Décor & Gardening

What you need to know about choosing & caring for kitchen knives

What you need to know about choosing & caring for kitchen knives

For some, the thought of spending hard-earned money to purchase a good-quality kitchen knife, only to find your partner wielding it while attempting to turn a screw or cut the end of the garden hose is chilling.

Selecting a knife is a very personal process, says local Wüsthof spokesperson Shane Dryden. “Choosing a good quality knife is an important consideration when equipping your kitchen, but equally important is the style of knife that you choose and a clear understanding of what the knife is made for. Whether it’s filleting fish, separating a rack of lamb or just slicing and dicing, having the right knife for the job will positively impact on your overall cooking experience.”

Dryden advises budding kitchen professionals to start with understanding the difference between a forged and stamped knife. A forged knife is constructed from a single piece of steel and can be identified by a wider section, called a Bolster, at the point that the blade meets the handle.

A stamped knife differs as the knife is ‘stamped’ out of a larger piece of steel after which the handle is attached. A forged knife is generally heavier and costs more than a stamped knife, and Dryden says that this often influences how people go about choosing their knives.

“Always try and get the best quality knife that your budget will allow, you won’t regret it in the long term.”

There are countless knives available all with very different purposes. Dryden suggests that anyone looking to improve their collection should start out with the following three knives:

  1. Chef’s knife

A chef’s knife is a larger, multi-purpose knife. This knife can be used with most foods – from nuts to vegetables, meat and even herbs. It’s a heavy utility knife and the starting point for most food preparation. Dryden suggests the Wüsthof Classic 20cm Chef’s Knife and if you feel like this is too much blade to handle you can step down to an 18cm which is 2cm shorter than a standard chef’s knife. “Some people find a shorter blade slightly easier to handle.”

  1. Paring knife

A paring knife is a much smaller knife with a short blade. It is ideal for peeling and slicing fruit vegetables and herbs. Paring knives are extremely versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways, making them one of the most used knives in the kitchen.

  1. Bread knife

A typical bread knife will have a serrated blade which is important for cutting soft bread without crushing it. The length of the blade also allows you to use the knife for things other than bread such as cakes, watermelons and the serration works extremely well on fruits and vegetables with delicate skins such as tomatoes.

After investing in a set of decent knives, the next step is caring for them, so as to keep them in excellent condition.  Dryden offers the following care tips:

  1. Straight after use, clean, rinse, dry and pack your knife away. This prevents any damage or corrosion that might occur in the sink or dishwasher.
  2. Store your knives in a block or kitchen drawer organiser to avoid damage from other utensils.
  3. Use a wooden or plastic cutting board and avoid cutting on hard surfaces like granite, glass or steel.
  4. Your knife isn’t a chisel so avoid using it to hack through frozen foods or bones.
  5. A blunt knife requires more pressure to cut your food, and can easily slip off whatever you are trying to slice and onto your finger. Make sure you have a good sharpening solution for your knives. There are many options available but try to stick with a solution that is recommended for your brand of knife.


For more information visit Wüsthof South Africa on Facebook.


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