Video:Knife Safety and Sharpeningwith Ben Kurtzman
Are you careful enough around the kitchen? Learn the basics of knife safety and how to sharpen your knives.See Transcript
Transcript:Knife Safety and SharpeningHi I am Ben Kurtzman for About.com Food and today we are going to talk about knife safety.
There is one basic principle to knife safety: be in control. The three things that you need to be in control of to avoid accidents are the knife, the object you are cutting, and your own hands.
Choosing the Right KnifeThe first thing you need to do is make sure that you have the right knife for the job. You do not need a fancy 20 piece knife set, but there are some basic knives that you would want in any kitchen. You should have at least one knife that is good for chopping vegetables. It is also good to have a small paring knife for finer work, as well as a separate bread knife. This serrated long knife is what I use to cut bread. And, finally, you should have a good knife for cutting through meat or anything with a thick skin.
You always want to try to use the right knife for its intended purpose. If you were to use a paring knife to cut a pumpkin, for instance, it is inappropriately sized and could cause an accident.
Handling the KnifeNow let's talk about how to handle the knife and the object you are cutting. Always cut away from yourself. That way, if the knife slips it will not head back toward your body. One way to protect yourself is to tuck your fingertips back into your hand. You can still grip whatever it is that you are cutting and handle the knife without endangering your fingertips.
Sharpening the KnifeFinally, make sure the knife blade you are using is sharp. If the knife is dull you will have to use extra pressure, and that can increase the likelihood that you might slip and have an accident. When you bring the knife home from the store it should be very sharp. However, it will get dull after repeated use.
Keeping Knife Blades SharpI am going to show you a trick for retaining a sharp blade. If you do not have one already, go out and buy a knife sharpener like this. Hold the knife sharpener upright with the metal end pointing down into a cutting board. You are going to want to apply enough pressure so that it does not slip. Hold the knife blade at a 45-degree angle against the sharpener. Apply pressure and run the blade along the sharpener. You want to do this three or four time for each side.
If you do this every time you use your knife it will maintain its sharp blade for a long time. One way to test the sharpness of the blade is to run your thumb along it gently. If it is sharp, you thumb should catch.
Storing KnivesFinally, be sure to store your knives with the blades covered. A wooden knife block like this is great, or you can just store them in a plastic sleeve in a drawer. Storing your knives like this does two things. It keeps the blades sharp because the knife does not bang around against other things, and it also reduces your risk of an accident. You do not want to open up a drawer in your kitchen only to find a sharp knife waiting for you.
Use these knife tips for safe and enjoyable cooking. Thanks for watching, and to learn more visit us on the Web at Food.About.com.
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