Are Your Kitchen Knives Destroying Your Meals?

You reach for them, rely on them, and press them into active “KP duty” like few other tools in your kitchen, making them essential to your healthy eating plan. But now they might be rusted, warped or even disintegrating.

The manufacturer's warranty—in large, bold print—fortifies your idea that you just might have a case to wage, because the warranty clearly says that your kitchen knives are covered by a “lifetime guarantee.”

Whose lifetime, you may ask. Yours or the knives'?

Since you're both present in the here and now, it's no wonder you might be tempted to press your case with the manufacturer. You paid for these knives and now look at them. A warranty is a guarantee, and you're prepared to see it honored—until you notice the smaller print below the large, bold print. It says the warranty is voided by “misuse, wear and tear, or failure to follow instructions with respect to cleaning or maintenance.”

As you think back on how you've used, cleaned and stored your kitchen knives, you begin to understand why you're now in the position of having to upgrade them. And upgrade them you must, because working in the kitchen without a good set of knives would be like trying to create healthy snacks and meals without your go-to tool for creating a healthy eating plan at your side.

Before you upgrade your kitchen knives, be certain that you understand the mistakes you made in the past so that you don't repeat them. Then you'll never have to read those cutting warranty words again.

Use kitchen knives properly

  • Use plastic or wooden cutting boards. Glass, steel, ceramic, granite and other hard surfaces make for unyielding cutting surfaces.

  • Reduce wear on the blade—and take better control of the cuts you make—by choking up a little bit on the handle, gripping the knife closer to the blade but still far enough away from the sharp edge. This is a better position than holding the knife at the very bottom end of the handle, where you run the risk of unwittingly making the knife more unwieldy.

  • Resist the natural tendency to run a kitchen knife blade along a cutting board, either to clear some space on the board or to sweep a pile of freshly cut vegetables into a nearby bowl or saute pan. Every time you run the blade across a surface, you dull the blade. Starting today, make a conscious habit to simply flip the knife over first. This way, you're making the sweeping motion with the flat side of the knife, not the blade.

  • Treat your kitchen knives as the finely tuned kitchen instruments that they are. Do not use them as “saws” to cut through meat bones or even frozen cookie dough. And they should never be used as substitute pliers or hammers for household tasks, such as loosening lids or prying open cans.

Maintain kitchen knives properly

  • Sharpen your knives regularly, or when you notice that they're becoming dull. Try not to think of a sharp knife as a “dangerous” knife. When you exert more pressure on a dull knife, you're more likely to injure yourself. (Think of trying to slice into spaghetti squash—some of which can seem as dense as a bowling ball—with a dull knife. You'll make better, faster progress with a sharp knife in your hands.)
     
  •  If sharpening knives makes you nervous, consider taking your kitchen knives to a pro once or twice a year. (Many specialty kitchen stores offer this service.) You should enjoy sharper knives that keep their edge longer, too.
     
  • Use a mild dish soap to wash your kitchen knives by hand. Then wipe them dry after each use. With the blade facing away from you, hold the knife and run an absorbent towel in short, up or down motions perpendicular to the edge.
     
  • Do not place kitchen knives in the dishwasher, where they're likely to rattle around. Over time, blades become dull and handles tend to degrade in the dishwasher.

Store kitchen knives properly

  • Protect the blades on your knives by slipping them into plastic blade guards or storing them on a magnetic knife strip or in a knife block.
  • Never place kitchen knifes in a heap in a utensil drawer, where they can rattle around, unprotected, and wear down over time.

Make some magic with your upgraded knives

With an upgraded set of kitchen knives, there's no telling what you can do with them and Meal Plan Magic at your side. This fresh meal planning tool can help you plan menus, draft a shopping list, choose ingredients at the store and then create mouth-watering meals and snacks to suit your healthy eating plan.

Between your upgraded knives and Meal Plan Magic, you're bound to sharpen your kitchen skills in untold ways.