KNIVES: cleaning, care and proper storage.
Almost each of us owns several cutting tools: chef's knives, folding pocket knife, knife for fishing, hunting or hiking and so on. When we buy a new knife, we pay attention to it, carry it with us, use it regularly. But sooner or later the moment comes when we leave the knife in a desk drawer, backpack, glove compartment of a car or other place for some time. Days later, weeks later, or maybe months later, we remember our favorite again and find it among things, objects and equipment. What is it? The blade of the knife is covered with rusty stains, the blade shows dried up food remains, the handle keeps traces of frozen and absorbed fat.
Such unpleasant surprises happen all the time. And all because many of us do not know how and by what means to take care of their cutting tools, how to store knives properly.
Although the vast majority of modern knives are equipped with blades made of high quality stainless steel, you should not think that such blades are not susceptible to corrosion. Care, proper cleaning, sharpening, polishing and normal storage conditions are essential for absolutely all knives, regardless of their purpose and the materials from which they are made.
Keep in mind the main recommendations on operation and storage of knives:
1. all knives should be lubricated (folding knives should be lubricated not only the blade, but also the lock mechanism, as well as moving parts);
2. make sure that your knives are sharp (a sharp knife, contrary to the stereotype, is much safer to use than a blunt knife);
3. after use, the knife blade must be rinsed and wiped dry; you must not leave the blade wet;
4. folding knives are much more complicated than knives with fixed blades, so they need more thorough care, periodic cleaning and lubrication;
5. Without certain skills, you should not repair the knife, especially the folding knife. This way you can get hurt and ruin your cutting tool.
Care of the blade consists of washing and wiping it dry, after which you should wipe the blade with an oil-soaked cloth. If you live by the sea or in regions with high humidity, such procedures should be performed more often than usual. If you took the knife for a walk to the sea and washed it in sea water, you should immediately rinse the knife with fresh water, wipe it dry and lubricate it after returning.
Many owners of knives keep them in their covers. This is not right. Moisture accumulates in the scabbard (especially leather scabbard). It is the sheath that causes the blades to corrode. Knives should be stored separately from sheaths or covers wrapped in oily rags. This protects your cutting tools from moisture and oxidation when in contact with air.
Wooden knife handles should also be rubbed periodically with oil (so that the handle does not become loose and retains its good moisture-repellent properties). Copper and brass bolsters, the tops can be polished using conventional polishes for these metals.
If possible, do not use your knives for tasks to which the cutting tool is not adapted. Yes, if you own a powerful survival knife and find yourself in an extreme situation, you can use the back of the handle head as a hammer, open canned food with the blade and use it as a screwdriver. But if you're doing all this at home, when you have at hand both an opener and a hammer and a screwdriver, it's just not wise.
If used properly, quality kitchen knives will last you for many years. A few simple rules will help you save your favorite knives from any trouble.
1. High quality kitchen knives are not recommended to be washed in the dishwasher. For a number of reasons, knife manufacturers recommend only a manual dishwasher.
2. Immediately after use, the knives must be hand-washed and dried, otherwise the knife blades may become darkened. If there are slight changes in the shade of steel or stains on the blade, use only mild, chlorine-free or abrasive-free cleaning agents.
It is best to keep the knives separate from the rest of the dishes, as this will help to avoid possible damage to the cutting edge and blade cloth from foreign contact with hard objects. Do not keep the knives in a traditional drawer in the kitchen drawer mixed with each other! It is best to keep them in a special stand or on a magnetic holder.
4. Kitchen knives are not designed for cutting and chopping meat, poultry and fish with large bones, as well as frozen foods (there are special knives for this purpose).
5. Knives do not need to bend, bend or use for scraping, scratching, opening beer bottles or canned food.
6. It is not recommended to cut food on cutting tables and boards made of glass, ceramics, natural stone, acrylic. Use planks made of natural wood or polyurethane (soft plastic).
Author's text by George de Corbeau 15.09.2020.
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