Resting Sharpened Steel to Preserve Flavor?

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by SilverSwarfer, Aug 13, 2019.

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  1. Aug 13, 2019 #1

    SilverSwarfer

    SilverSwarfer

    SilverSwarfer

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    This subject was recently mentioned in another thread. It’s an interesting question and I am deeply curious to know if there’s any scientific information to be shared.

    After sharpening, some sushi chefs rest their sashimi knives overnight or longer before cutting fish. Some chefs alternate knives day by day. It seems the most prominent reason is a freshly sharpened knife could degrade the delicate flavors of sashimi.

    I have so many questions. Hopefully others have similar curiosity, and thoughts.

    Is there truth in this? Can time change the potential reaction between blade and food?

    What happens to freshly abraded steel in the first 6/12/24+ hours that supports the idea that resting a knife upholds integrity of fish flavors?
     
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  2. Aug 13, 2019 #2

    refcast

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    I would imagine a film of iron oxide forms that is so thin that it is essentially invisible. Although I guess the steel color would darken slightly. You could take a strong acid to carbon steel to remove all the patina and you'll get a really reactive surface that smells of steel and acid. If you cut food with that, it tastes a bit more metallic (assuming I washed the acid throroughly off).
     
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  3. Aug 13, 2019 #3

    Kippington

    Kippington

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    I'd love to know more too. It sounds like a superstitious ritual to me, but there could be something I'm overlooking.

    I can totally imagine it started out as a way to get apprentices to sharpen the night before instead of leaving it till the next day. Going to work in the morning to find blunt knives is like walking into a dirty kitchen. We want to begin working on the tasks ahead - not deal with yesterdays left-over problems.

    Similarly, alternating knives day by day ensures you always have a sharp backup knife at the ready, in case sh!t hits the fan during a busy service.

    Essentially I follow the general rules you outlined in the first post, but for totally different reasons.
     
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  4. Aug 13, 2019 #4

    Mute-on

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    Oxidation of newly exposed steel and iron for 24 hours could well reduce some flavor transfer to produce. How much it is reduced would depend on the steel, the produce, and the environment in which it is used, I expect.
    There is some logic to it, anyway.
     
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  5. Aug 13, 2019 #5

    Benuser

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    This is very strange, as leaving the used knife to rest before sharpening allows it to restore in some way from damage that occurred. See the usual rotation with traditional razors.
     
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  6. Aug 13, 2019 #6

    kayman67

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    On razors there were talks about edge steel tension. I think there still is some debate on this.

    On knives, since I've always had at least one night+ between sharpening and the actual usage, I never had the chance or the need to rotate anything. I actually sold my second yanagiba after a year or so.

    I can tell you this. I did a huge number of tests on freshly sharpened knives and I haven't seen any strange behaviour (that I have the possibility of seeing) in relation with edge retention or integrity, compared to previously sharpened unused knives. If there is something, some equipment might be required.
     
  7. Aug 13, 2019 #7

    SilverSwarfer

    SilverSwarfer

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    I love Kip’s comments best so far because I agree!

    I am really hoping for some scientifically supported answers, but seems likely that what’s posted so far is just the simple reality behind a relatively simple concept
     
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  8. Aug 13, 2019 #8

    panda

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    that's complete nonsense reasoning, it's all psychology like kip pointed out.
     
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  9. Aug 13, 2019 #9

    kayman67

    kayman67

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    I don't think it's that hard to put this to a test taste related. Right now I'm in the wrong town for anything fish related.
     
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  10. Aug 14, 2019 #10

    SilverSwarfer

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    Have you published or otherwise shared your test results?
     
  11. Aug 14, 2019 #11

    kayman67

    kayman67

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    They were mainly for me and the people I worked with. Sometimes was the same multiple knife or knives, pushed in different ways for months, just to determine what's the best choice for a bigger purchase or to determine other stuff. Edge retention and integrity were always a concern.
     
  12. Aug 14, 2019 #12

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    AFAIK, you don't want ANY uneccessary "metallic taste" in your sushi :(

    eg1
    eg2
    eg3
     

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