What number of hours a day do you spend over a chopping board? Even when it’s solely, say, 15 minutes, that point actually provides up over the weeks. You should spend it cozied as much as a chopping board you be ok with—one which’s enticing, responds effectively as you chop, and is sized to match the duty at hand.
For such a easy merchandise, there are plenty of elements to think about when deciding on a chopping board. A chopping board appears comparatively benign, however improper use could make it one of the bacteria-laden gadgets in a kitchen.
Right here’s how to decide on a chopping board that is smart in your finances and life-style, and the right way to preserve it secure and sanitary.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A CUTTING BOARD
To start with, loosen up. You might have heard every kind of claims about sure kinds of chopping boards being unsafe. Know that any chopping board materials is secure so long as you adhere to the advisable meals dealing with and sanitation practices (which we’ll get to, don’t fear).
Listed below are the elements to weigh when deciding on a board.
- Is it knife-friendly? The tougher the floor, the extra it dulls your knife over time.
- Is it simple to wash? Can you place it within the dishwasher, if that’s necessary to you?
- Is it simple to keep up? Does it want periodic conditioning with board oil?
- What does it value? How a lot will this set you again?
- How sturdy is it? How typically will you’ll want to substitute it?
- How massive is it? What area do you’ve got?
EDGE GRAIN VS END GRAIN WOOD CUTTING BOARDS
Picket chopping boards are available each edge grain and finish grain types, every with its personal professionals and cons.
Edge grain wooden chopping boards are produced from wooden that has been reduce with the grain. Which means the highest of the board reveals lengthy wooden fibers. Edge grain boards are the most typical sort of wooden chopping board, as a result of they’re normally probably the most inexpensive.
Edge grain boards usually tend to maintain scarring from the knife’s blade, as a result of the lengthy wooden board fibers don’t present a lot give below the knife’s blade. (Suppose: You’re chopping in opposition to the tree fibers on an edge grain board.) That is additionally why edge grain boards are thought of to be a bit more durable on knives than finish grain boards.
Finish grain wooden chopping boards are made by fusing cross-section items of wooden collectively. Which means the highest of the board reveals the rings of the wooden as an alternative of the facet view (the size) of the wooden. Finish grain boards are sometimes just a few inches thick, and since they’re tougher to assemble, they are going to virtually all the time value greater than an edge grain board.
The wooden fibers of finish grain boards recuperate from use higher than edge grain boards, resulting in fewer grooves within the board. In that sense, an finish grain chopping board is extra resilient. It’s additionally gentler on knives, as a result of the wooden fibers have extra give.
Nonetheless, as a result of many wooden items are glued collectively to make one, an finish grain board is probably extra prone to moisture if not correctly cared for. That’s as a result of wooden that’s reduce in opposition to the grain absorbs extra water than wooden reduce with the grain. (Absorbency is a disadvantage in a chopping board, since you need it to remain dry and freed from micro organism.)
If an finish grain board is repeatedly left moist, the seams can come aside over time and create tiny chasms to deal with micro organism. However bear in mind, routine conditioning with mineral oil or board cream helps forestall any chopping board—finish or edge grain—from absorbing moisture and growing cracks. It’s simply particularly necessary with an finish grain chopping board.
So what about that enterprise of edge grain boards being a bit “tougher” on knives?
That may be a giant deal should you chop so much, however should you don’t, don’t fear about it. The actual fact is any wood chopping board might be gentler in your knife than one other materials like glass, Corian, or metallic.
MAPLE, OAK, AND CHERRY CUTTING BOARDS
With excellent care, wood chopping boards are secure, mild on knives, and long-lasting. Wooden chopping boards even have a broad vary of costs, with easy ones costing round $20 and hefty handcrafted ones coming in at effectively over $200.
Dense hardwoods like maple, walnut, cherry, beech, and teak take advantage of sturdy chopping boards. The smaller pores of those woods block micro organism from penetrating the floor of the board and make it tougher for knives to create grooves the place micro organism can lurk. And wooden naturally incorporates antimicrobial compounds, like tannins.
- CARING FOR WOOD CUTTING BOARDS: Don’t ever run a wooden chopping board by way of the dishwasher. You’ll smash it. Excessive warmth and harsh detergents will cut up and warp a wooden chopping board. As a substitute, right here’s How one can Clear and Look after Picket Slicing Boards.
BAMBOO CUTTING BOARDS
Bamboo chopping boards, like this one from Greener Chef, are cheap and are available from bamboo—a grass—which is extra sustainable than wooden. A bamboo board is fairly light-weight however will final a very long time if you take care of it. You will get first rate bamboo chopping boards for $10 or much less, all the way in which as much as $150 for burly ones.
Identical to wooden, bamboo chopping boards are available finish grain and edge grain types. Finish grain is dearer. Bamboo is tougher than wooden, so bamboo boards will uninteresting your knife quicker than wood ones. Nonetheless, they could be a good finances selection in order for you the look of wooden with the bonus of sustainability.
- CARING FOR BAMBOO: Bamboo chopping board care is the identical as wooden: no dishwasher, and situation with board oil periodically.
PLASTIC CUTTING BOARDS: THEY’RE NOT ALWAYS SAFER!
Plastic chopping boards, like this one from OXO, are available many sizes and shade and types. You received’t be handing them down as household heirlooms, however they’re an inexpensive choice that received’t uninteresting knives, and when taken care of, they received’t warp or crack. Anticipate to pay below $10 for one thing fundamental and as much as $100 for a high-end business mannequin.
