When you imagine the most delicious meal you’ve enjoyed, you likely envision the excellent flavor and texture combinations. Different spices or pairings can play a massive role in the end result, but you probably don’t think about how the cooking utensils can affect the meal.
As it turns out, everything from the cleanliness to the quality of your kitchen tools might affect how your food tastes.
How Knives Affect Flavor
Knives are a critical component in the kitchen, and keeping them in tip-top shape will allow you to make cleaner cuts and precise measurements. Plus, it will make the job faster and easier.
When you use a dull knife to cut things like vegetables, you run the risk of causing unnecessary damage to the food by crushing the individual cells. Damaged food starts to break down faster, losing nutrients and flavor along the way.
You can see this process when you eat an apple. The damaged tissue starts turning brown just minutes after you bite into it, and the same thing occurs when you use a dull knife. Within minutes the cells begin to deteriorate.
A sharp knife is also essential for making precise cuts which can ultimately affect the outcome of a meal. Although some ingredients can be chopped with abandon, others require a delicate hand. Adding highly potent flavors like ginger or garlic should be done carefully and with a sharp, clean knife.
How Knives Affect Texture
Most people agree flavor makes or breaks a meal, but the texture is also important. Poor texture can be a quick turn-off, no matter how good the food tastes. Who likes stringy, tough protein?
A sharp knife can significantly improve a meal’s texture, especially when working with protein. The individual muscle fibers in meat can be difficult to work with and, without a sharp knife, are prone to fraying and tearing. Not only does this damage the cells, but some meats, like fish, can become more absorbent. In turn, other flavors, like soy sauce, can overwhelm the lighter flavor of the fish.
Keeping Your Knives Sharp
The easiest way to avoid the pitfalls of dull knives is to sharpen them regularly. Rely on high-quality sharpening tools and try to give them a good sharpening after using them two or three times. When they’re not in use, keep them in a dry, secure station to avoid damage and up your cooking game.