It’s cooking time once again! You step into the kitchen, complete with all the ingredients you need to prepare. However, the nightmare begins when you slice your meat and vegetables and you find your knives are dull.
Using dull knives for slicing and dicing is uncomfortable. You may end up with ruined ingredients or even hurt your fingers as you prepare your meal. Save yourself from these troubles by keeping your knife sharp every time you use them.
This article will discuss all the choices available to you when it comes to a good knife sharpener. It has several types, and they have their advantages when used. Let’s check them out!
A whetstone is a manual knife sharpener. It is one of the most common and traditional tools for sharpening a knife. It is also considered the best chef’s knife sharpener because of the control it gives you in sharpening and honing, particularly in maintaining the angle of the knife in your hand.
How to Use
You’ll see three basic materials used for whetstones: Arkansas, Indian, and Crystolon stones. Some also have diamond abrasives. To use them, you can either add mineral oil or soak the whetstone in water before sharpening your knife’s blade. Ensure that you grind the knife's edge equally on both sides, beginning from the bottom of the knife to the edge.
Sharpening or Honing Rod
A sharpening/honing steel is also a manual sharpener, and its primary advantage is its handiness. Most knife sets include this tool, so you can use them conveniently to sharpen your knife before using them, especially if you are slicing raw or cooked meat.
How to Use
To use it, do the following steps:
- Hold the sharpening/honing steel in one hand and hold the knife you need to sharpen on the other.
- Grind both sides of the edge against the steel.
Note that this sharpening tool is best used if your knife needs only a little sharpening. It is ineffective for dull knives.
Ceramic Plate or Mug
If you think a whetstone or a sharpening/honing steel is handy, think again and check out your ceramic plates and mugs. Aside from fulfilling their intended use, you can also use them to sharpen your knives. Talk about multipurpose!
How to Use
Grab any ceramic plate or mug, and use the bottom like a whetstone. Ensure that the plate or mug is on a flat surface so that you will not break the tools. As with a whetstone, you can soak the plate or mug bottom in water or add some oil.
Electric Knife Sharpener
These days, everything is instant and doable in a few seconds or so. In the kitchen, this convenience allows more time to prepare more ingredients. Thus, an electric knife sharpener is the best knife sharpener for busy cooks because it automatically sharpens your knives.
How to Use
How does automatic knife sharpening work? All you need to do is lay the electric sharpener on the kitchen counter and insert your knife in the coarse or fine grit, depending on the sharpening your knife requires. Then, you can wipe your knife, and you are ready to slice and dice.
You may consider using Chef'sChoice knife sharpener or Work Sharp knife sharpener if you are a beginner.
Handheld Knife Sharpener
The prime advantage of using a handheld knife sharpener is its portability. A whetstone or an electric knife sharpener is too bulky to bring outdoors. On the other hand, you can easily slip a handheld knife sharpener into your traveling bag. It is perfect for chefs moving and cooking from one restaurant to another.
How to Use
If you do not travel, a handheld knife sharpener still makes an excellent home sharpener. You just need to lay the knife’s spine on a flat surface and grind it accordingly.
Some handheld sharpeners are similar in design to electric sharpeners, only that you’ll manually grind the knife edge.
Serrated Blade Sharpener
Do you find sharpening a regular knife challenging? Sharpening serrated knives such as utility knives, paring knives, and bread knives is even more so. Good thing you can find sharpeners for serrated knives! Just read the product description carefully to ensure the sharpeners are for serrated knife edges.
How to Use
Most serrated knife sharpeners look like a miniature honing/sharpening steel. They are made smaller for the serrations of a knife to fit. Use it as you use a sharpening/honing steel but with extra effort on sharpening one serration after another.
Knife Sharpness Test
Keep in mind the different sharpening tools’ instructions for use. Do not overdo the sharpening by grinding the edges too much as they might turn too thin and vulnerable to chipping.
After grinding, check the sharpness of the knife through the following methods:
- Do a visual inspection. Inspect the knife's edge for any chipped parts and smoothen it until you have a razor-sharp edge from bottom to tip.
- Use a tomato. Get a ripe tomato and slice it. The knife is sharp enough if it can slice the tomato without smudging.
- Slice an onion. Onions are another readily available ingredient in the kitchen. If you can dice one smoothly and quickly, your knife is already sharp.
- Try cutting a paper. You can also slice a piece of paper. If you can do it in one try, your knife is ready for meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
- Test it through shaving. Some people test the sharpness of their knives by shaving their arm hair. Proceed with caution when doing this, as the knife may also catch on your skin.
Smart Cooking: Knife Sharpener Suited for Your Needs
You have many choices for knife sharpeners, and finding at least one will surely be easy. Check out the advantages of using each sharpener to find the best one for you. Remember: all these sharpeners are equally helpful, but they become the best choice when they help you with your particular needs.
For instance, pick the portable handheld sharpener if you are a traveling cook. Having electric sharpeners and whetstones comes in handy if you cook mostly at home or in a restaurant as a chef. If you are still looking for the best brand of sharpeners, you can rely on your ceramic mug and plate in the meantime.
Whatever your choice is, what matters is it keeps your knife sharp. A sharp knife ensures you have well-prepared ingredients and dishes that look fantastic. Every meal preparation is safe and blissful with it.