If you’ve never asked, “Which cutting board is right for my kitchen?” you may have never considered the significance of the material or size of work surface used to slice and dice all your foods so nice -ly.
Determine Your Material
Wood and plastic are ideal for frequent knifing. Choose which material to use based on what matters more to you. Want something aesthetically pleasing? Wood probably comes to mind first! Prefer easy cleanup? Plastic boards can handle the dishwasher.
Note, scrubbing either wood or plastic with hot, soapy water will kill bacteria effectively, but it might be trickier to clean a large and heavy wood board. Plastic might be for you if you need something lighter.
Other material types like bamboo, marble and glass are available, but they have their place – and their drawbacks.
Bamboo is a sustainable resource, potentially making this a nice choice for the environmentally-conscious cook. Marble is great for tempering chocolate or rolling out pastry dough. And glass is good for serving ready-to-eat food.
Bamboo, marble and glass dull blades more quickly, so if you’re cutting on one of these materials, be prepared to sharpen your knives more frequently.
Regardless of the material you’re cutting upon though, it can’t hurt to hone your knife with honing steel before every use – and to sharpen your knives at least every other week!
Choose a Decent Size
The ideal size for a cutting board that’s used to cut, slice, chop and dice a meal’s worth of food is 15 inches.
Boards smaller than that are best for cutting up a single piece of fruit.
Longer, narrower boards are made for slicing and serving fresh bread.
Warping & Care
Warping can happen with both wood and plastic boards. Leaving a wood board wet can lead to bowing and cracking. Thinner plastic boards can bend after so many cycles in the dishwasher.
Prevent warping of wood boards by wiping them with mineral oil twice or so a year. Mineral oil will resist moisture. It also prevents bacteria growth and keeps the board looking good.
If you’re currently using a thin plastic board, avoid putting it in the dishwasher. If you need the convenience of putting your board in the dishwasher, invest in a thicker plastic board.
Why Does Warping Matter?
Warped boards bounce around while you attempt to chop. This leads to annoyance – or worse, bloody accidents. That makes cooking unenjoyable. Unenjoyable cooking leads to more takeout or frozen dinners.
Different Boards for Different Foods
If you have the space, you may even invest in a few additional boards to be used for prepping different foods: i.e. a board for chopping vegetables, a board for preparing raw meat, and a board for carving cooked meats.