Love cooking in the kitchen? Well, then you probably used a kitchen cutting board at one time or another. The question is, what type of board should you or should you not use?
Well, I guess that answer is… it depends.
This answer will depend on your intended purpose, what style you like and how often or how much care are you willing to give your cutting board.
What is your intended purpose?
Now, I realize this may seem to be a really silly question… you want to use it to cut on right? Well, are you going to be cutting raw or cooked meat, vegetables, tomatoes or cheese?
Wood – The traditional board is the wood cutting board. This type of board is excellent for preserving your valuable knives from getting dulled on the surface and can beautify any kitchen with its traditional look. However, you should know that wood boards do need quite a bit of maintenance. You will need to clean it after every use… and it is suggested that you use a vinegar with water mix and NOT put it in your kitchen sink. Washing your wood board in the kitchen sink… especially soaking it in water, can significantly damage your board as water will soak into the board allowing bacteria to grow, as well, it will dry out and crack the board. You will also have to oil your board at least once every two months with a food grade mineral oil to help keep the board from drying out and cracking. So all in all, a wood board is quite a bit of work to maintain and clean… but nothing looks as beautiful in a kitchen as a wood cutting board.
Plastic – The latest on the cutting board scene is the plastic cutting board. Plastic was previously viewed as an excellent board to replace the traditional wood boards, as they are not as porous as wood and will repel bacteria much better. There has been much debate over this question and some studies have been done which actually show bacteria will grow on plastic boards… but will be repelled on wood boards, as the wood has a natural defence against bacteria. However, plastic boards are much easier to clean and maintain. A good bath in bleach mixed with water solution will help eliminate bacteria. As well as regular cleaning in the sink with soap and water… you can even put a plastic cutting board in the dish washer… now how about that for easy to maintain.
What style do you like?
There are three other styles that you may like, such as steel, marble or glass boards. If you are interested in these types of boards… you are best to keep these boards reserved for preparing sandwiches, making and rolling out dough or serving cheeses. All these types of boards are extremely hard on your knives… which can lead to dull or chipped knives. Also, marble can actually deteriorate and disintegrate over time if certain acidic foods or juices are prepared on them, such as tomatoes. However, these boards do present very well and can be used for sandwiches or cheeses.
So that again leaves us with the wood and plastic boards and which board is better? Wood will give you that traditional look for your kitchen… but will be a more work to keep sanitary and clean. Wood comes in a full grain plank width, full grain edge width and the classic end grain look. Bamboo, which is actually not a wood but is from the grass family also looks beautiful, is even 15% harder than maple, but still has the same practices for cleaning as wood. All of these cutting boards will look beautiful if you wish to keep them on your kitchen counter.
Plastic is easier to maintain and can come in a variety of styles and colours for a lot less than a traditional board. You can also pick up flexible boards which make rolling dough or sliding cut meat or veggies off the board and into pots or bowls simple and easy. Plastic boards also come in varying thicknesses which means you can store them away into smaller spaces if you don’t want to display them on your counter.
What is your lifestyle like?
The final question that will help you in getting the best kitchen cutting board for your use is… what is your lifestyle like? If you are like most and have a million and one things to do when you get home from work, like preparing dinner before going to soccer practice… taking care of a wood board may not be one of your first priorities. If you love to cook and enjoy taking your time perfecting each recipe you create… you will likely enjoy the beauty and benefits a wood cutting board has to offer by keeping your valuable knives in excellent condition.
Either way, you will have to properly clean and sanitize your kitchen cutting board after each and every use… the question is what type of person are you and are you likely to spend the extra time maintaining a wood cutting board or just throw your plastic cutting board in the dish washer. That question is for you to answer but will hopefully guide you in your kitchen cutting board purchase.