A must-have kitchen utensil every cook should own is undeniably the multi-purpose chopping board. Although it’s commonly used for cutting foods and crops, a great thing about it is that it can be used as a preparation area or as a serving plate as well. It does a great job at keeping your kitchen counters protected and it makes cooking a lot easier.
The quality of the board itself also has an impact on the food, and that entirely depends on the materials of which the chopping board is made from. But, you might wonder – What is the best material to use for a cutting board? Well, there is no short answer to that question, so it’s of great importance that you know your options and take your time when making the pick. Here are the main ones you can choose from:
Best Materials for Cutting Board and Their Needed Maintenance
Wooden Chopping Boards
One of the best picks you can go for are the top-quality durable wood chopping boards for the ultimate cooking experience. It’s the best material not just for your ingredients, but for your knives as well. These boards are definitely not a bacteria-friendly environment, which will ultimately offer you a safe surface for cutting, and they also won’t damage the edges of your knives, meaning you won’t have to sharpen them as often. Other benefits include durability and sturdiness.
Generally, this kind falls into two categories: hardwood and softwood. From the hardwood there is beech. Beech is a closed-grain type that offers a highly resistant surface ideal for food prep even with super sharp knives. It wards off bacteria and moisture perfectly, however it does require regular conditioning. Next are the teak boards. Teak is the runner-up after beech, and it also offers sturdiness and a scratch-free surface.
Although, teak is known to have larger pores which makes it risky when it comes to bacteria infestation. A walnut kind of wood chopping board also makes an excellent choice, thanks to its’ durability and attractiveness. Note that it can be quite pricey, and it does require regular maintenance. The best and most commonly used type I left for last is maple wood. It makes an outstanding cutting board material because it’s impact-resistant, it has super small pores that will keep food safe. On top of this, it’s also very affordable.
Softwood kinds can be used for manufacturing chopping boards too, however they’re not recommended. Even though the surface of the board will be sustainable, it does come with larger grains, making it more likely to crack and split. It’s also a very absorbent material, so bacteria are more likely to thrive here. As for the maintenance, these boards are certainly not dishwasher-friendly. Simple hand washing with dish soap and water will do best. Conditioning with specific oils and beeswax is also a must.
Bamboo-Made Cutting Boards
Bamboo is the ultimate go-to material when it comes to almost any type of kitchen utensil. It is a type of grass which happens to be a bit more sustainable than wood and it’s also eco-friendly, given that a fast-growing plant gets harvested for the manufacturing process instead of fully grown trees.
Bamboo is also less absorbent, and it has a tight grain. It provides lightweight boards which will last you a very long time if you take care of them correctly. Another advantage is that they’re an excellent budget-friendly option.
However, because bamboo is harder than most wood, it will surely dull the edges of your knives much faster unlike the quality wooden chopping boards. Not just that, bamboo-made boards will also need to be replaced often, because overtime their bacteria resistance will slowly wear down.
For cleaning these boards, you will be needing nothing else but dish soap, vinegar, and hot water. The maintenance process is similar to the one for wood. It includes conditioning with certain oils or beeswax.
Silicone and Plastic Boards
Silicone is also a common material used for producing cutting boards. They’re affordable and quite long-lasting. A fun thing about them is that they also come in various colours too.
Other advantages include lowered risk of food cross-contamination, flexibility, thickness, and convenience when it comes to storing. These boards are typically used for cutting meats. The maintenance isn’t that challenging either. In fact, they should only be ran under hot water and placed in the dishwasher for a thorough washing-up.
Plastic boards are also super easy to maintain and they’re very cheap. You can get them in many different shapes, colours, and sizes. Besides being dishwasher-friendly, they can also be easily disinfected with other types of mild chemicals.
Now, note that these boards should be regularly replaced, mostly because they’re not scratch resistant. Deep and numerous scratches don’t just ruin the look of the board, they’re also a perfect breeding area for bacteria. This means that they’re not as durable as most silicone or wood chopping boards.
Tips on Using Chopping Boards the Proper Way
When you’re finally ready to make your decision, keep in mind that there are still other things that you should know before you get in on chopping:
- Preventing Cross-Contamination – This is why it’s advisable that you use more than two cutting boards. You should have one specifically for meats, other for fruits and veggies, a third for fish etc.
- Less Mess – If you want to make your chopping process less messy, do this. Opt for a wood chopping boards that have juice grooves, which are trenches that go close around the edges and serve for collecting excess liquids coming from the crops. Handles should also be avoided. Even though they might make storing your board easier, they will make it smaller and excess food will likely fall into the open space between them.
- Security – Be sure to fix your board before using it. You can place a damp towel right underneath it, or you can get ones with non-skid feet. Not only will this prevent you from making a mess, but it will also prevent an unwanted injury.
- Convenience – Choosing an according size for cutting certain foods is important. Also, if you’re a taller person, go for a thicker board, which will not require you to bend over as much. For shorter people, a thinner option will do good. This will also prevent you from pressing too hard and ruining the surface.
Whether you’re just a beginner or you consider yourself a master cook, it’s undeniable that your skills are useless without the needed kitchen utensils. So, get your apron, your cutting board along with the other essentials today, and get to cooking!