Cutting Boards are often made of wood or plastic. Wondering about the best kind of cutting board to use?
Buy the best board you can afford, take care of it, and it is likely that your grandchildren will be using it. Even as they age, or especially as they age, good wooden cutting boards become more and more attractive.
Hardwoods with tightly grained wood and small pores are best for wooden cutting boards. Good hardness and tight grain helps reduce scoring of the cutting surface and absorption of liquid and dirt into the surface.
While plastic is theoretically a more sanitary material than wood for cutting boards, testing has shown this may not be the case. The softer surface of plastic boards is scored by knives, and the resulting grooves and cuts in the surface harbour bacteria even after being well washed. However, unlike wood, plastic boards do allow rinsing with harsher cleaning chemicals such as bleach and other disinfectants without damage to the board or retention of the chemicals to later contaminate food.
Regardless of the material, regular maintenance of a cutting board is important. Caution must be taken when using any type of cutting board.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Whichever kind of cutting board you use, all cutting boards should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Some of the various techniques recommended for cutting boards are as follows (you decide which is best):
Hot water and soap - Scrub board with hot water and soap. Rinse and dry thoroughly. NOTE: NEVER submerge cutting boards in a sink of water! Wood is porous and will soak up water causing the cutting board to crack when it dries.
Vinegar - To disinfect and clean your wood cutting boards or butcher block countertop, wipe them with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is a good disinfectant, effective against such harmful bugs as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Vinegar is especially good for people with chemical allergies. Keep a spray bottle of undiluted vinegar handy for easy cleaning and sanitizing.
Hydrogen Peroxide - 3% hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a bacteria-killer. To kill the germs on your cutting board, use a paper towel to wipe the board down with vinegar, then use another paper towel to wipe it with hydrogen peroxide.
Bleach - Sanitize both wood and plastic cutting boards with a diluted chlorine bleach or vinegar solution consisting of one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach in one quart of water or a one to five dilution of vinegar. Flood the surface with a sanitizing solution and allow it to stand for several minutes, then rinse and air dry or pat dry with paper towels.
All cutting boards, and other food surfaces, should be kept dry when not in use. Resident bacteria survive no more than a few hours without moisture.