The significance of a good, trustworthy cutting board cannot be overlooked in a modern day kitchen. However, choosing the right cutting board can become a bit challenging considering the number of alternatives available in the market. Whether you need the cutting board for chopping your veggies, slicing meats or quickly preparing a sandwich it is essential that the cutting board provides a hardy, easy-to-clean countertop-like surface. Among the various choices available in cutting boards, we will help you find a board most relevant for your kitchen.
Usual confusions when buying a cutting board:
- Cutting boards are among the busiest of kitchen surfaces—should durability be the primary consideration?
- Cutting boards are invariably always present on the countertop—should aesthetics be a part of the decision-making?
- Cutting boards have to deal with knives on a daily basis—do I need to select a board based on my knifing pattern or choice of knives?
- Cutting boards make direct contact with food but few can promise a 100% sanitized surface—is there a lack of boards that can keep themselves clean with little maintenance?
- Cutting boards are among the most sold kitchen essentials—every big brand is promising a lifetime of performance but prices are rather high. Is buying expensive boards a sensible investment?
Cutting Right through the Clutter: Discussing the Usual Alternatives
Kitchen cutting boards are commonly made of wood or plastic and are available in various widths and sizes. However, you may also find cutting boards made of glass, marble or steel. Now, each proposition has its own Pros and Cons. Making a choice becomes more difficult when you don’t understand the dynamics of each option. So, let us get started with the most common types of cutting boards available today:
- In the World of Kitchens, Wood is Always Good….Almost True!
We are not against contemporary kitchen styles but there is something special about good old wood that makes it a great choice for most aspects of kitchen management. This includes cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards have been active in kitchens since ages owing to their durability and ease of availability.
Wooden cutting boards and knives: Since, every slice of a knife ends at the cutting board it is essential that cutting board’s surface is much more forgiving and gentle on the knife. Wooden cutting boards are gentle on your knives and lead to minimal wear & tear on the knife blade.
Wooden cutting boards and hygiene: Now, some people argue that wooden cutting boards are more susceptible to bacteria especially if you are dealing with meat products. To counter that, we suggest that many woods possess anti-microbial properties that don’t allow the bacteria to breed. So, your choice of wood makes a huge difference.
Wooden cutting boards and signs of damage: Whenever you use a cutting board, the knife slices between wood fibers rather than cutting into its surface—this decreases the chances of leaving any marks. So, your kitchen cutting board will remain scratch-free for a much longer period of time.
Bamboo wooden cutting boards: Naturally antibacterial bamboo: the best kitchen cutting board
A Tip: Oil your wooden boards regularly, and they will stay waterproof, less prone to moisture-induced damage
Wood cutting boards should be regularly seasoned with a good quality cutting board oil. You can find them in most hardware stores. Mineral oil is typically used, since it does not go rancid. Do not use vegetable oil or olive oil. There are oil blends such as Block Bros. Block Oil that are made with shelf stable edible oils. To season, start with a clean, dry cutting board. Coat entire surface with a layer of oil and rub it in. Let set to absorb in warm, dry area for 12 to 24 hours. Buff to remove any oil that may not have been absorbed, repeat as needed any time your board starts looking dull.
- The Stone Age Still Rocks in Contemporary Kitchens…Natural Stone Cutting Boards
Rapidly gaining popularity among home shoppers, stone cutting boards are an easy choice. They don’t wear down easily, are effortless to clean and gels well with any type of existing décor. The most popular options include granite and marble cutting boards. The smooth polished surface is rather attractive, adding a new dimension to the existing textures in the kitchen.
However, owing to their extremely hard surface, natural stone cutting boards are not friendly to knives; they can take a toll on knives’ edges. Marble cutting boards are long lasting but they can be slightly porous if not sealed properly.
- Aesthetically Better: Glass Cutting Boards
Residue from food does not stick to glass. It is also extremely easy to clean, and you can get great results either from hand washing or from cleaning a glass cutting board in the dishwasher—sounds like the perfect choice? Not necessarily!
Yes, glass-cutting boards also don’t retain food particles or give room for bacteria to grow and are least likely to develop unpleasant smells but they are not the perfect choice. Promoters of glass cutting boards cite the inherently hygienic properties of glass as the major reason and the ultra-strong surfaces offered by new-age, manufactured glasses. Whilst they are prettier than any other cutting board, glass boards provide minimal grip. This makes a huge difference when you do heavy-duty chopping.
Tip: Anyone who cannot tolerate the sound of nails being scratched on the chalkboard should loathe the sound made by glass cutting boards. Yes, the audible inferno can be so challenging!
The Eternal Debate: Wooden vs. Glass / Plastic Cutting Boards
Coming to plastic boards, many people opt for plastic cutting boards for their kitchen because they are the invariably economical choice. Easily available, easy-to-handle and very dishwasher-friendly, plastic boards have become a universal favorite. Proponents of plastic cutting boards even argue that since plastic is non-porous, any residual bacteria can be easily washed away. However, this might not be entirely true!
There is every possibility that bacteria can collect within the small crevices or rough spots created by knife-induced wear and tear. Plastic cutting boards cannot be repaired or sealed like natural stone boards. Some are also prone to being a bit slippery. However, industrial-strength plastic or glass might prove more durable over wood. Also, wooden boards are limited in terms of presentation. You are not likely to find a vast array of choices in terms of grain pattern or colors. With plastic boards, the color choices are endless.
The question of being ecologically responsible: manufactured cutting boards might not be the greenest option. Plastic and glass are manufactured materials. There is little surety about the manufacturer following green practices. Some folks swear by Epicurean cutting board as the brand presents itself as an ecologically conscious manufacturer.
Choosing Your Ideal Cutting Board
Though we wanted to make the choice easier for you, we believe the information presented here might have confused you a bit. To uncomplicate things, we are presenting an easy-to-grasp list of parameters you should keep in mind when finalizing a kitchen cutting board:
- Don’t read too much into product information emphasizing on easiness of cleaning the board— you still need to clean your board religiously to ensure no contamination makes it to your plate.
- Try the more versatile boards—if possible, choose a board that is microwave friendly and non-slippery.
- Use separate boards for different foods—this is the easiest way to ensure that cross-contamination from different foods is prevented. Keep one board for cutting meats and eggs and another one for vegetables. We recommend keeping the wooden board for cutting raw meats. Glass
cutting boards or plastics work better for everything else. You can also keep separate boards for cooked and uncooked foods.
- Tempered glass is emerging as a favorite in the new breed of cutting boards—though reasonably sturdy and impressively resilient against thermal shocks, it is a bit expensive. We are not too sure if this surface is as easy to sanitize as advertised.
Purchasing your cutting board from a reputed supplier would be the final step. Try to read into the product’s green ratings if you buying a non-wooden board. This is an easy way to ensure your kitchen is more eco-friendly.