Knives are probably the most important and most frequently used item in your kitchen. For those of you who have a nicer set of knives, you’re probably not aware of that you might be damaging your knives every single time you store them.
If you don’t already have a set of great knives – well, what are you waiting for? If you’re not sure what knives you need (and what knives you don’t), be sure to check out this comprehensive overview of the different kinds of knives and what they’re used for.
That’s right – the most common method of storing knives is also one of the worst ways, if you care at all about keeping them sharp and in the best condition. Firstly, most people don’t need as many knives as can be stored in a knife block – which leads to people buying too many knives to fill up all the slots. That’s just a waste of resources, and you’d probably be better off buying fewer knives of higher quality rather than buying a bunch of extra knives that you’ll probably never use.
Even worse than that is the fact that knife blocks actually dull your blade. Just the act of sliding your knife into the knife block has a dulling effect, and if you do that multiple times a day, your knife is going to lose it’s sharp edge very quickly.
Also, if you think about what a knife block actually is – it’s a dark, cramped hole. Dust and grime can accumulate there, not to mention on the off chance that you put a knife in there that hasn’t been fully cleaned properly, there might be leftover foodstuff in there too. It’s the perfect environment for germs and bacteria to thrive. Every time you pull your knife out of the knife block, it could be carrying a little extra that you don’t exactly want in your food.
So – knife blocks aren’t great. What are the alternatives?
What you definitely don’t want to do is just throw your knives in with the rest of your utensils and call it a day. If your knives are banging about with other things, they might get damaged, and because they’re sharp, your other stuff might get damaged too.
There are three ways that we recommend you store your knives.
Our favorite method of storing knives is to use a magnetic strip. It keeps your knives in a place where you can easily access them, so you don’t need to fiddle with opening and closing drawers all the time. Plus, the nature of a magnetic strip means that it has virtually no effect on the sharp edge of your knives. Also, it’s a great way to put some of the wall space in your kitchen to use – this space often goes empty or unused, and a magnetic strip is a very efficient method of maintaining order in your kitchen. Beats a knife block which takes up a bunch of counter space (even though it looks stylish).
If you want a drawer solution, buy an in drawer knife insert that has a space for each knife. The material that they use for the inserts won’t dull your knife as much as the wood of a typical knife block, and the separate slots for each knife protect the blades from banging into other things in your drawer that might damage your knife edge.
Finally, if you need a more portable solution, a knife bag is the travelling cook’s best friend. It’s not ideal in terms of keeping your knives sharp, but the dulling effect isn’t as pronounced as with a knife block and it has the benefit of portability. If you frequently take your knives on the road with you (to cook at a friend’s house, for example), this is the best answer for you.
In summary, magnetic strips, drawer inserts, and knife bags are all a better storage solution for your set of knives than a knife block. If you want to learn more about knives, make sure you read this article about the many styles of knives and how they get used.