Stop smashing those tomatoes, making your meat tough and putting yourself at risk with dull knives that can slip. Do you know when to sharpen your knives? No, not when your husband or wife drives you batty! Sharpening your knives every six to twelve months can help ensure quick, precise cuts.
However, knives can become dull at different rates, depending on how often you use them, what you use them for and on what type of surface you cut. You can also check the sharpness of your knives by cutting through the outer skin of an onion. A sharp knife will. A dull knife won’t. If you don’t have an onion or don’t want to cut one, a piece of paper will do. Your knife should be sharp enough to cut through paper just like a butter knife cuts through room temperature butter.
If you have a manual knife sharpener, simply apply slight pressure, pull your knife blade through a few times and then do the same one or two more times on the fine grit side to finish. A whetstone is almost as simple. You just need to apply a small amount of mineral oil to your whetstone and place it under water until it is saturated. That should only take about five minutes – until all the air bubbles disappear. Then place your knife blade against the whetstone at the manufacturer suggested angle, facing away from you. While you apply slight pressure, drag the heel of the knife toward you across the whetstone a few times. Then repeat the process with the opposite side of your knife. Turn the whetstone over and run your knife over the fine grit side a few times on each side to finish.
It is also recommended to use a honing rod in between knife sharpenings to help maintain the proper shape of your knife blades.