Proper Usage and Care for Ceramic Blade Knives

Ceramic Knives

Ceramic knife blades are made from a very hard ceramic material called zirconium oxide. A ceramic blade will keep its initial sharpness 10 times longer than its steel counterpart. Impressive sharpness and chemical inertness are the main reasons for ceramic knives’ growing popularity. Being chemically inert, a ceramic blade won’t react with either acidic or alkaline foods. Fruits and vegetables, sliced with a ceramic knife will keep their freshness longer than those cut with a steel knife. The ceramic won’t transfer odors or leave a rusty taste or smell on your food like a metal knife could.

While ceramic knives have been claimed to be the sharpest knives on earth, they are also more delicate than ordinary steel knives. These knives should be treated carefully because they are very fragile and their applications are limited to slicing soft foods. For tougher stuff, you may still need to use your old steel knife.

For people first starting to use a ceramic knife, it may take some time getting used to their lightweight feel and all the precautions that must be taken. Make sure to read the instructions to take good care of them and avoid damage and accidents.

How to Cut with a Ceramic Knife

A ceramic blade shouldn’t be twisted or flexed because it is not able to bend and return to its original shape as an ordinary steel knife will do. When slicing, don’t apply much force because the blade can snap. Always cut using straight slicing movements and avoid putting pressure to the side of the blade. Refrain from using the blade as a crusher.

You must pay extra attention when using ceramic knives because the blades are ultra-sharp and you can easily cut your fingers without being aware of it. Hold them at the handle keeping your fingers away from the sharp edge. Always cut away from the body. Be careful if there are kids around because these knives can cause serious injuries.

 

What are Ceramic Knives Good for?

Knives with ceramic blade have less usage than ordinary steel knives, but they make a wonderful tool for cutting soft foods such as fresh fruits, tender veggies, boneless meats, and soft fish fillets.

They glide through soft foods without struggle, making it possible to achieve perfectly thin slices. You can use ceramic knives on all fruits and vegetables except those ones with a hard skin. A thin ceramic blade goes through the slippery tomato skin with minimal resistance cutting extra-thin slices without smashing.

There is less damage to cell walls because less pressure is required for cutting.  Thus, your fruits, especially apples and bananas, will not discolor fast, which allows you to create eye-catching fruit arrangements. You also won’t shed tears when dicing onions like you would when using an ordinary metal knife.

Be careful when cutting dense vegetables such as carrots and cabbages because any type of twisting motion could chip the blade.

The acids in food won’t degrade the blade, so you can use them without any concern for foods that contain vinegar or tomatoes, as well as for cutting citrus fruits.

You can cut through boneless meat and fish with precision, making the pieces as thin as you want. These knives also work well to remove fat from meats.

What You Should Not Do with Your Ceramic Knife

Avoid any use that involves twisting and flexing because such motions may damage the cutting edge. Below are some foods and stuff that are not intended to be cut with a ceramic knife.

Bones: Ceramic knives are not suited to cut through bones because this can affect the edge. The blades are quite brittle and don’t respond well to twisting movements or side-to-side force.

Frozen food: To prevent damage to the blade, do not cut into frozen foods. Cutting through frozen foods will put stress on the blade, causing it to break or chip.

Chopping: Cutting with a chopping motion is not advised, as well as any task that involves flexing such as carving meat with bone or filleting a fish. Ceramic blades are brittle, and twisting or hard chopping can easily chip them.

Crushing: Never turn the knife on its side to crush garlic cloves, spices, or other foods because the blade can break.

Tough food: A ceramic knife is not good for cutting tough foods. You should never use it for cutting foods with thick rinds such as pumpkin, winter squash, pineapples, and melons. Don’t use a ceramic knife for slicing block cheese because this task may involve heavy force and cause blade flexing.

Knives with ceramic blades are not supposed to be used for cutting anything besides food. Don’t use them to open plastic packaging or to pry the lids off cans and containers.

Use an Appropriate Cutting Board

To retain sharpness and avoid damage, always use a soft cutting board such as silicone, soft wood, or bamboo. Avoid cutting on glass, granite, and marble cutting boards, as well as other hard surfaces like plates or tiles. Never scrape diced food from the cutting board with the blade of your knife.

How to Clean Ceramic Knives?

Ceramic knives are easier to clean and sanitize than their steel counterparts because ceramic is non-porous, stain-proof, and resistant to corrosion, oils, and acids. Ceramic blades will not catch and breed mold or bacteria.

Knives with ceramic blades are not supposed to be washed in a dishwasher because rattling against other utensils will harm the blades.

Clean these knives with warm water and soap, rinse, and dry with a paper towel, or let them dry on a cloth. Don’t use abrasive products for cleaning, to preserve the non-stick property of the blade.

Be careful not to throw these knives into the sink together with metal flatware because the blades are very brittle and can break when knocked against steel flatware or when you accidentally place heavy utensils on them.

Put the knives back in their protective sheet or block holder after drying to keep the blade and your fingers safe.

Certain brands with plastic handles are claimed to be dishwasher safe, but they should be placed on the top rack without contact with metal utensils. You should be extremely careful when take them out of the dishwasher because there is a possibility of injury if you touch the edge accidentally.

Storage

Storing your ceramic knives properly is a very important part of care. Knives with ceramic blades need to be stored correctly to retain the integrity of the blades and prevent injuries. The delicate tip can break if the knife has been dropped on a hard floor surface.

Don’t leave ceramic knives sitting on a kitchen counter top. Also, don’t put them into the drawer with the steel knives because metal tableware can damage ceramic blades.  There is also the risk of cutting yourself when you try to reach something in the drawer.

Store your knives in a specially designed knife block or protective case to keep them safe and secure. They often come with included blade cover for safe storage when not in use.

Look for a good knife holder that keeps your knives safe and accessible. Some knife holders have removable inside part made of a mass of bristles. The flexible interior keeps knives separated and well protected. 

When used properly, ceramic blades will hold their edge much longer than steel. Re-sharpening may not be necessary for a couple of years after purchasing. Many manufacturers will provide free sharpening services if you send your knives to them.

If you prefer doing the job at home, it takes specialized equipment and some practice. Knife sharpeners for ceramic blades come in the form of a manual device that uses diamond abrasives, or an electric device with advanced performance. Both types will provide you with good results, but electric sharpeners are faster and easier to use.  Look for a sharpener that can be used to sharpen both types of knives.

The sharpening process will repair small damage, remove chips, and restore the cutting edge to its original sharpness. 

Photo credit: byzantiumbooks via Foter.com / CC BY

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