Should You Sharpen a Knife Every Time You Use It?

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A knife is only good, efficient, and reliable if it sharp.

A dull knife, on the other hand, is not only uncomfortable to use but can inflict cuts and injuries when handled carelessly.

Usually, when you use it for slicing, chopping, or any other cutting task, it will become dull at a point.

A razor-sharp edge will make it fun and exciting to use when preparing meals in the kitchen.

So, should you sharpen a knife every time you use it?

A good quality knife that is used for normal cutting and slicing needs in the kitchen should not require sharpening after every use. Instead, it should be sharpener 2-3 times every year. But, it should be honed using a steel honing rod at least 1-2 times a week.

If you notice that the blade requires sharpening after every time you use it, then there is a problem.

Benefits of a sharp knife

Basically, a sharp knife allows you to go about food preparation easily and without any setbacks whatsoever.

Safety

A razor-edge knife is safe to use.

This is because it allows you to apply minimal pressure and effort while sliding through food.

On the other hand, a dull knife will need to apply more pressure to slide through food.

As such, it is likely to slip and can therefore inflict cuts on your fingers or other body parts.

Precise and clean cuts

If you are keen on making clean and precise cuts, then you should look no further than at a razor-sharp blade.

It is worth noting that how you cut your ingredients has a direct impact on the cooking time.

As such, you should prioritize cutting food in even and clean pieces for uniform cooking.

For a dull knife, making clean and precise cuts is nearly impossible.

Ways of testing the sharpness of your knife

While for most experienced chefs and cooks it is easy to realize that the cutting edge is dull, this is not always the case for beginners.

You can rely on any of these three tests to check.

Paper test

This is the most common test that is widely used by both pros and amateurs.

Ideally, a sharp knife should slice through a sheet of paper with great ease.

Additionally, it should make a clean and precise cut as it slices the paper.

On the other hand, a dull paper will require more pressure and won’t make a clean cut.

Onion test

Another way that you can confirm the degree of sharpness in your blade is by cutting the outer skin of the onion.

A dull cutting edge will not cut through this outer skin while a sharp one will do so easily.

Also, ensure that you do not apply too much effort as this will make it slip from your hands.

Feel the burr

Even though it is a potentially risky method, feeling the edge of the knife with your finger is the ultimate sharpness test.

However, exercise care and caution so that you do not end up cutting the finger.

How often should you sharpen your knife?

There is no definite answer to the number of times you should sharpen your knife in a specific time frame.

Ideally, there are different factors that influence edge retention.

For instance, there are knives that retain their edges better and longer than others.

Such blades can even take a couple of months without requiring you to sharpen them.

Also, the frequency of use also affects edge retention.

However, it is advisable to sharpen your blades at least 1-2 times every six months.

In between your grinding cycle, you should hone the blade at least once or twice every week.

If you use your blade for heavy-duty cutting and slicing tasks, then you may need to grind often at least once a month.

A bonus tip

For your blades to retain their razor-sharp edges for long, it is crucial that you keep them clean and dry at all times.

This guarantees that the blades are not susceptible to rust and corrosion.

Another thing worth noting is that you should not wash your blade in a dishwasher.

Instead, you can hand wash it using a piece of cloth under running water.

Conclusion

When it comes to caring for and maintaining your blades, you should ensure that they are always sharp for an unmatched cutting experience.

Sharpening a blade is a simple DIY task that you can do by yourself in the kitchen.

Check online tutorials on sharpening knives depending on the grinder of choice.

You can also have it professionally sharpened.

Working with a razor-edge knife is a breeze for all chefs; whether experienced or not.

Last Updated on July 22, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.