The importance of a cutting board goes without saying. Cut something on your kitchen bench and you risk marking a surface that is much more expensive to replace than a cutting board! Cut on a plate and you’ll scratch the plate’s surface… and what other alternatives do you have?
When choosing a cutting surface or board, base your decision on the following:
- ease of cleaning
- stability and ease of use
- environmental impact
As knives groove into the board over time it is easy for bacteria to harbour deep within the material even after you’ve washed the board thoroughly. Grooves typically occur in plastic and soft wooden cutting boards. More sanitary boards would be hard wood, glass, marble, and steel boards which resist the scoring of a knife.
Ease of Cleaning:
It is easy to lift a plastic, wooden, and glass cutting board into a sink to wash. Although with a quality marble or steel board, all you might need to do is simply wipe over with a cleaning cloth. Be aware that if you use toxic cleaning chemicals most wooden boards may absorb the chemical and contaminate food placed on the board later. Also remember to allow boards to thoroughly dry before storing them as wet boards can encourage the growth of mould.
Stability and Ease of Use:
Light plastic boards can slide around as you are cutting, making them unsafe and messy. Heavier boards like wood, glass, steel and marble are more stable – but in some cases heavy marble or steel boards can be difficult to lift over a pot or bowl. Also bear in mind, glass, marble and steel cutting boards will eventually blunten your knife blades.
Of course, plastic is an environmental no-no. Wood is a renewable resource. Marble is mined from the earth. And glass and steel consume large amounts of energy for manufacture.
Plastic boards look good when they first come out of the package… and then go downhill from there. Hard wood, glass, marble and steel – if cared for – will all retain their looks for some time. A wooden or glass board fits well in a traditional kitchen. And plastic, wooden, glass, marble and steel can all match a more modern styled kitchen.