No plastic chopping board will final so long as a wooden or bamboo board. Picket boards self-heal, which suggests their fibers bounce again considerably from a knife’s edge.
On plastic chopping boards, each reduce on the floor stays there perpetually. Extra grooves on a chopping board = extra locations for micro organism to cover. Due to this fact, plastic chopping boards are not as secure from harboring micro organism as we’ve been led to consider, and in reality, wooden boards could have higher antimicrobial properties in any case!
Not all plastics are created equal. For instance, excessive density polyethylene (HDPE) is extra resilient than customary polyethylene (PE). When looking for a chopping board, if it mentions the kind of plastic it’s produced from, it’s in all probability extra sturdy than a run-of-the-mill generic board.
- WHEN TO REPLACE PLASTIC BOARDS: If you see a number of scarring out of your knife on that plastic chopping board, it’s time to get a brand new one. The extra nooks and crannies, the tougher it’s to wash and sanitize. How typically you’ll want to substitute a plastic chopping board will rely on how typically you utilize it, however on the whole, if the floor feels tough and shaggy, it’s time for a brand new one.
- CARING FOR PLASTIC: You’ll hear opposing suggestions on placing plastic chopping boards within the dishwasher. The USDA says it’s okay, however the warmth from the dishwasher can soften some plastics in order that they seal over bacteria-containing grooves in your board, creating micro organism pockets. Yuck! We advise you to defer to the producer’s suggestions for cleansing.
COMPOSITE CUTTING BOARDS (aka EPICUREAN)
Composite chopping boards provide the better of many worlds.
We’re longtime followers of Epicurean chopping boards, fabricated from Richlite, a paper composite. They’re not fairly as mild in your knives as wooden, however they’re dishwasher-safe, almost unimaginable to stain, don’t require oiling, and are available many sizes and types.
Should you love wood chopping boards however need one thing that’s simpler to take care of and simply as sturdy, attempt one among these. They begin round $20 and go as much as $60.
CUTTING BOARD MATERIALS TO AVOID
We don’t suggest glass, marble, granite, or Corian chopping boards. These surfaces are very laborious and can make your knife change into uninteresting shortly.
OTHER TIPS TO HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUTTING BOARD FOR YOU
- USE MULTIPLE CUTTING BOARDS: Designate completely different chopping boards for sure meals if you’re involved about cross-contamination. You should purchase units of color-coded plastic chopping boards (inexperienced for veggies and fruits, blue for fish, yellow for poultry, pink for meat) to make it simple to inform them aside.
- DIFFERENT SIZES FOR DIFFERENT JOBS: Should you cook dinner so much, have completely different sized chopping boards helpful: a small one for fast jobs like slicing cheese or fruit, and a big one for chopping into greater issues like winter squash or breaking down a complete hen. Usually, the more room you must work on, the quicker your prep will go.
- NONSKID FEET: Nonskid ft on the underside of a chopping board will preserve it from sliding. (Or attempt laying a humid paper towel below the chopping board.)
- IF YOU ARE TALL: Should you’re tall, purchase a chopping board that’s thick. This raises your work floor so that you don’t need to bend over as a lot. It’s all about ergonomics and might make a giant distinction in your consolation on days while you prep so much! (You too can stack just a few thinner chopping boards, which is what I used to do in my restaurant prep cook dinner days.)
- IF YOU ARE SHORT: Conversely, should you’re quick, by a chopping board that’s not too thick.
- NO DRIPPING! Uninterested in liquid dripping onto the counter? Search for a board with a juice groove. That is the ditch contained in the perimeter of the board that collects liquid while you reduce very juicy fruits or greens, like tomatoes or watermelon, or carve scorching cooked meat. A juice groove that’s shallow or narrower received’t maintain a lot and is especially beauty.
- AVOID HANDLES: Slicing boards with handles reduce into them generally is a slight nuisance. Sure, they’re be helpful for fast grabbing or hanging for storage, however as you chop, bits of meals can fall into the open area, making a small mess. Since you may’t use that space as a chopping floor, a deal with primarily makes your chopping board smaller.
- GET FLEXIBLE: Versatile plastic chopping boards are flimsy and received’t final very lengthy, however their flimsiness is an asset: You may curve them to make a funnel to dump meals immediately right into a bowl or pan.
FOOD SAFETY TIPS FOR CUTTING BOARDS
- Observe correct chopping order: If you prep, reduce uncooked fruit and greens first, after which reduce uncooked meat, poultry, and fish second. This helps you keep away from cross-contamination. Slicing ready-to-eat meals on a chopping board that lately had uncooked meat, poultry, or fish on it will possibly simply unfold micro organism that trigger food-borne sicknesses.
- Clear your board proper after chopping any meals. It’s an excellent observe to completely clear your board proper after chopping any meals. It’s safer, makes cleanup simpler, and retains flavors from penetrating the board (providing you with the dreaded garlic-infused apple chunks). You may clear any chopping board by washing it with scorching, soapy water after every use. Rinse effectively and air dry, or dry completely with clear towels.
- Sanitize sometimes: To sanitize chopping boards, the USDA recommends an answer of 1 tablespoon of regular-strength liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water (this answer might be efficient for two weeks, and now not). Wipe the chopping board liberally with the answer and permit it to face for a number of minutes. Rinse effectively with water and air dry, or pat dry with a clear towel. Take a look at this put up on the right way to clear and take care of wooden chopping boards, particularly.