Safe knife skills in the kitchen
Cooking isn’t all fun and games. Proper knife safety precautions are essential to keep you and your family safe. Below are some simple tips for safe knife skills in the kitchen.
Don't allow distractionsConcentrate on the task at hand and never allow yourself to be in a hurry. Distraction is a common cause of cuts and should be avoided at all costs.
ControlAny time you cut any vegetable, cut it in half first to create a flat surface and make it easier to control. Round fruits and vegetables then can't roll away from you and the knife.
Stay sharpAlways use a sharp knife. Seemingly against common sense, a dull knife is dangerous. Using a sharp knife makes your slicing quick and easy, and allows the knife to work for you. It eliminates struggling with the knife or pushing to get it through food. Electric knife sharpeners work wonders and are available at culinary stores.
Use a cutting boardAlways cut on a wooden cutting board. Glass and plastic will dull your knives terribly -- and we've already discussed what that leads to. Treat your wood cutting board with mineral oil prior to first use and then treat as needed from then on.
Mes en plasMes en plas (sounds like menopause, but with an "n") is the gathering of all your ingredients. Never start the mechanics of a meal (including slicing and cutting) unless you have all your tools and ingredients in front of you. You don't want to get halfway through and find you don't have something you need. This approach lessens your chances for mistakes and accidents.
Let it fallNever try to catch a falling knife. That seems pretty elementary, but you really need to establish that thought in your mind. This prevents the knee-jerk reaction that will cause you to reach out to stop the knife as it's flying off the cutting board at your $30 pedicure.
Keep it cleanAvoid cross-contamination by cleaning your knife in between food items you're chopping or cutting. It's as equally important to clean your cutting board. You're asking for trouble when you cut chicken on a wood cutting board and then slice fresh vegetables. Hot water and dish soap remedy that threat.
Wash separatelyNever put a knife in a sink full of water. Suds and dirty water can conceal knives, and when you put your hand in there, it's like giving a high five to Edward Scissorhands.
How to sharpen a kitchen knife
Knife sharpening is a skill that every home cook should learn.