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cutting boards

NLM's picture

cutting boards (post #53695)

I'd like to know what kind of cutting boards you all use for various things. After reading several articles both for and against wood, I (briefly) switched to glass for raw meat. DH couldn't stand the noise, and neither of us liked what it did to our knives, so I'm back to wood for everything. Any opinions? TIA.

aussiechef's picture

We use wood for everything. Years ago I read in some respectable science journal whose name escapes me that it contained a natural antibiotic. I'm a safety nut too. Even sterilize my kitchen sponges in the microwave twice a day.....(ducks for cover...)

Sandra_'s picture

Ditto on the wood. In fact, the single most useful piece of kitchen equipment I own is a maple chopping block mounted on casters that my DH built about 15 years ago -- it's indestructible, the perfect height for me, and, because I can wheel it wherever it's needed, it functionally doubles the amount of working space in every kitchen we've had (it's on its fourth kitchen now, and will be a life-saver in the kitchen we're moving to next month. I've seen postage stamps that are larger!) Keeping it clean and sterile is a cinch with a bit of soap and water and a mild bleach solution. I wouldn't be without it.

Chiffonade_'s picture

I wish I still had the article published in the
i New York Times
about ten years ago. It seems they wanted to do a story about
i Cutting Boards: Poly vs. Wood.
The authors thought it would be a slam dunk, that all their tests would indicate the poly as the superior cutting board (from a germ standpoint). They were surprised to learn they couldn't even
i cultivate
salmonella on a wood board.

Wood is the best material for cutting boards...and if you are concerned about bacteria, you can wash them occasionally with a bleach solution. For a
i truly
fresh surface, you can lightly sand them.

I remember watching a Graham Kerr show (post-Alcoholic Galloping Gourmet days) and he was using some kind of glass board for cutting. Every time his knife hit the thing, I jumped...and eventually changed the channel making a mental note to NEVER buy a glass cutting board. As you pointed out, I don't think it did anything for his knives either.

Wood has the proper amount of "give" to get a good clean cut and not damage your knife. Stick with the classic.

dibble's picture

NLM, I used a hard maple butcher block for years . I butchered hogs, beef, chickens, rabbits, venison, and yes Carolina, small game including beaver. I used a brick to scour the surface and then washed with soap and water. I never poisoned anyone that I know of. Stick with wood, keep it clean and you should have no worries. PS, Do not use a wooden cutting board as a base to chop food, it will cause cleaning problems.

Smittyroo_'s picture

You know chiffonade the more I read your input, the more I think there's a guy in Durango who's mighty lucky, and I think he knows it. The "give", that almost indescribable "feel" that a good board gives you, that touch that comes from the downstroke of a good knife against the wood, is something that someone who uses a "glass" slab will never feel, let us pray for them.

Bonita_Schaly's picture

Just a couple of weeks ago I read an article (from what magazine I don't know) on the net. The study that they were reporting said that they had inconclusive evidence of the antibacterial properties of wooden cutting boards. They said that you should use the wooden cutting board for fruits and vegetables and unscratched plastic boards for raw meat.
Personally the only unscratched plastic cutting boards I've seen haven't been used yet.
I use my wooden cutting board as advised above and my plastic one for meat, after which I disinfect in a bleach solution for at least 10 minutes.
I don't like to wash my wooden cutting board, I just wipe it off quickly. I'm under the impression that getting the wood too wet can leach out the natural oil. Which is what is supposed to have the antibacterial properties.

Carolina's picture

That's okay, Dibble. You don't have to worry about me arguing with anybody who uses a
b brick
to clean their cutting board!

Carolina's picture

We have a 2 1/2" thick slab of hard rock maple set in our kitchen counter top. It's durable, reversible, sandable, cleanable and choppable (not sure the last word is a word, but let's be flexible here). I consider it to be pretty clean after first being wiped down with a mild bleach and water solution, and then being wiped off with plain water. We've been using the same cutting board for six years now, and we haven't died yet.
i really
sick, once or twice, but haven't died.

Just kidding. We've never had any problems.

Jean_'s picture

I use plastic for raw meat--it goes right in my dishwasher when I'm done. Wood is the only thing to use for veggies.

dibble's picture

Carolina, My BUTCHER BLOCK ia 36x48 inches and 18 inches thick. I takes a brick to work this thing. By the way I am just being silly. don't take me serious. Cooking and eating are a great adventure and has always been so. But one must create a pot full of joy to even better enjoy life.

NLM's picture

Thanks for all the input. I think I will stick to my wooden board. And Dibble,do you have a recipe for this pot full of joy? It sounds fantastic ;)

StevenHB_'s picture

I thought that there was some evidence that the wood cutting boards absorbed the pathogens from raw meat and that that was why plastic was prefferable. Though, if there are no germs on the exterior, isn't that enough to ensure that none will get on clean food placed on the board.

With respect to oils: I've got a heavy butcher-block cutting board. Periodically, I oil it with mineral oil (I've been advised, strongly, not to use vegetable oil b/c it would spoil). It absorbs the oil overnight and I wipe it with a paper towel.

Walt's picture

Well, I guess its my turn to say shoot me...
I put my wood block away... takes up too much space in a small kitchen... it gets wet and hard
to use multi times especially after chicken or
something. I have two poly ones now... one for
veg and one for meat... snap to clean and dry...
I agree... the sound and feel doesn't compare but
great to store and get out of the way when you
don't need them.

Gretchen_'s picture

My cutting board is the 24 inches between my sink and stove.
It has been in place for 25 years now with a good sanding last
year for a kitchen make-over. I keep it washed, occasionally
bleached and scrubbed with a plastic pot scrubber and more
occasionally oiled with mineral oil. Has worked for me admirably!

noChefAtAll's picture

is there any need to oil wooden boards after soap and water?

the heavier butcher block types i've had were always splitting.

i've been just buying cheaper (thin) ones and throwing them away when they split

MEAN_CHEF's picture


sanderson_'s picture

At work I bit onto the "color coded" cutting board deal. I suppose it makes sense if you have lots of people cutting lots of stuff and cross contamination is an issue. We have all of our cutting boards of a size that will fit into the high temp dishwasher and they go there often...even the wood ones, and they haven't split yet. At home I have wooden boards for presentation but the work boards are plastic and go into the dishwasher regularly. They get shaved with a metal scraper when it seems they've become fuzzy enough to be trapping particles and not comming clean.

Carole's picture

Mineral oil, after thoroughly drying the board.

noChefAtAll's picture

thank you both

MEAN_CHEF's picture

You don't have to oil your board every day. Maybe every two weeks. I don't use soap either. Just bleach water. Just make sure your board is dried immediately after cleaning. Water is not good for boards.
I have had one for 20 years and it stlii is fine.

BobbyG's picture

I use wood, It will not dull my knives.
Just remember to spritz it with a 1/10
bleach solution whe done!