Happy Knife, Happy Life
Contrary to what many people believe, sharp knives are actually far safer than dull knives.
Knife accidents in homes across America trigger almost 330,000 hospital visits some years, so it’s understandable that many people are scared of sharp knives, thinking they’re more dangerous to use, In fact, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Be careful that knife is sharp!” You’ve likely never heard someone warn you about a dull knife. Nonetheless, dull knives are actually far more likely to cause significant injury due to everyday cutting accidents. Not everyone knows this.
A dull knife requires the user to exert more pressure to cut through food. This extra pressure combined with a worn knife blade edge can cause the knife to slip off the food being cut and on to the user's fingers. Some of the most injury-causing foods can be found here and here. Spoiler alert! Bagels and avocados are sending a ton of people to the emergency room each year!
If you haven’t sharpened your knives in a while, here’s one of the best guides I’ve seen. It’s practical and shows the safest methodologies for the most popular ways to sharpen your knives.
The best way to keep a freshly sharpened blade edge sharp is to pay attention to the surface you’re working on. It’s not the food you’re cutting that dulls your knife -- it’s the cutting surface.
Most know that glass and marble are terrible surfaces to cut and chop on. Most home cooks, however, don’t realize how bad plastic cutting boards are for your knives and for kitchen safety. Plastic cutting boards are terrible all around: they rapidly dull the blades of your knives, you end up with microplastic particles in your food, and they’re horrible for the environment.
The best surface to cut on is wood that’s not too hard nor too soft. Cherry and Maple fit the bill best.
The worst woods to use? Avoid softwoods, Acacia, and Oak in any form, and whatever you do, please stay away from reclaimed lumber! You don’t know what’s leeched into the wood or how porous the material is. Remember: it’s not just a matter of being kind to your knives. A cutting board must also provide a suitable food prep environment that you can keep clean and sanitary. A guide to the best and most dangerous cutting board surfaces can be found here.Here’s one more resource from Consumer Reports that talks about how to prevent kitchen injuries of all kinds, not just knife injuries. I hope the links and information in this post help to keep you and the ones you love safe.