Cooking is an art and its tools are like colors and paint brushes. Whether you’re a professional chef in a five-star hotel or a housewife, you need the right ingredients and tools to prepare flavorful dishes. From knives to frying pans, setting up a functional kitchen requires proper knowledge. Thus, one such important element of a kitchen is having the right type of cutting board. This is because the use of a right cutting and chopping surface is imperative to protect knives and keep counters clean.
Knives and cutting boards are among the most used items in the kitchen. They both are equally important and in fact, are as essential as salt and pepper. Cutting directly on your counters is similar to running your knives through a grinder. Moreover, not only knives need to be protected, but countertops also need to be shielded from scratches of sharp knives and stains of the food.
Cutting boards come in myriad surfaces, from wood to bamboo, and plastic to glass. However, not all cutting boards are created equal and not every surface treats knives the same. With so many choices out there at so many price ranges, if you’re wondering about how to choose a cutting board that is the best fit for you and your cooking style, read further.
Mostly used in restaurants, plastic cutting boards are most debatable material. One of the biggest reasons for their popularity is their non-porous property which makes them dishwasher-safe. Used as an alternative to wood, plastic cutting boards are lightweight and the color coding system helps in avoiding cross-contamination. Unlike wood, you can use different colors like red for raw meats, green for veggies, and white for dairy. However, according to some researchers, plastic surfaces get more infected with bacteria. Though it is possible to disinfect a new plastic board, a knife-scarred plastic surface is impossible to clean and disinfect manually.
Bamboo is a popular choice of material for wooden boards. It’s actually known for its antibacterial qualities and environmental benefits. Since technically it’s a grass and not a tree, it’s a more renewable resource. The pros of this material include moisture-resistance and sturdiness. This means bamboo boards absorb less liquid and don’t scar or crack easily. However, it also has a drawback for your knives. The hard surface of bamboo may not be ideal for your knife’s edge.
Wood has remained a top choice due to its numerous benefits. Wood cutting boards are kind to knives and will keep them sharper for a long period of time. Moreover, hardwood is heavy in weight which keeps the board in place, making it safe for chopping.
Traditional wood cutting boards can be made of different types of wood, including oak, beech, maple, chestnut, cherry, and black walnut. The maple or beech cutting board is popular for its self-healing feature which means it won’t scar as easily as a plastic board.
Wood cutting boards not only look beautiful but are also available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Since you have numerous options, it is best to go for a hardwood cutting board as it will last longer, and inhibits bacterial growth. You also need to choose between end-grain and edge-grain boards. Edge-grain boards are most widely used boards in hardwoods due to their low cost, ability to minimize bacterial infection, and restraining water retention over time. While end-grain boards scores high on self-healing feature. Though these are more costly, their durability makes them a good choice.
Cutting boards also come in some other materials as well, such as glass, ceramic, granite, and marble. Composite cutting boards are made of resins and a combination of wood fibers. The beautiful appearance of these cutting boards may tempt you to get one, but this might be a mistake. Most of the cooking exerts have condemned glass chopping boards as the worst board in terms of knife blade care. Nowadays, Epicurean cutting boards are getting popular for their wood finish and dishwasher-friendly material.