above top; throw away stainless. Bottom- click to enlarge
Click here to (see 1:20 thru 7 minutes) learn about carbon steel kitchen knives from the original one and only Julia Child ! This is a PBS show first broadcast in early spring of 1963. Julia talks about carbon steel kitchen knives; how to care for them and why to buy carbon steel kitchen knives in the first place. She even takes the time to clean one of her blades. Although I would suggest avoiding using a scouring cleanser, and simply go right for a scrubbie sponge as shown as you read below.
This whole video is wonderful, as the ever charming Ms. Child gives her unique take on French Onion Soup. Bon Appétit !
The Blade or Surface
As far as the blade/surface portion of the knife is concerned, I rinse and wipe it off with a clean dry cotton kitchen towel after I use it. That is all I do, and the blade stays silvery gray. Then I leave it to air dry in the dish drain.
If I want a blade bone dry, I will clean off surface when I finish using the knife, rinse it and then I use a paper towel to dry surface & handle. Paper towels really dry off all the moisture, as opposed to a dish towel which almost always leaves some moisture behind.
If I am cooking, I will wipe off pretty consistently between food types throughout the process, and do a double wipe when finished. This includes my wood cutting board. I generally hang a towel over my shoulder when working, but many pull a towel through their belt or apron string, ala “Chef Pepin”.
Re: oil blade for ease of cutting – I have tried it for a few weeks using Canola oil. Initially after drying and I am finished using, but now only before working with sticky stuff. It does work !
Above: Said scrub sponge w/ green scouring pad on one side.
Scotch-brite is twice as durable as all other brands and I highly recommend it.
If I cut something that sticks to the surface like cheese, or if I cut raw meat, I use hot water and the green side of a scrub sponge to abrade clean surface off and then “wipe it off”. You can also use salt (Kosher is the best) to clean off the wet surface using a rag or wash cloth. This will allow the built up surface patina to stay put while removing all else. Soap will clean as well, but if you wash with soap, thoroughly dry with cotton or paper towel and let air dry. You can also (optional) warm blade up and oil surface, but I never do this as there is no need. I am not using the surface to cook on and the oil will not stay on.
Other ways of cleaning a really abused knife surface is using sand paper grits of 120, 240 and then 320. This is very heavy duty only for the worst kek and rust on a knife. Rinse when done and as always, dry off surface completely. Any knife you have, no matter how funky and crusty, can be renewed back to the surface with a bit of work.
How I finish all handles
There is no such thing as a hard impenetrable (by water, oils, surfactants, etc.) finish that does not have some toxic repercussions in the home or in the environment. If you want an environmentally clean handle on your fine kitchen tool, it has to have some form of upkeep. Since I and my family consciously try to avoid household chemicals in all forms, then the trick for me was to find a clean finish that needs to be periodically renewed and to keep it easy and simple. I will describe process as follows. During the machining/sanding process, between 36 and 120 grit belts, I dip the wood handle in water and then allow it to dry. This will raise the grain, which is then sanded down. I go up to 400 grit, which removes all visible scratches. This will prevent grain raising when your handle gets wet years down the line.
Once I finish with the machine sanding phase, all my handles are then hand sanded to 600 grit, then given a coat of grain filling Bulls Eye wax free Shellac, to fill in the wood grain. Shellac is suspended in alcohol and as clean as a finish can get. The shellac penetrates the wood and fills in the grain, which is all I want. Once Shellac is dry, I steel wool the shellac off using 00, 000 and 0000 grade steel wool, and then apply my oil/wax mixture and allow to sit for 2 hours while the wood absorbs any oils, leaving the wax on the surface. Then I hand buff the wax out . The blade is then inscribed with my logo; and finally all oils are cleaned from the blade surface using a soft sponge and dish soap.
To refinish at home, simply allow wood handle to dry out (ideally for 1/2 to 1 day), and use sandpaper to sand down the raised grain on the wood. Any abrasive material will work, even the green side of a new scrubbie sponge.
You can finish a handle at home
Hint* ~ Grit on sandpaper is identified by number.
Grit goes from coarsest at 36,40, 80 grit to medium at 120, 150, 180, 220 on up to fine and very fine. Most projects start with medium and go to fine.
Sheets are fairly cheap to buy. For most non-crafter types, sanding blocks work great in the kitchen – like around 120 grit. Just ask for sanding blocks at the hardware store. One has two large surfaces and two edges. It is basically a thick sponge with sandpaper surface. Useful around the kitchen so keep it. You can also use it as a sharpening stone. Also ideal for knife and cast iron pan surfaces. etc. See section under this one for more about sanding blocks.