Last Updated on May 16, 2022
Any culinary enthusiast will tell you that the most important tools in a kitchen are, undoubtedly, knives. The sound of all the chopping and slicing is music to any foodie’s ears, which is why you need your knives to be in tip-top shape.
But don’t worry, to make delicious meals at home like a true pro, you don’t have to harness all of the techniques that Gordon Ramsay scolds his students for, though you do need to find a proper storage solution to keep your knives nice and sharp for when you cook your favorite delicacies.
So, since knives are the butter to a home chef’s bread, let’s talk about why storing your knives properly is important, and review the most common knife storage solutions in case you were debating what to choose.
Why You Should Store Your Knives Properly
Your success in cooking a luscious dish depends on many factors — using high quality and fresh ingredients, the timing of when to take your pan off the stove, or at what point you add seasoning can significantly affect the end results. After all, cooking is all about chemical reactions.
When you prepare something in the kitchen, the freezing, heating, blending and mixing all affect the physical and chemical bonds of the ingredients. And cutting them in the desired way is the first step to taking control over the myriad of changes that the food goes through in the process.
As a matter of fact, the way you cut your ingredients is always important, even if you aren’t going to thermally treat the item that you’re cutting, you should still do it with care and diligence. Think about the delicious nigiri and sashimi that Japanese chefs have mastered. Every single cut is important to turn every bite-sized morsel of fish into an experience.
For this reason, having a couple of knives that you’re comfortable using and keeping them clean, sharp, and in mint condition is an essential step toward creating edible wonders in the kitchen.
And if you’re not familiar with Japanese cuisine and cooking techniques, check out our story on Emi, who is a gifted chef and a passionate teacher in Tokyo.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Knife Storage
Good knife storage keeps your knives safely organized while keeping them clean, sharp, and easily accessible. The best storage method might change depending on the free space in your kitchen, your cooking preferences, and the number of knives you have.
There are a couple of knife storage solutions that you can check out to keep your blades safe and sound, such as knife blocks, magnetic knife strips, and drawer knife bars.
Knife Blocks – The Most Popular
The knife block has been the most popular storage solution forever, and over time, it’s made its way to many kitchens around the world. Knife blocks are practical because they keep your knives within reach while being safe enough for your children or pets.
They can also be a decorative item in your kitchen if you have enough space on your countertop. Wood, cork, or even stainless steel — there are so many different styles of knife blocks to choose from that’ll blend into your kitchen style really well, whatever its design.
However, while knife blocks are a popular and convenient type of knife holder, do they have any cons?
One major problem with knife blocks is that they’re generally designed by a specific knife company to hold a complete set of knives. But a couple of chef’s knives are often more than enough to chop through your veggies or meat — a complete set is not only redundant but also something that requires effort to maintain. So having them all in a knife block on your counter might not be the best idea if you, like many home cooks, don’t often need a carving, boning, or tourné knife.
So, because the knives you most frequently use will be some type of chef’s knife and maybe a couple of others, if you try to store them on a knife block that wasn’t designed to hold them, they will probably sit in the holes awkwardly. Plus, you will most likely dull the blades trying to shove them where they don’t belong.
The other crucial aspect you should be aware of when deciding on a knife holder has to do with hygiene. Sure, those wooden knife blocks look elegant on the countertop, but you would probably not be happy to see the inside of a wooden knife block as they are very prone to mold and yeast growth, especially if you don’t clean and dry your knives meticulously.
Finally, if you’re short on countertop space, knife blocks can be very cumbersome and impractical. In that case, maybe you should opt for a magnetic knife holder.
Magnetic Knife Holders to Save You Some Space
So, knife blocks are not always that practical, but a magnetic knife strip is! It’s a great way to hold your most frequently used knives so you have them on hand whenever you need them. Besides, with a magnetic knife holder, you don’t have to worry about adding new items to your knife collection. If you ever get a fever for a Japanese blade or a heavier or lighter chef’s knife, you can simply attach any knife of any shape to the magnetic holder, as long as your magnets are strong enough.
Plus, magnetic strips are perfect for small kitchens as they can save you a lot of countertop and drawer space. They’ll keep your knife arsenal on a nice display while you can use the extra space to store something else.
Magnetic knife holders also offer a lot of style options — if you’re thinking of a basic magnetic strip with a boring metallic look, think again. Actually, today you can find many visually appealing knife holders that are stylishly designed or even handcrafted. But apart from the design of your magnetic knife holder, you also want to make sure it has a stronghold, it’s easy to clean, and its size is appropriate to hold all of your knives. This will allow you to magnetize any kind of blade you might have, and rest assured it will latch onto the strip properly to prevent any kind of accident.
If there’s one thing to consider before installing a magnetic knife holder, it’s the fact that you’ll be displaying your knives out on the wall. While it’s great to just grab a knife whenever you want to make a quick, crunchy salad (like this Thai one we love), it can also be a safety hazard. If you have kids or pets in your household, you should be careful and take precautions.
One idea is to hang the metal strip higher up the wall, where it’s not easily accessible. But if your cats and toddlers tend to turn into ninjas the moment you look away, you can install your knife holder inside one of your upper cabinets for added safety. Or, if none of these options sound safe enough to you, you can consider another option, such as a drawer organizer.
Drawer Organizers – The Safest and Most Universal Knife Storage
Drawers are great storage spaces! But if you have one of those drawers that’s full of miscellaneous tools that you need to dig your way through to find what you need, we all know you need to put an end to this misery, especially when it’s knives you’re storing.
All you have to do is measure the width and length of your drawer, go online or go into a store and find some type of organizer that fits into it. There are also some knife organizers specifically designed to hold a set of knives like cork planes with the shape of the knives carved on them. But this could be a similar trap as the knife block since your knife collection can change over time and future purchases might not fit perfectly.
Drawer organizers are great for making the most out of your drawer space while keeping things tidily away from sight and from the reach of those you’re responsible to protect. There are many kinds of drawer organizers you can find such as multiple layered ones or resizable ones. You can definitely get creative and build up your own organizational layout.
One not-so-great thing about drawer organizers, though, is that they are so prone to getting cluttered if you have the bad habit of throwing your tools in the drawer randomly. We advise against this, as, sadly, stacking all your knives in one compartment can still cause minor damage to the blade while dulling them at the same time.
If your drawers get disorganized easily despite your drawer organizers, you can opt for slashed cork panels — you can use them as something to stick your knives in, like a sheath. But again, this method requires you to properly clean and dry your knives regularly, as cork bears the risk of cork-borne bacteria and yeast.
Properly storing your knives is important because if you don’t, you can damage your knives, and more importantly, you can hurt yourself when reaching for one. Hopefully, with this article, we inspired you to find the best knife storage solution for yourself.
You can go for a knife block if you want something appealing to the eye and if keeping a complete knife set sounds like a good idea. Using a magnetic strip or a drawer organizer is best for letting your knives breathe and dry thoroughly while they’re stored safely in your kitchen. You can choose the ideal knife holder solution for you based on your personal cooking needs, and, of course, depending on how much you need to prioritize the safety of your pets and curious little humans.