Few things can be as frustrating as completely squishing a tomato when you're trying to slice it, or getting your knife stuck in the middle of a butternut squash while attempting to turn it into a delicious fall soup. Whether you love to cook or avoid it at all costs, odds are, you own a knife or two and occasionally need to use it—even if it’s just slicing the film off your frozen meal. If it's dull, it can be annoying or time-consuming to work with, not to mention dangerous.
Which is why I'm praising the kitchen gods for this $15 sharpening tool I found on Amazon that has made my cheap knives rival those of a professional chef's. The Henckels Find Edge Pro Sharpening Steel ($15) makes any type of metal blades like new again in seconds, so you can dump the dull edge for good.
I got my favorite knife from a convenience store (seriously), when most of my other kitchen utensils were packed away from a recent move. Although I've since unpacked the rest of my cooking tools, I keep coming back to this knife because I like the weight of it and the grip in my hand. But because it's definitely not a professional grade blade, I need to sharpen it more frequently than the others. Which is where this sharpening steel comes in handy. Here's how it works:
How to use a sharpening steel:
- Hold the handle of the sharpening steel rod with your non-dominant hand. Make sure you have a firm grip as you will need to apply pressure between the blade and the rod. Place the end of the rod securely on a non-slip surface if you need to.
- The blade should meet the rod at about a 20-degree angle—just enough to slide along the narrowest part of your knife’s blade.
- Swipe the knife from the back of the blade (closest to the handle) to the tip, while applying pressure consistently at that angle. Do the same for the other side of the blade, making sure to keep the number of swipes on each side even. I usually do this 5-10 times per side, but you can adjust based on the state of your blade.
- Wipe your sharpening steel with a clean cloth, and clean your knife.
Presto—your knives will feel and cut like new. After I give mine a good sharpening, I usually go straight for a cucumber or a grape, something that requires a little more 'oomph to slice and dice. It's satisfying, and more importantly, it's safer to use than haggling with a dull, worn out blade. At just $15, this sharpening steel rod is an excellent investment that every home cook should have in their kitchen quiver. "Cut" to the chase and buy one here.
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