What is a good Cutting Board? Wood or Plastic? Dishwasher or not? We answer these questions and every other you might have about Cutting Boards.
The most crucial Knife Companion you will ever have
If you work in the kitchen and handle knives on a regular basis, you will need a sturdy work surface. Make sure you pay close attention to the most vital accessory, the cutting board because your chosen range of knives will thank you for it later. As will your perceptions of taste and beauty, as well as your health – kitchen hygiene is the watchword. Each material has its own set of pros and limitations, and manufacturers have created a plethora of functional and aesthetically-pleasing products. Here are the facts, as well as our recommendations for selecting and using the best cutting board.
- Important Cutting Board Buying Criteria
- Cutting Board Materials
- Cleaning and Care for Cutting Boards
- Do not leave unwashed! Rinse promptly
- Hygiene: Plastic or Wood?
- Wood Care with Oil
- Refurbish the Surface if necessary
Important Cutting Board Buying Criteria
Cutting boards are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate any situation. The cutting board dimensions should be appropriate for the type of food you are chopping, as well as the length of the blades you intend to use. The larger the oven, the more broadly applicable it is, but the larger the oven, the more space you will need if you are preparing many items that will be cooked at the same time. Additionally, consider storage options: on the tabletop, leaning upright, in a container, hung, or in a compartment?..
The majority of everyday cooks have at least two, if not a collection, of different-sized cutting boards on hand.
Cutting different items one after the other on the same surface is an example of poor kitchen cleanliness that is commonly overlooked and overlooked. Why? Because raw meat and fish can include diseases such as viruses, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and salmonella in chicken, it is not recommended to consume them. It is not advisable to transfer such germs, and even less so to chop raw food on the same cutting board!
Vegetables, on the other hand, like releasing tenacious colors and potent scents, which the base subsequently passes on to the next generation. In addition, it is not particularly effective.
You should have at least one board for each of the following: animal, staining, flavor transference, and a separate board especially for bread if you are in the kitchen every day. It all depends on your personal preferences. Otherwise, one or two cutting boards that are very easy to keep clean may do for your needs in this case.
Sure, a strong, nicely finished wooden board made of grained and natural valuable wood that is placed on a sideboard just looks gorgeous on the table. They are significant one-of-a-kind pieces that range in style from rustic to sleek minimalist, depending on the type of wood used and the design. Furthermore, everyone enjoys the feel of well-maintained wood that is glistening with oil and is a pleasure to touch.
For this, a plain plastic board with more practical properties would be preferable. Underlays made of plastic, on the other hand, can be rather attractive: There are a variety of colors available in addition to black and white.
In addition to serving platters, glass, steel, and natural stone are other attractive eye-catchers, but they are consistently unsatisfactory as cutting surfaces; more on this in the Materials section.
It is determined by the material, workmanship, and thickness of the board how much force the cutting board can withstand when cutting, how often it can be refinished, and how dimensionally stable your investment will remain over the long term. When exposed to moisture and/or heat, inexpensive, thin “breakfast boards” constructed of wood or plastic can deform. Crosswise glued strips or numerous layers of strips glued together crosswise are more dimensionally stable than single-piece wood boards because they are less prone to cracking and cracking is less noticeable. Cutting boards are a unique shape in terms of their structural integrity. Their open-pored end-grain or end-grain surface should be made up of at least 4-centimeter-long timber blocks that have been bonded together to form a continuous surface.
A high-quality product is typically hefty and large enough to be securely supported while being cut – and it may be utilized on both sides of the work area at the same time. Alternatively, the stand can be secured with robust rubberized feet. Even more rest against the worktop with one of the front edges extending downwards. The most important thing to remember when working with sharp blades is to avoid putting yourself in undue danger.
Plastic cutting boards are typically less expensive than solid wood cutting boards, and excellent woods from reputable producers are typically more expensive than no-name products.
Consider carefully checking the quality and reading customer reviews before purchasing medium-sized (about 7.9 inches (ca. 20 cm) by 11.9 inches (ca. 30 cm)), 0.4 inches (ca. 1 cm) thick boards manufactured of polyethylene (PE) for less than ten dollar. When in doubt, it is preferable to spend more money on high-quality polymers that will endure for a long period of time rather than just one season.
Cutting boards for experienced cooks are significantly more expensive, and the upper price limit is nearly reached. In exchange, you will receive not only high-quality materials, but also useful extras like as recessed grips, juice grooves on the edge (for vegetables and fruit), breadcrumb grooves, attached collection containers, and even boxes with drawers for the chopped food, among other features. Design highlights include varied colored woods, stainless steel handles, and a variety of other materials.
Cutting Board Materials
The selection of the material is the culmination of all of the criteria. The only two fundamental materials that can withstand being finely ground and razor-sharp knife steel are some types of wood and plastic, both of which are used in the production of kitchen knives.
Never Stainless Steel, Glass & Stone
Decorative plates made of glass, stone, or stainless steel are far too hard and quickly dull any knife that comes into contact with them. You would have to regrind frequently, resulting in material loss as well as the possibility of broken nicks or bent burrs on your valuable blades.
