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As any home cook knows, knives are one of the most important tools in the kitchen. Almost every meal begins with slicing and dicing fresh produce, or chopping herbs, spices, garlic and onion to combine into delicious flavours. Though we rely on them, our humble knives can often be overused and under loved — and so, perhaps it’s time to sit down and give them some much deserved attention.

The first step to organizing your kitchen knives is doing a quick audit — What have you got? What do you need? What can be fixed, updated, thrown away or purchased?

Having the right collection or set of knives for your personal usage is important for chefs and domestic cooks alike. If freshly baked bread is a staple in your household, there is no point slicing your loaves with a chef’s knife when a serrated bread knife would do the job much better. If every Sunday you have a roast, a sharp carving knife will become your favourite tool.

Typically, a standard knife set for domestic use includes 4 to 6 knives which will cover most bases. A good quality knife set for home should also come with a knife block for storage, and it’s important to use it. Neglected knives kept at the bottom of the utensil draw can be both a safety hazard (losing a finger when looking for a spatula is not ideal!), and shorten the lifespan of your knives.

To help your knives perform better and last longer, it’s worth the effort of learning to care for them. Honing and sharpening a knife will refresh any you already have, and storing and treating them correctly will extend the wear of any new purchases. Always use a chopping board and try to wash them by hand after using, as hard surfaces and dishwashers can blunt the blade and increase rates of wear and tear.

Familiarize yourself with your kitchen knives using the infographic below, “Know Your Knives” by nisbets.com.au. Share with us your best knife-care tips in the comments below!