Hey everyone, I decided after purchasing a new wooden cutting board that a great topic would be a beginners guide to cutting boards. The most common materials being plastic, rubber or wood. They also make glass and steel. Things to consider when choosing a cutting board include, the types of foods you will be cutting, the cleanup and maintenance of the board and the damage they can do to your knives. As you use your cutting boards, the knives will over time create cuts and grooves in your board which are a haven for bacteria. We don't want bacteria growing on surfaces we use for food preparation. I will discuss my opinions on the main types of boards, upkeep and the pros and cons of each.
Glass and Steel: These materials are very durable and can handle more caustic cleaners than the other materials, however they are also the most damaging to your knives. They can cause rolls, dents and even chips in your knives. Plus when chopping on glass you could break it and contaminate your food.
Plastic: Plastic is probably the type of board you have several of already and it is a good material for cutting. It does little damage to knife edges and even though it does get scratched and gouged relatively easily, the fact that it can take more caustic cleaners balances out the increased area for bacteria growth. Plastic also wont absorb chemicals from cleaners.
Rubber: This seems to be the newest buzzword surface and it is usually sold as a thick rubber pad. It is heavy so it doesn't slip easily. It also does not retain much moisture and therefore not much bacteria either. It has somewhat of a self healing surface and is minimally damaging to knives.
Cross contamination is a big issue with cutting boards so always have a separate board for raw meats and do not switch back and forth. Most of the surfaces will clean well in a hot dishwasher. Wood however should not be put in the dishwasher or submerged in water. Use hot water and a new sponge, those old ones are full of bacteria and we dont want to rub bacteria all over a surface we are trying to clean. Make sure all boards are completely dry before storing away. Some boards may have a groove on one side, this is to help contain any juices from what you are cutting. If using wood, have a different choice for cutting raw meats. Raw meat can leave large amounts of bacteria that can absorb into the wood. Treating your wood with mineral oil can help control this but to be safe just use a different board.
If you have any questions or comments, or you thought of something I didn't cover, please leave a comment below. Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog!!