Cutting Board Materials and Maintenance: Choose the Right Chopping Board for Health and Productivity
Cooks at every level need at least one cutting board in their kitchen, and most use several. A look in the house wares aisle gives a wide array of materials and sizes to choose from. Whichever material is chosen, maintenance on the board keeps it looking new and sanitary.
Benefits of Cutting on Plastic
Plastic boards are becoming more popular because of their many benefits. They come in assorted colors, thicknesses, and sizes. They are also the most inexpensive option. Plastic boards are easily sanitized and smaller sizes can be put in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.
The only drawback to plastic boards is that the thinner variety may not last as long, since eventually knives will slice through it. These thin varieties are available at dollar stores and are easily replaceable.
Wood Chopping Boards
Traditionally, boards made from wood have been the most popular option. Most often made from a hard maple, these wooden cutting boards hold up very well and are very long lasting. They are easy on knives, and relatively affordable.
One drawback of wooden boards is keeping them clean and sanitary. They can not be immersed in water or placed in the dishwasher. Water can cause cracks which create a home for bacteria. To sanitize wooden boards, a diluted bleach solution must be used. Owners can rub their board occasionally with a food grade mineral oil or linseed oil to keep them from drying out and cracking.
Bamboo is becoming popular in new wooden cutting boards. This environmentally friendly material is perfect for boards because of its density and natural properties that resist bacteria growth.
Glass Cutting Boards
Tempered glass is another option that many people choose for cutting on, but it may not be the best choice. While it is very easy to clean, the glass surface is hard on knives, and many people complain that the sound of the knives hitting the glass is bothersome. Glass is heat-resistant though, so these boards can double as trivets.
Guidelines for a Safe, Clean Cutting Surface
Regardless of the material, cutting boards are exposed to many foods. It is recommended that cooks use one board for raw meats, and a separate board for vegetables and other foods to avoid cross contamination.
Also, once a board develops any sizable slices or cracks that could become a hiding place for bacteria, it should be replaced. These small crevices are difficult to clean and can possibly cause illness.
Today’s cook has several choices for cutting board materials, including wood, plastic, or glass. Using them safely, and sanitizing them regularly will ensure a long life out of them, and a healthy family.