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Knife Care 101: Part 1 - The Basics

Here we are in 2021. 

As we approach the one year mark of the pandemic, so many of us continue to spend more and more time cooking at home and experimenting with new recipes and techniques. You may have even bought a new knife to elevate your love of cooking and take your home set up to the next level. 

Here are some tips and tricks to keep your knife in tip top shape. 

The Basics

All Japanese knives need proper care and maintenance to ensure a long life. These knives, and most knives in general, should always be hand washed and dried - never in a dishwasher. 

All of the knives we carry should never be used on bones or frozen foods. Even a big Chinese Cleaver should not be used on anything this hard. The only exception to this rule is our Bone Chopper, for obvious reasons. Otherwise, be careful when cutting around bone and be mindful when chopping hard produce such as raw beets and squash. It's always good to have a 'beater' knife hanging around to get through those first few hard cuts - then switch to your Japanese knife for finer work. 

Carbon Steel

For those of you who have carbon steel knives or are thinking about purchasing one, here's everything you need to know about proper care.

Carbon steel is great for many reasons - it will generally stay sharper for longer than stainless steel, as carbon is a higher grade of metal and physically harder. Edge retention isn't all about steel type, though - the life of your edge will depend on how you use your knife and the type of cutting surface you have. For example, if you're super heavy handed when cutting or use a hard cutting board (ie. bamboo, hard plastic, etc.) your knife will probably dull out a bit faster. 

Something you will notice almost immediately is patina. This happens when the carbon steel comes in contact with moisture and acidity and causes the steel to oxidize and darken. Patina often appears in patches and will slowly even out as you use your knife. Dark grey, brown, and even blue patina is completely natural and will actually help to protect your knife from rusting as it builds. 

Carbon steel needs to be kept clean and dry to prevent rusting. While patina is totally normal for your carbon blade, you do want to prevent rust as much as possible. Giving your knife a cursory wipe down with a dry cloth to remove excess residue will help to prevent any rust from forming. Make sure you are also drying your knife completely after hand washing. Even the slightest amount of moisture can cause a bit of rusting in a day or so.

While you should be taking all necessary precautions to prevent rusting on your knife, accidents happen and it's not the end of the world. Rust is fairly easy to remove with a Sabitori - you just don't want to let it build over time, as this could start to erode the blade and cause further damage. 

The Mcusta Zanmai Beyond Bunka - brand new.

 

The Mcusta Zanmai Beyond Bunka after a year of use - the Aogami Super core has a nice even patina. 

 

With the proper care and maintenance, your knives will last you a lifetime. While stainless steel is obviously much easier to take care of, you should still take the time to wipe down the blade and keep it clean and dry.

We hope this information will help you to use your knife properly and with confidence. Of course, if you have any other questions contact us here

Thanks for reading. Stay safe out there.

Best,

Your friends at KNIFE

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