It will help you choose your cutting boards if you can first prepare answers to questions like these…
1. How much kitchen counter space do you have?
If you want a large cutting board (for example, 19 by 13 inches (48 by 33 cm)), you must have a place to put it on the countertop. You may also want to leave the board there after use. Do you have enough free space?
2. How often, and for what purpose, will you use the cutting board?
If you are going to use it mainly for small cutting tasks or to serve small amounts of food, there is no point in having a large cutting board. However, if you are going to cut or slice food such as raw meat, poultry, fish, etc., a larger board will be more comfortable for you because you will feel more comfortable. In addition, a large board is good when serving a larger amount of food, for example a combination of different ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, roasted meat, bread, etc.
3. Will you be able to wash the cutting board easily in the sink?
To wash the board properly and easily, you need to be able to put it in the sink to a certain extent.
Features of kitchen cutting boards
Cutting boards can be rectangular, square, round, oval, and with edges of a pleasant shape for a better look when serving with them on the table.
Some boards have a rough underside, or legs on the underside. So the board will not slip while you use it. The downside here is that you can’t use both sides of the board.
Some boards are especially suitable for cutting raw meat (in addition to all the other ingredients, of course). They have grooves on one or both surfaces, the purpose of which is to catch the juices of the food you cut. In addition to the juice that does not stain the countertop or the table, you can use them for the sauce of the meal you are preparing.
Other boards are mainly suitable for cutting bread, as they are generally slatted boards on a removable tray. When you cut the bread, the crumbs fall between the slats of the board on this tray, without being scattered on the countertop, the table or the floor. Some boards also have guides for cutting slices of the same size.
But more boards are designed stand on the sink. They are ideal in case your kitchen is small and you don’t have enough counter space. Some of these boards have a small colander on one of the ends to wash/rinse the food you cut, or a bin for cut ingredients.
Some of the kitchen cutting boards come in a package of several boards with different sizes; enough to meet most of your logging or servicing needs.
Types of kitchen cutting boards
Boards can be divided into two basic types…
- wooden cutting boards
- plastic cutting boards
Wood cutting boards
Wooden boards are made from hardwoods, such as maple and oak, and also from bamboo (which is actually a grass). Depending on the way they are manufactured, the wooden boards can be…
1. End grain boards: here, each piece of board is arranged so that the grain of the wood runs vertically. These cutting boards are of very high quality and look like chess boards. They are harder and more durable than other wooden boards and are more resistant to knife cuts.
2. Flat grain boards: most wooden cutting boards are flat grained, perhaps because it is easier to make them. Here, the grain of each piece runs horizontally.
Characteristic features of wooden cutting boards…
- wooden boards are visually attractive: this is the classic type of cutting board. Even old, with many knife scars on them, these boards look unique. You can bring an accent in the kitchen by leaving a good wooden board on the countertop.
- wooden boards do not cut the knife blade as quickly as other cutting boards such as those of glass or marble, which are harder.
- wooden boards are strong and durable if you maintain them properly.
- to some extent, the knife scars on the wooden boards will disappear with time.
- hardwood cutting boards are heavy (while bamboo boards are light). This is why some boards have handles. The handles can be carved into the board, protrude from it, and can have a rough surface to prevent slipping when your hands are wet. A heavy board is, however, an advantage when you want to knead bread dough manually or do some other more difficult work.
- wooden boards cannot normally be used in a dishwasher, although some are specially made for this use.
- wooden boards require maintenance if they are to remain in good condition.
- wooden boards are porous, which makes them susceptible to bacteria and odors.
Plastic cutting boards
Characteristic features of plastic cutting boards…
- plastic cutting boards do not stain easily due to their non-porous surface. Food juices will not penetrate into them, which reduces the possibility of bacteria. Some synthetic boards even have an anti-bacterial coating.
- plastic boards are lighter than wooden boards, which makes it easier to work with them.
- you can usually wash them in a dishwasher, which is fine as far as the hygiene of your board is concerned. However, the thinner and more flexible synthetic boards may not be strong enough to be used in a dishwasher.
- plastic boards are available in a greater range of colors and shapes, which offers the opportunity to give your kitchen a more modern look.
- plastic boards are cheaper than wooden boards.
- being thinner than wooden boards, plastic cutting boards are more flexible, which can be useful. For example, you can chop onions and then bend the board to put the onion straight in the pan without it spreading.
- plastic boards do not possess the charm of wooden boards.
How to care for your kitchen cutting boards
1. Keep your boards clean, whether they are wood or plastic. Wash them with warm soap and water after each use. This is especially important if you are just cutting raw meat, poultry or seafood and want to use the board for ready-to-eat foods such as vegetables, fruit, cheese, etc.
2. Depending on use, disinfect the boards periodically with chlorine bleach. Give the board a preliminary wash, then pour the bleach solution over it and leave it for several minutes. Then, rinse the board with warm water and let it dry.
3. Keep your boards dry when not in use, because any bacteria that finds its way onto the board will not survive for more than a few hours without moisture.
4. Do not allow wooden boards to soak in water. They may widen or become soft, or the joints between their component parts may weaken.
5. Oil the wooden boards to prevent them from drying out too much and cracking over time. Apply a layer of food grade mineral oil to the surface of the board at regular intervals. Wait several hours for the oil to soak into the board. Re-oil if necessary and finally, wipe off any excess oil. Then wash the board and let it dry.
6. Use the entire surface area of the boards when cutting, to ensure uniform wear. Rotate boards that have two cutting surfaces, to coat each surface evenly.
7. Do not cut on the boards in a crude way, with a large knife like a cleaver, because you can damage the surface of the board.
8. Replace the boards when you see deep grooves or cracks in them. It is more difficult to clean these boards, and bacteria can lodge in the cracks.
It is a good idea to have several cutting boards to avoid possible cross contamination. Use one board for raw meat, poultry and fish and another for cooked or ready-to-eat foods such as roast meat, sausages, vegetables, fruit, bread, etc.
Or use plastic cutting boards, with different color for different types of food. For example…
- red board for raw meat
- a yellow one for poultry
- one green for grass
Or use several wooden boards, with different sizes for different types of food. Or just one wooden board, using one side for one type of food and the other side for other types of food. Click here for the best deals on cutting boards