.
Ceramic knife blades are also more advantageous than steel knives. These are lighter, sharper, and more hygienic to use. Its sharpness doesn't fade over time, making it easier to maintain than the latter. So if you're looking for high-quality kitchen knives, consider getting a ceramic cutlery knife set. These knives are not just sharp out of the box, but they retain their sharpness even after a long time.