I never liked using a sharpening steel (the metal rod that comes with many knife sets) to keep my knives sharp. I did get a whestone (a sharpening stone) which many professionals use, and used it – once. It was too time consuming to be practical. If I need to prepare dinner for three cranky kids, the last thing I want to think about is sharpening my knife. But maintaining your knives makes food prep smoother and easier. Knives can go dull quickly and if you spend any time in the kitchen keeping your knife sharp is essential.
A chef friend of mine introduced me to the AccuSharp Knife Sharpener years ago. (If you live in Los Angeles, they are available at Surfas). It’s small enough to keep in the drawer for easy access, there is no set up or expense involved like an electric sharpener, and is easy and safe to use each time you pick up your knife- even when hungry kids are hovering nearby. Cook’s Illustrated also rated it as one of their favorite manual knife sharpeners. The AccuSharp is great for day to day sharpening, but if your knives are really damaged and full of ridges you probably need an electric knife sharpener or a professional to restore its sharp edge before you continue with your own routine.
My most used knives are a chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a pairing knife. You can easily get by with just these three in your kitchen and are worth investing in- I’ve had mine almost ten years. Take care of your knives: always use a cutting board, keep them out of the dishwasher, and keep them sharp. Now go chop some veggies!!
How do you sharpen your knives? What other tips can you share?