As promised – here is my post about CUTTING BOARDS!
Before I began trying to move away from using plastics in the kitchen I solely used plastic cutting boards. I am ashamed to admit it, but I let them get old and badly scratched before replacing them and I would even put hot food directly on them ?
Now that I know better, I am doing better. I have swapped my plastic boards for a big wooden butcher block and I couldn’t be happier with the change. It’s a definite upgrade. I still held on to a few of my newer plastic boards and I use them exclusively for raw meat to eliminate worries of cross contamination. I wash them well and replace them often.
WHY WOOD IS BETTER THAN PLASTIC:
It would be important for me to note why plastic cutting boards are not a good option. For one thing, studies have shown that wood cutting boards contained less salmonella bacteria than plastic, so that’s a plus ?
An article in the Huffington Post noted that “In studies on wood cutting boards, the bacteria sank down beneath the surface of the cutting board, where they didn’t multiply and eventually died off. On plastic boards, however, bacteria got caught in knife grooves that were near impossible to clean out, whether the board was washed by hand or dishwasher.” That said, there have been studies that proved that wood was just as likely to be contaminated as plastic if both were equally as deeply scratched. “Ultimately, cutting boards are vulnerable to contamination regardless of the material—and either a wooden or plastic one is okay as long as you keep it very clean and in good condition.” The article I quoted this information from is really worth a read.
Beyond the food contamination issue obviously is the concern of plastics toxicity. It seems many plastic cutting boards are treated with triclosan, which is on Beautycounter’s Never List and is something I stay away from. I knew it was found in soaps and sanitizers, but I never knew it was on many cutting boards ?
For more information on the safety concerns of plastic cutting boards check out this post on the subject. This blog is fantastic and I’m signing up to follow this guy – great find!
HOW TO CHOOSE A BOARD:
I honestly cannot believe how much money wood cutting boards can go for! I cannot and will not pay upwards of $700 for a cutting board. In fact, I don’t want to spend more than $80! I wanted to know why wooden boards could vary so greatly in price, but after researching way too much about the types of woods you can pick I was thoroughly bored and still not sure which to choose. I did learn that “hardwoods, like maple, are fine-grained, and the capillary action of those grains pulls down fluid, trapping the bacteria – which are killed off as the board dries after cleaning, whereas soft woods, like cypress, are less likely to dull the edge of your knife, but also pose a greater food safety risk. That’s because they have larger grains, which allows the wood to split apart more easily, forming grooves where bacteria can thrive.” For more about that check out this article.
Still interested in the different types of wood grain and blocks on the market? Here is a link that describes many of your options in mind numbing detail lol.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BOARD:
The reason I began researching cutting boards while already using a butchers block is because mine has deep cracks in it (they were there when we got it as a gift – clearly from the clearance aisle LOL). Cracks are bad because they harbor bacteria. Until I replace mine I will be doing my part in keeping it as clean as possible. Here’s how to keep them pristine:
You should not put wooden boards in the dishwasher or soak it in water as it will ruin the wood. This is because water permeating the wood is what causes the wood fibers to swell and then warp your board. It is also why it’s of the utmost importance to always thoroughly dry the board with a clean, dry towel after washing. To clean it you should wash it after each use with warm water and a little soap. To disinfect you can then wipe it down with vinegar. If you cut raw meat go one more step and give it a wipe with hydrogen peroxide. Then to deodorize use baking soda or lemon. Salt will brighten as will using an oil to condition. The only oils you’ll want to use are mineral or coconut. I prefer coconut as it’s healthier and doesn’t contain petroleum like mineral oil does.
The how-to information for the above listed cleaning methods can be found at the following site.
*Note- this article lists bleach as a method to purify a cutting board, but I would obviously never recommend putting a harsh, toxic chemical on there!
Additionally, microwaving your wooden cutting boards at for 10 minutes will sanitize and be more effective than applying any bleach solution.
I almost decided to go with a bamboo board. Bamboo is technically a grass that is less porous than hardwoods which allows it to resist knife scratches and better yet- it is an environmentally sustainable resource. It seemed like a great option until I read more from my new favorite blogger whose page I linked you to above in the WHY WOOD IS BETTER THAN PLASTIC section. He found a very reasonably priced board that doesn’t even use mineral oil, which as I mentioned contains petroleum, or toxic glues and is totally safe! I am going with his find, the Urthware brand, you can find them at at the link below.
I hope this helps. Does anyone have a board they are in love with? I’m open to other suggestions as I didn’t actually purchase my new board yet. Thanks!