Are you the master of your kitchen and know all the ins and outs of your appliances and cookbooks? How about your knives? Do you know the perfect knife for the job or the proper storage and sharpening techniques? Maybe you’re new to the kitchen or your skills are a little dull and need sharpening. No matter your skill level, everyone can learn a thing or two from our Aprons Chefs when it comes to your kitchen knives.

Knife Anatomy

Let’s start with the basic anatomy of a knife:

  • Butt – the end of the knife handle
  • Bolster – typically a thick band of steel between the ‘heel’ and the ‘handle’ that not only helps with balance, but also keeps the user’s hand from slipping onto the blade
  • Heel – the back part of the blade
  • Tip – usually considered to be the front portion of the blade typically used for cutting.
  • Point – ‘the sharp end’ used for stabbing or piercing
  • Edge – the sharpened part of the blade, it extends from the heel to the tip.
  • Spine – the top of the blade, opposite from the blade’s edge
  • Tang – the portion of the blade that extends into the handle: full tang blades are considered more desirable as they offer better balance and durability
  • Handle – the gripping surface

Must Have Knives

There are endless types of knives that can be used in the kitchen, but according to our Aprons Chefs, there are only three knives that every kitchen needs. These are the chef’s, paring and bread knives. The chef’s knife is perfect for chopping, mincing and slicing. The paring knife is great for peeling, trimming, removing stems and garnishing. The bread knife is designed for cutting a variety of breads, from soft to crusty.

Maintaining Your Knives 11_AH_Knife Skills_ Sharpening body image 2

Now that you know the anatomy of a knife and the most common types of knives in the kitchen, let’s discuss maintaining the edge. One of the best ways to hone a knife is with a butcher’s steel (also known as a honing or sharpening steel) Below is a safe and effective way to properly use a butcher’s steel to hone your knives:

  • Hold the handle of the steel and plant the tip into your cutting board. Place the heel of the knife against the top of the steel at approximately a 15-20 degree angle.
  • Applying only light pressure, draw the knife down the steel, using the full length of the steel and pulling across the full length of the knife, maintaining a constant angle.
  • Repeat for the other side of the blade. This is usually done for about eight strokes per side.

Cleaning Your Knives

When it comes to cleaning your knives, you should always hand wash, not put them in the dishwasher. Washing your knife in a dishwasher exposes the metal to caustic chemicals, extreme heat that can warp or crack handles, potential blade damage from dishware’s movement and damage to the machine from the knife. Clean your knife with hot soapy water and rinse with fresh clean water. Allow to air dry and sanitize as needed. Wiping a knife with a contaminated towel does not clean or sanitize the knife. Never leave knives at or in the sink (especially in the water), as this can lead to serious injuries.

Helpful Tips

Here are some extra tips to help you get the most out of your knives:

  • Always clean your knife after honing or sharpening.
  • Use wood, bamboo or specialty plastic cutting boards. Glass, granite, marble, porcelain and other materials can damage the blade.
  • Always sharpen blades in the same direction.
  • Keep your knife blades protected in a knife block or special container.
  • Always store knives in a safe location with a blade covering.
  • Never try to catch a falling knife.
  • Always face blade toward you when leaving on a surface in between prep steps.
  • A sharp knife is safer to use than a dull knife.

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There you have it! With these sharp tips, you are on your way to becoming a cut above the rest in the kitchen. We hope this will help make your cooking prep easier and allow you to be safer in the kitchen.


If you would like to learn more about knives in the kitchen, or any other skills in the kitchen, visit our Aprons Cooking Schools website to find a school near you. Fun and informative classes are available for any skill level!

Alec H.

Written by

Alec H. started his career with Publix in 2012, serving in many roles in the store before transitioning into corporate first as an intern and eventually as a full-time associate on the Social Media team. He loves to bring you behind-the-scenes looks at our products, especially because he gets to learn something new each time he writes a new blog, too. Alec’s favorite holiday is Halloween, which is fitting since watching scary movies are is one of his favorite pastimes. When he’s not writing for the Publix Checkout or interacting with our customers on social media, you’ll find him playing with his two dogs (Buster and Diesel), jamming on his ukulele, playing video and board games, or running on the beautiful streets of St. Petersburg, FL.

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