Whether you manage a commercial kitchen in a busy restaurant or you simply enjoy cooking meals for your family at home, you undoubtedly use knives on a regular basis. While knife use is essential, it can sometimes be scary, especially if you were never taught any specific knife safety tips. To keep yourself, and those in your charge, safe in the kitchen, follow these essential suggestions:
The sharper your knife, the safer it is.
Although this is somewhat counterintuitive, it’s completely true. A sharp knife is a safe knife. The duller a kitchen knife blade is, the more likely it is to slip away from you, cutting you in the process. Furthermore, a sharp knife will slice fruits and vegetables smoothly and easily, whereas a dull one will require you to hack several times, increasing the risk that you’ll get hurt.
It’s also important to understand the angles at which knife blades are sharpened, especially if you prepare food in a commercial setting. Generally, kitchen knives are sharpened so that each side of the blade has a 20-degree angle. This is perfect for most ingredients, including those, like potatoes and apples, which have tough skins. If, however, the majority of the ingredients you use in your cooking are very soft, a 15-degree angle is likely to be ideal for your knives.
The right knife can make all the difference.
Many home cooks and even some commercial cooks don’t necessarily understand the differences among all the knives they have at their disposal. Learning more about the knives you own can be key to staying safe in the kitchen. If, for instance, you’ve ever used any knife as a can opener or used a steak knife to slice a vegetable, you have used knives outside of their intended purposes. This is not a good idea! It could damage the knives or cause personal injury.
Study the knives you have and use them properly if you don’t want to get wounded. Next time you have a roast to slice, try a cleaver, not a paring knife and make sure you use your serrated bread knife only on bread products. This will keep you free from harm and keep your utensils in the best possible condition.
Clean your knives every time you use them.
In order to prevent injury, it is essential to clean your knives on a regular basis. Residue from fruits, vegetables, and meat can become slick, causing your knife blade to slip. Additionally, because some foods contain germs before they are cooked, you could be unknowingly spreading illnesses by using your knives multiple times without thoroughly washing them.
Kitchens are busy places, and it’s easy to get distracted. If you’re using a knife, though, it is important to pay close attention the entire time you’re chopping or slicing. The more divided your attention is, the more likely you are to get hurt. If you follow these tips and focus on the task at hand, you will be able to use all of your kitchen knives safely every time you cook.