Trying to decide which sort of cutting board you should purchase for you kitchen? Here are some of the benefits and negatives associated with plastic cutting boards, wooden cutting boards, and tempered glass boards:
Plastic Cutting Boards
One of the benefits of plastic cutting boards is their nonporous surface. In other words, you do not have to worry about the juice from your meats and vegetables creeping into your cutting board and staying there. They are thought to be the most sanitary, especially since they are dishwasher safe. When you are done chopping away, you need only to set your board in your dishwasher, and you are set – it will come out clean and as good as new.
And while you may not consider any plastic cutting board to be “beautiful” – there are some stylish ones out there. You can find plastic cutting boards in a multitude of colors, so you can match it to your kitchen décor. Besides, plastic cutting boards are generally the least expensive – you can therefore get more for less money. It is a good idea to have multiple cutting boards in your kitchen. Come people even prefer using only certain boards for meat, and others for vegetables.
Another great thing about plastic cutting boards is that there are some thin, mat boards. These boards are flexible and are therefore great for transferring food. Also, because they are so thin and lightweight, they are great for taking on camping trips and picnics. Of course, sharp knives can and probably will eventually cut through a thin plastic cutting board.
Wooden Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards have been around for ages. Chefs have been putting their meats and vegetables up on wood chopping blocks and wooden countertops for many centuries, and there have not been too many contamination problems to speak of. Of course, in general, the major concern with wooden cutting boards is a question of sanitation. They are very porous – in other words, those meat and vegetable juices that were repelled by plastic cutting boards can, indeed, soak into a wooden one. Germs can get trapped in the cuts made by knives.
Properly cleaning your wood cutting board, though, will obviously help with the problem of sanitation. Most wooden cutting boards cannot, unfortunately be put through the dishwasher – check the care instructions before you place it through the dishwasher. If you have any doubts, it is best to handwash it if you want it to last a long time. Use hot water and soap to wash it. After you rinse it well, just set it out to dry. As mentioned before, most wooden cutting boards are rather porous, therefore, it might take a while for them to dry (they will soak up some of that water). Make sure that you allow yours to dry thoroughly before you put it away.
For an extra cleaning, use vinegar or a bleach and water solution. It is very possible and quite easy to keep your wooden cutting board bacteria and germ free. Be especially thorough when washing your board after cutting meat – you do not want to have e. coli or salmonella transferred to your board and remaining there. Of course, some people say that bacteria does not generally like wood and that wood has natural germ-killing substances. Nonetheless, it can never hurt to thoroughly clean your board. These properties of wood may be true for some woods, but perhaps not all. Bamboo, for instance, is known for its resistance to bacteria.
Many consider wood cutting boards to be more forgiving than others, and they work well with sharp knives – they will not dull your knives as quickly (this is why most knife storing blocks are made of wood).
Of course, another important aspect of wooden cutting boards is their charm. You can store your wood cutting board away in the cupboard, for sure, but you could also leave it out. You can display it, on the wall or on the countertop. A wood cutting board adds a sort of rustic charm that other cutting boards just cannot meet. There are some very beautiful hand-crafted wooden cutting boards out there.
Tempered Glass Cutting Boards
These boards can be very beautiful. You can find tempered glass boards that have wonderful designs and pictures. You can even find ones that match you décor perfectly. Of course, there are other benefits besides “looks” associated with glass cutting boards.
They are very resistant to heat (it can double as a ‘hot pad’). Also, they are very easy to clean – you can just stick them in the dishwasher. However, tempered glass cutting boards are not perfect. For one thing, the sound of a knife on one of these boards can make you cringe. More importantly, glass cutting boards can dull knives quicker.
All in all, just try out a few different types of cutting boards and see which ones work best with your cooking routine. As far as the sanitation of cutting boards go – any cutting board can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs if not cleaned properly. Similarly, practically any cutting board can be very safe if you simply take the extra time to clean it. Choose your cutting board bases not solely on sanitation, but how easy it is to use, how easy it is to clean, and how well it matching both the décor of your kitchen and your cooking style.