Choosing and Caring for Cutting Boards

Everybody has their own preferences about cutting boards, but we all want them to be gentle on our knives, easy to move, and easy to clean. I recommend having at least one large square wooden or bamboo cutting board, primarily used for fruits and vegetables, and one rectangular plastic or rubber cutting board for meats. These boards are easiest on our knives, and once you’ve invested in good knives, it seems a waste to ruin them on a cutting board. Its always nice to have extra cutting boards too, especially if you have help in the kitchen from time to time.

Types of Cutting Boards:

Click cutting board pictures in the following table for further details.

Type of Cutting Board Pros Cons
WoodJohn Boos 14 by 14 by 3-Inch End Grain Cherry Chopping Block
  • Gentlest on knives
  • Good wood is self healing
  • Antiseptic qualities
  • Attractive
  • Refinishable surface
  • Last for years
  • Damaged by serrated knives faster than hard surface boards
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Needs oiling
BambooSeville Classics Bamboo Cutting Board
  • Gentle on knives
  • Antimicrobial/bacteria resistant
  • Fast growing renewable resource
  • Less porous than wood
  • Attractive
  • Damaged by serrated knives
  • Needs oiling
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Quality varies
RubberTeknor Apex Sani-Tuff Rubber Cutting Board 18 x 24 x 1 inch
  • Thick solid rubber boards are a new trend
  • Self-healing properties
  • Do not harbour bacteria
  • Can color code for food types
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Won’t slide around
  • Easy on knives
  • Difficult to find
  • Prone to gouging
  • Stains easily
PlasticPremium Plastic Cutting Boards with measurements
  • Fairly gentle on knives
  • Can color code for food types
  • Inexpensive
  • Can slide around
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easily damaged by knives
  • Not suitable for serrated knives
  • No antibacterial qualities
  • Short lifespan
  • Not eco-friendly
MarbleCounterArt Black Marble Glass Cutting Board, 14-7-8 by 11-3-4 Inches
  • Easy to clean
  • Good for cutting/working on pastry
  • Attractive
  • Hard on knives
  • Breakable
GlassJoseph Joseph 12 by 16-Inch Worktop Saver with Mini Mosaic Design
  • Easy to clean
  • Hard on knives
  • Slides easily
  • Breaks easier than other boards
  • Only lasts around six years
SteelStainless Steel Worktop Saver Chopping Round Edge 12 Inches Wide X 15.5 Inches Deep Includes Non Slip Rubber Feet
  • Easy to clean
  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Easily scratched
  • Hard on knives

As far as the sanitary aspects of cutting boards go, while wood can absorb bacteria and microbes in the fine top layer, trapping them until they die, there is still some threat of cross contamination. Plastic boards can be run through the dishwasher, but once damaged by cutting, these boards can hold contaminates and should be regularly replaced. The simple practice of washing our hands and our cutting boards well with soapy water, and keeping the surface free from major cuts and gouges, is on average enough to keep us in good health.

Features you may want to look for:

  • bendable for ease in moving contents
  • groove to gather juices
  • handle for ease in storing and retrieving
  • color coding to prevent cross contamination
  • non slip underside
  • cutting surface on both sides

Maintaining Cutting Boards:

  • For sanitary reasons, clean any cutting board used to cut raw or rare meats well with hot soapy water, and disinfect with mild bleach occasionally;
  • To remove odours, rub with coarse salt, let it stand for a few minutes, then wash as usual;
  • To keep water from seeping into wood or bamboo boards, rub a light food grade oil on it every couple of months as a preservative;
  • Resurface wood boards with a plane when heavily scored.

Also see:  Best Kitchen Knives: Chef’s, Paring and Bread

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