Caring for your kitchen tools is essential to having quality meals and safe, sanitary conditions to cook in. In this article, the topics of choosing, using, cleaning, and caring for your cutting boards will be discussed. By the end, you should be well informed and confident in your choices.
What kind of cutting board?
Wooden cutting boards are heavy, which makes them much less likely to move around during use. Additionally, they can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. However, a wooden board should never be run through a dishwasher or scrubbed under hot water. Also, they take much longer to dry than plastic, and are usually larger, and so much less easily stored. Wooden boards do look much more appealing when left on the counter top, however.
Plastic boards tend to be light, which makes them easy to move around, however this is also detrimental when trying to cut on them. The surface tends to be much less textured than wood, and so food can also have a tendency to move around on the board. However, plastic cutting boards are less expensive than wood, and can be run through a dishwasher to clean and sanitize them. While plastic boards don’t require nearly as much maintenance, they almost always need to be replaced eventually, due to plastic’s nature of warping and brittleness over time.
Glass or or hard cutting boards should never, ever be used for anything other than decoration. Hard surfaces will dull your knives nearly instantly, and glass boards pose many dangers of shattering from constant heating and cooling, as well as pressure.
How to use a cutting board.
When using a wooden board, it’s important to be sure that the work surface is clean and dry to start. Part of the benefit of a wooden board is that it absorbs and simultaneously channels moisture and juices away from the work surface, making it much more stable than plastic. Place a slightly damp cloth under the board to add grip on the counter top which will held the board from moving about. The choice of which knife to use on the board is not particularly important, since wood is durable and flexible, even under the heavy chop of a cleaver.
Use of a plastic board is similar, however, depending on the thickness of the board, it can be difficult to use heavy knives on them. It is much more easy to break a plastic board. Additionally, when placing the cutting board on your damp cloth, it can still move due to the lightness of the material. It’s advised to keep the board pressed against a surface on at least one side to keep it stable. However, being able to easily rotate the board when working on large pieces of meat can be beneficial.
How to care for your cutting board.
Wooden cutting boards require a lot of care to last. Since most people buy wooden cutting boards for their durability and longevity, caring for the board is essential to enjoying it for as long as possible.
Treat new cutting boards with a durable, food-grade oil (such as mineral oil) slightly warmed. Coat all of the sides, then let the board sit for a few minutes and wipe up the excess oil. Treat one more time, wipe up the excess oil, and let the board sit in a dry place for about a day to cure. This will impregnate the pores of the wood to prevents moisture from seeping in too deeply and rotting or warping the wood.
When washing a wooden cutting board, use only lukewarm water at the hottest, lest you strip away all of that oil you put inside of it. Wooden boards should never be run in the dishwasher, and detergents should never be used on wood, since they tend to stay in the fibers of the wood and can flavor the foods cut on it. When drying your wooden cutting board, lay it flat on the counter top with a dry, clean rag underneath it to help it dry and maintain its shape.
Periodically, you may want to make the surface of your cutting board smooth again. This can be accomplished by sanding the wood with a fine-grit paper until smooth, and then retreating it with oil. Even if you don’t sand, retreating your board yearly with oil is recommended to keep it clean and sanitary.
When sanitizing a wooden cutting board, be sparing, and never let them sit on the wood. Wash chemicals immediately to avoid letting them soak in to the wood.
Caring for a plastic cutting board is significantly easier, since all one must really do is wash it and dry it.
Try them both.
The decision on which type of board to buy is boiled down to preference: do you want ease of maintenance, or longevity and stability? However, many people keep both types of boards handy for processing raw and cooked meats separately. Beyond that, plastic boards are easy to hand out when some one asks to help in the kitchen.
No matter your choice, it’s important that you find a way to enjoy your time in the kitchen, and your choice of kitchen tools should reflect that ambition. Learning to enjoy cooking is one of the few things in life which are both necessary and fun!