Kitchen Knife Handling Safety Guide 101


Kitchen Knife Handling Safety Guide 101:
A Cut Above The Rest

Knives are one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen. With so many different sizes, styles and shapes, you’re bound to find more than one for each task in the kitchen. However, with so many knives around, how do you decide which to use, let alone how to use it.

Do you know your butt from your belly, your tang from your spine and your bolster, heel and scales? While certain parts of a knife aren't all that relevant in an everyday kitchen setting, some are very important. And when it comes to purchasing a quality knife that will last, you have to ask yourself how well do you know your blades?

Choosing the perfect knife

Choosing the right knife for the task at hand can be a little confusing. In a rush to get a meal prepared, it’s tempting just to use one knife for everything. Selecting the right blade for the job will save you time, and preparation will become that much easier. Here's our quick guide to choosing the right knife.

Paring knife

A little knife with a short blade is usually 50 to 100mm in length, making it easier to slice smaller fruit and vegetables such as ginger, mushrooms, and fruits like strawberries or peeling apples.

Utility knife

The medium size knife with a blade around 150 to 200mm long. Obviously, it's perfect for cutting larger foods such as cheese, bigger fruit and vegetables like onions and carrots, and slicing fish.

Chef’s knife

These are the knives you'll use more often than any other. With a blade length of around 200 to 350mm, a Chef’s Knife is an all-purpose blade for dicing and slicing fruits, vegetables, meats and fish. If you can get a feel for this larger and heavier knife, you'll find it indispensable for cutting just about anything.

Serrated knife

Not just the knife you use for slicing artisan sourdough! The serrated blade is perfect for foods with a firm outer and a soft centre, such as tomatoes. It's also convenient for cutting delicate desserts with flaky pastry or meringue.

Santoku knife

Having its origins in Japan, think of the Santoku as the chef knife's younger brother. It can do everything a chef's knife can do without the weight. So if you have small hands and want a little more control with your knife, the Santoku is a must in your knife block or drawer.

Boning knife

Not an essential knife, but a nice-to-have, especially if you do a lot of cooking. It's usually around 150mm long and is a very sharp, thin-bladed knife used to trim the fat and carve meat off bones. 

Of course, Minimax wants to make purchasing the perfect knives that much easier for you. The Global Hikaeme 6 Piece In-Drawer Cutlery Set includes five best-selling Global knives in a beautiful beechwood storage unit. Pretty much the perfect set for your culinary adventures.

Sharpening Knives

Kitchen knives need to be kept sharp. The sharper they are, the better they cut, and funnily enough, the less chance you'll have of cutting yourself. While it sounds odd, if your knife is blunt, you'll tend to try and force it to cut, placing additional pressure on the handle and blade. That's where accidents can happen as the knife can suddenly 'skid' out from whatever you're cutting - and Murphy's Law will tell you where it will end up next. It'll probably be painful.

Conclusion: purchase a quality knife sharpener to keep your knives at their best.

Choosing a Knife Sharpener

For example, the Global MinoSharp 2 Stage Ceramic Water Sharpener, Is a safe and straightforward way to maintain a razor-sharp edge on your knives. By simply drawing them through the ceramic wheels that sit in their water compartment, your blades are washed and cooled during the sharpening process. 

Or if you want to go 'old school', nothing beats the satisfaction of honing your knives on a whetstone. The Professional Combo 240/1000 Grit Whetstone by Edge Master features two stones of varying grits that will not only keep your hands safe but your knife edges in pristine condition.

Knife safety

As helpful as knives are in the kitchen, we must never forget their primary function: cutting. A blade does not care whether you’re for dinner or not. Accidents can happen without proper knife safety, especially if young children are around. These few tips will make for safer food prep in your kitchen.

Wear enclosed shoes; thongs won't cut it

We tend to be a little more casual about our footwear in summer, particularly after sitting outside or by the pool. But if you go to chop something and your hands are wet, a knife can slip from your grasp, and we don't need to remind you of the potential consequences. Even if they're not wet, accidentally dropping a knife can result in the same outcome. Ouch! So as obvious as it sounds, never use a knife with bare feet. 

Similarly, your clothing could also land you in emergency for a few stitches if you're not careful. Long baggy clothes and dangling jewellery can get in the way of your food preparation, particularly if cooking on a stove. And for those who enjoy the comforts of cooking, put a shirt on too.

How to cut

Safety also applies to the way you slice. Which also depends on what you're cutting. However, you should always maintain one golden rule of thumb in the kitchen. Slice away from your body and never grasp anything in front of the knife, no matter how far away your fingers are. And always grip the food you're slicing behind the blade. That way, the risk of accidents is minimised. 

Of course, if you really want to protect your hands from accidents, the Microplane Cut Resistant Glove at Minimax is made of a unique synthetic fibre that resists cuts to protect your hands.

Knife Cleanliness

Cross-contamination sounds like something that would happen in a lab. So as far as chopping boards go, the more, the merrier. Simply, you can never have too many chopping boards.

However, if you chop up everything on the same or maybe two chopping boards, there's a risk that the chicken you chopped up could contaminate the greens you prepare moments later. And if that happens, a day or two after, you may find you and your family with upset tummies thanks to the food poisoning running rampant in your home. The solution is simple. Have several chopping boards on hand for the different types of food you're preparing. And after each has done its job, clean them thoroughly, preferably in hot soapy water. 

Speaking of cleanliness. It's just as essential to keep your knives clean too. Apart from the obvious health and contamination issues, a greasy or oily knife handle is an accident waiting to happen. So ensure your grip is as grippy (duh) as it can be at all times.

The Minimax Top 5 quick knife tips

  1. Choose the right knife for the task at hand.
    You can’t always use the meat cleaver no matter how cool it looks.

  2. Never lick anything off a knife.
    A cut tongue is just plain nasty.

  3. Secure your chopping board.
    A damp towel underneath when cutting helps it grip your benchtop.

  4. Never slice anything freehand.

  5. If you do cut yourself, don't panic.
    First, rinse the wound under the tap and apply pressure. Raise the cut above your head until the bleeding stops. Apply an antiseptic liquid or cream and wrap in an appropriate adhesive strip. If bleeding continues, or you cannot apply an adhesive strip, see your doctor.

Sharp, High-Quality Kitchen Knives

Now that you know what you’re doing, it’s time to get slicing and dicing. Check out our range of quality knives from some of the best European brands, and don’t forget to compliment your cutting utensils with the appropriate cookware and kitchenware.