Avoid a dull kitchen performance, sharpen your cutlery

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StatePoint -- If you’ve ever desired to become a better home chef, you’ve probably spent time reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows or even taking a culinary skills course. The truth is that when it comes to improving your cooking and becoming more efficient in the kitchen, you may be overlooking a much simpler step: sharpening your knives.

Before your holiday guests arrive and you find yourself in the kitchen churning out big seasonal feasts, consider the following:

Why it Matters

Dull knives can damage and bruise ingredients, slow your slicing and dicing down considerably, and ironically, be more likely to cause you injury. (Whereas a sharp knife will easily slice into foods, a dull knife works less efficiently, making you more likely to apply pressure and lose control of the handle.) What’s more, uneven chopping can lend itself to uneven cooking.

How to Sharpen Knives

So what’s the best method for maintaining knives? Many home chefs use a whetstone to sharpen knives periodically, as well as a honing steel on a more regular basis. However, this can be a time-consuming prospect and doing it properly is an acquired skill in and of itself.

This is where new innovations can save you time and effort, and deliver better results. For example, Resharp, a knife-sharpening kiosk found in ACE Hardware stores, offers a new, patented, automated system that scans each knife’s profile and then restores a factory, burr-free edge to the knife in 90 seconds or less. Sharpening most American and European style knives, as well as Japanese knives with a V-shaped bevel, you can bring almost any chef, pairing, slicing, chopping, santoku, pocket, hunting or specialty knife to an ACE Hardware store to have it sharpened while you watch. To learn more and find locations, visit resharp.com.

Proper Storage

Once your knives are sharpened, be sure to store them properly to maintain their edges and protect their longevity. Wash and dry your knives, then store them carefully in a wooden block, on a magnetic strip or in a drawer dock.

From julienned carrots to minced garlic, seek out those complicated recipes involving chopping-intensive steps. By giving yourself the gift of well-maintained knives this holiday season, you’ll have a safer kitchen and be a more proficient cook.