Knife Safety: How to chop vegetables without cutting your fingers off?

A sharp knife is a delight to use, but also a hazard knife safety

Whilst it’s a delight to prepare food and to cook with a very sharp knife there are also some risks to using a kitchen knife, or for that matter any knife. Knife safety should always be at the forefront of the mind of anyone using any form of knife.

The first thing to observe when discussing knife safety may be a little counter intuitive. It’s this. A sharp knife is safer than a blunt knife.

That sounds a little strange doesn’t it? However there are some common sense reasons why this is the case.

Let’s say you’re trying to cut an onion. Particularly if you’re trying to cut the skin you’ll encounter some resistance, the brown skin of an onion isn’t easy to cut, and tends to slip off the onion from time to time.

If you’re try to cut that skin with a blunt knife you will have to push harder, and pushing harder increases the likelihood that your knife will slip off and become dangerous. A seriously sharp knife will cut without too much effort, and once the cut is commenced cannot slip off.

And a sharp knife, whilst cutting effortlessly and easily, also results in fewer cuts being required, because each cut is effective. And fewer cuts means less risk.

Besides keeping your knife sharp there’s a few other things you can do to improve knife safety, and protect yourself and the family from knife injuries.

1. Don’t let children use your knives. It might seem obvious but we’ve seen people allow reasonably young children to use a very sharp kitchen knife. Whilst teaching children to cook is a great idea it might be a little better to do the cutting for them rather than letting them use a dangerous implement.

2. Treat your knives with respect. Whilst a knife is a wonderful kitchen tool it is also dangerous. It shouldn’t be left lying around on bench tops where it can be knocked onto the floor. It shouldn’t be left in the sink to bang around other plates or cutlery. It shouldn’t be left in the washing-up water, concealed under the soap so someone can inadvertently grasp it. When not in use a knife should be carefully washed and put away. It shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher.

3. Have a proper knife storage place. Whether this be a wooden knife block or perhaps metallic strip on the wall all good quality kitchen knives should be cleaned and put away carefully when not in use.

4. If, as can happen with even the greatest care, you happen to knock the knife off the bench step away immediately, never attempt to stop it falling.

5. Never use your knife to lever or do anything it was not intended to do, like cutting bones. At best you will blunten your knife, which can itself be a hazard, and at worst your knife can slip. Don’t use your knife for other tasks like opening bags, boxes or anything else.

safe knife use6. Never pass a knife to anyone except by offering them the handle. Better still, put the knife down so they can pick it up.

7. Always use your knife and a well lit area so you can see exactly what you’re doing.

8. Use the right knife for the task at hand. For instance if you need to use a cleaver rather than a knife then use a cleaver, not your best knife.

9. Always make sure your hands are dry before using a knife so they won’t slip.

10. Don’t cut onto hard surfaces like marble, glass and stone. Always use wooden chopping board for chopping vegetables and other things. Don’t cut on any unstable surface or surface that moves.

11. Always cut away from yourself not towards.

12. Carry a knife with the blade pointing down, not forwards.

Follow these simple safety procedures, and keep your knife sharp using a good knife sharpener, and you’ll reduce your risk of a knife injury or knife cut.




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