Plastics: Practical and easy to clean
High-molecular-weight polyethylene (for example, PE 500 and higher) is used to make good synthetic cutting boards. These cutting boards are food-safe, dishwasher-safe, and as hygienic as they possibly can be.. They frequently do not require the use of plasticizers and allow the cutting edge to glide virtually completely across the surface of the material. Microplastics, on the other hand, are little, fibrous particles that are liberated sooner or later during the cutting process. Grades that are less expensive, such as basic HD-PE, are just that: inexpensive and unsuitable.
When it comes to juicy vegetables or fruits that tend to leak, plastic boards are great because they do not absorb water. Meat that must be handled with care for hygiene reasons is in good hands with them. Because dyes and odors transfer extremely slowly, you can use them for a variety of items such as garlic, onions, seafood, spices, and so on – and then put them in the machine.
Wood – The best Kitchen feeling
For wood-lovers and devotees of millennia-old culinary traditions, there is no question about what goes under the knife in the first place. All types of wood are ideal, as long as they are softer than the hardest and sharpest knife blade, but not so soft to be dangerously brittle. Wood that has been properly kept is naturally hygienic, extremely durable, and gets more unique with each passing year. Beyond the visible differences, it is also important to consider the other characteristics of the two objects.
Oak, ash, olive, and bamboo are all tannin acid-rich and rustic choices.
These coarser wood types are rich in tannic acids, which have antibacterial properties. However, they are uniquely unique in that they are also exceedingly robust, hard, resistant, and rustic in their own manner. Every one of them is predisposed to patina since their bigger pores are easily penetrated by liquids. When comparing darker olive heartwood with extremely light sapwood, the grain is still prominent in this combination, but the darker heartwood has a more subtle appearance.
Do you prefer fine-pored maple, cherry, or walnut – or perhaps beech?
Smoother hardwood species with finer pores are more water-resistant in the near term and require less labor in the long term. Dark walnut is a highly popular cutting board wood because it retains its beauty for a long period of time. The fiery cherry darkens significantly, whilst the maple retains its bright color. Beech, with its distinctive darker “stipples,” is a low-cost wood that is slightly more prone to cracking than other hardwoods.
Cleaning and Care for Cutting Boards
When using a knife-friendly board, it is common practice to “cut along.” To put it another way, cracks, grooves, and notches emerge all over the cutting surface, and the surface becomes clearly rougher as a result of this phenomenon. The difficulty with this is that food residues and liquids can accumulate in these little crevices and become trapped. If they are not treated appropriately, they can linger in the environment for an extended period of time, allowing bacteria and other pathogens to flourish. Brushes and the like, as well as disinfectants, will never be able to entirely eliminate them. Alternatively, if everything dries rapidly, bacteria are unable to reproduce and the whole thing is harmless – this is known as true patina.
Do not leave unwashed! Rinse promptly
As a result, it is highly recommended that you clean your cutting board immediately after each use. Simply remove residues and grease by hand using water, a small amount of mild detergent, and a brush, allow to dry (!) fully, and then leave to dry entirely while standing freely if possible. This is more than ample in every way.
The dishwasher is not a friend of the environment. Heat, moisture, and harsh alkalis are all destructive to wood over the long term.. High-quality plastic cutting boards may be cleaned by machine, which is, incidentally, why only such cutting boards are permitted in the catering industry. However, this should be done as soon as possible after every use. When it comes to fat-soluble plant pigments, such as red and yellow carotenoids (tomatoes, carrots, peppers) are particularly fond of plastics, and will move deep into the material if given the opportunity.
Hygiene: Plastic or Wood?
However, the long-running debate over whether plastic boards are more hygienic than wooden boards has yet to be definitively resolved. Despite several scientific investigations conducted under laboratory circumstances.
Among the arguments in favor of plastic are the fact that it does not absorb water, dries quickly, and can be washed in the dishwasher. As a result of the plastic qualities of the various types of plastic used, some fissures close up again during use, containing any leftovers that may have been present, and might thus serve as microbreeding sites. One of the hypotheses is as follows:
Wood, on the other hand, is functional. As soon as it gets wet, it expands, opening pores and grooves almost as if it were made for cleaning, and then contracts as it dries. In addition, numerous woods naturally contain tanning chemicals that are antibacterial in nature. Disadvantages: Wood dries more slowly than other materials and requires more frequent care.
Wood Care with Oil
When the board is dry, you can limit the amount of liquid that it absorbs by rubbing it with cooking oil (such as linseed oil) on a regular basis. At the same time, the fibers retain their pliability and do not splice together when stretched. Only as much and as frequently as it is capable of absorbing. After a few minutes, use a kitchen towel to soak up any remaining liquid. Chopping blocks with open pores require more frequent oiling than other types of surfaces.
If you do not use your board on a regular basis, it is advisable not to use virgin cold-pressed oils that contain a high concentration of beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids because they tend to go rancid rapidly. In this situation, white oil derived from petroleum or refined frying oils are preferable; olive oil can also be used.
Refurbish the Surface if necessary
For many individuals, the patina that forms in wood over a period of time is simply a natural part of the process. If it becomes too unattractive, you still have the option of sanding the entire surface on a regular basis if necessary. You can use specialized sanding blocks for this purpose, but remember to re-oil afterward. There are also sharpening tools that are designed specifically for plastic cutting boards.
Appropriately, we recommend you read our article on the proper care of chef’s knives.