I profiled ZX Kitchen Knives in February of 2012 after being introduced to them at the IHHS preview show in New York. As I had mentioned, I used them a little bit at the display table and was able to cut ultra thin slices of tomato and cucumber. The knife was very light and sharp.
zx kitchen Ceramic Knives
As you may or may not know, ceramic knives are sharper than traditional steel cutlery and they deliver low maintenance kitchen service for about five years with no need for sharpening. Not being made of metal, they do not rust or deposit chemicals on food when used. All ceramic blades start out as white zirconium oxide. Then zx kitchen blades change to black zirconium carbide via an additional firing process which gives the blades the advantage of being even tougher and stronger than before. And unlike some ceramic tools, zx kitchen’s black ceramic will never stain.
With balanced weight and ergonomic handles, zx kitchen knives fit comfortably in your hand and, if held by the handle, protect your fingers while slicing or dicing. The knives are germ-resistant and non-stick so they easily wipe clean, helping you to clean up faster than with regular knives. For further safety and blade protection, zx kitchen includes a red sheath with each knife.
Ceramic Knife Advantages
- Long Edge Life: Ceramic knives are harder than steel knives, therefore they can hold a sharp edge much longer. Most ceramic knives, if used properly, can hold their razor sharp edge for many months.
- Ease of Maintenance: Because they hold their edges longer, ceramic knives are easier to maintain than steel knives. Less sharpening or honing is required.
- Wear Resistance: Ceramic knives do not stain or rust like steel knives which can become discolored by food acids. The composition also means you will not have to worry about interactions with foods, preventing possible metallic taste or discoloration in food.
- Simple To Use and Clean: Ceramic knives are non-stick. It isn’t necessary to use special cleaners or abrasives to get them clean. They’re also much lighter in weight than steel knives which means anyone can wield them without stress or strain.
Ceramic Knife Disadvantages
- Expensive: Ceramic knives generally cost more than steel knives. This is because zirconium oxide is a fairly advanced material and costs more to produce than steel. In addition, many ceramic knives are imported which will add to their overall cost. Plus, as we will see below, you cannot sharpen them yourself and hence, you will spend more to ship and sharpen your knife than with metal.
- Fragility: Quality ceramic knives are not likely to shatter when dropped. However it is easy to chip the edge or brake the tip. While they are harder than steel, the edge is more fragile than steel knives. Despite the fact that consumers deny it, knives are frequently used as screw drivers and prying tools. If you do that with a ceramic knife, you risk snapping the blade. Use them only for cutting and slicing.
- Sharpening: Sharpening ceramic knives at home is not recommended. Every manufacturer of ceramic knives includes instructions to customers that insist they send the knife back to the manufacturer when they need to be sharpened. Sharpening a ceramic knife is not the same as sharpening a steel knife; the tools needed are expensive and unique. You really have to know what you’re doing or you can easily destroy the knife. With the proper tools, experience and training, you could sharpen them yourself, but I would not recommend it. Bite the bullet and send them to the manufacturer for proper sharpening.
Ceramic Knife Function
Let’s start with how you should hold and grip the knife because the manufacturers insist you hold it a certain way to “properly” to use it. I was taught to hold knives by grabbing the base of the knife with fingers on either side of the bolster area of the knife. This ensures a firm steady grip which allows you full control over the knife.
As I was using the zx kitchen ceramic knife at the press event, I was told the way I gripped it was incorrect. I was told to hold the handle keeping my fingers behind the bolster for protection and sure grip. As I used the demo knife, I tried to remember this instruction but it is not a natural thing for me to do. I have been retraining myself to do as they asked.
I did find that the knife functioned better when I used the full grip. I do not know if this is because the blade is thinner than the steel knives I normally use making it difficult to get an effective dice using my typical grip.
As I have used the knife in various preparations, it performed as you would expect; it has a razor sharp edge that makes quick and smooth slices. I used the ceramic knives to do every task I normally would as I prepared meals. This included slicing, mincing, dicing and chopping herbs and veggies for grilling including squash (both summer and winter); I even sliced raw and cooked meats.
- Prepping herbs
- Thin precise cuts
- Prep for stir fry cooking
- Slicing raw meat and fish
- Steak knife
Less Effective or Not Recommended
- Dense vegetables such as winter squash
- Firm cheeses
- Twisting motion
With dense food like winter squash or firm cheeses, I felt the ceramic knife was not as secure or cutting as effectively. I thought at first it was just me getting used to the ceramic knife, but I did a test to validate my feelings. While cutting a butternut squash, I alternated between the ceramic knife and a steel Asian style knife. The steel knife cut more easily and effectively than the ceramic knife. I would not recommend a ceramic knife if heavy force is required to work through dense food or where you may encounter a bone after pushing hard.
zx kitchen Ceramic Knife Options
zx kitchen offers really good combinations which allow you to get started with ceramic knives:
zx kitchen ceramic knives are wonderful to use and very efficient. Used properly they will last long and retain their edge without maintenance for much much longer than their metal counterparts. Full culinary functionality may be limited, but where you can use them, they are quite extraordinary.
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