Cooking is a beautiful art form. The feeling of chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients to make a delicious dish can be invigorating. You can never be too careful when dealing with sharp knives in the kitchen. We've all heard the horror stories of people cutting themselves while cooking. It's not worth risking your fingers for that extra slice of bacon. Here are some kitchen knives safety tips for you and your family.
Kitchen Knives Safety Tips to Observe
Keep your hands out of harm's way
When using knives, ensure your hands are away from the sharp edges. Your non-dominant hand should grip the handle near the blade. Keep your index finger on top of the knife and point it in the direction you will be cutting.
This ensures the knife moves with your wrist, not against it. The grip should be tight enough for knife safety but loose enough so you can control its movements.
Use the proper knife for your food
Specific knives are designed for certain jobs, i.e., fillet knife, carving knife. For example, when cutting meat in the kitchen, it's best to use a butcher's or carving knife because they are meant for this purpose and will prevent you from damaging the blade of your knife or cutting yourself in the process.
Use a sharpening stone
A sharpening stone is essential to keep your knives tip-top shape and retain their sharpness for longer. A dull knife requires more downward force to cut through your food, increasing the likelihood of accidents occurring. If you cannot afford a knife sharpening service, purchase a sharpening stone to help you maintain your knife's original blade.
Store knives properly
When done with a chopping session, wash your hands and store your knives away from children who might play with them or drawers that they can be accidentally pushed into. Ensure the blades are covered and kept away from the edges of other objects. Purchase a knife block to hold your knives when not in use.
Do not leave knives on the stovetop
Avoid leaving knives on the stovetop while cooking. If you need to set it down, place it point-side up and handle the side facing away from anyone who might be near to prevent injuries.
Do not run with knives
Never jump and run while holding a knife in your hand. This is extremely dangerous, and you might lose control of the knife by accidentally dropping it or losing it out of your hand completely, resulting in severe injuries.
Be mindful of other people nearby
When using knives, never turn your back to or walk away from others. Remain alert and aware of other body parts around you that might be in harm's way, i.e., arms, legs, face. Always mind what you are doing while focusing on the task at hand. Be mindful of your surroundings even if you don't have a knife in your hand.
Cutaway from yourself
For safety reasons, always cut away from yourself. This will help prevent unnecessary accidents. Whenever you feel your hand slipping towards the blade, try moving it in the opposite direction of the blade.
Wash up after use
After handling knives, wash your hands. This will prevent cross-contamination and contamination of others. It will also prevent transferring any harmful residue onto other items such as food and cutting boards around your kitchen.
It will also prevent harmful chemicals such as those found on knives' blades from coming into contact with other sensitive body parts such as your eyes.
Keep your knives sharp
A dull blade will require more downward force and may lead to accidents. Using a sharp knife will allow for effortless cutting and minimize risks. You can buy a sharpening stone or visit a local cutlery shop for sharpening services.
Always stay alert when cutting food. Be watchful of your hands and fingers at all times since they might get in the way of a knife blade, causing a cut or laceration. If you need to stretch, pause for a moment before resuming your chopping session.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
When you are unsure of how to cut or handle your knives, seek professional help. Most department stores selling kitchenware have trained individuals to help you learn about the safe ways to handle various knives. The internet is also an excellent resource for this information. Follow the manufacture's manual when using your knife.
Safety Techniques When Sharpening Knives
Wear protective gear
Wear protective goggles and a mask while sharpening knives. This will help protect you from breathing in any metal shards and prevent the flying sparks of the grinding wheel from coming into contact with your eyes.
Use a proper whetstone
Use a proper whetstone for sharpening knives. These stones are made from silicon carbide or aluminum oxide and ceramic, making them suitable for sharpening metal blades.
Use the correct angle
Always maintain a 30-degree angle throughout the sharpening process. Apply moderate pressure to the blade when sharpening. Applying excess pressure may lead to uneven sharpness.
Always clean the stone
After using it, wipe down or wash your sharpening stone to prevent dirt from building up. This will help keep the stone free of debris which might dull its surface over time.
Use a two-sided whetstone
A double-sided sharpening stone has one coarse grit for grinding and another fine grit for polishing. This allows you to sharpen knives with different levels of wear effectively.
Avoid metal on metal contact
This might cause damage to the whetstone giving it a rough surface. Avoid grinding your knife against any of its serrated areas, which could lead to blade snapping.
Avoid using lubricants or oil
Avoid using any lubricants or oils while sharpening your knives. Lubricants contain chemicals that will prevent your blade from acquiring a sharper edge. Lubricants also roughen the sharpening surface over time.
With these safety and sharpening techniques in mind, you can enjoy using your knives without worrying about getting injured or hurting others. You will also be prolonging your knife's life by handling it appropriately and sharpened when needed. Happy cutting!