Whether you are slicing, chopping or carving a good cutting board is an essential tool in the kitchen, but if not used or cleaned properly harmful bacteria can harbor in them. Choosing the proper cutting board and knowing how to clean it properly is a must in every kitchen to avoid poisoning your family. Not all cutting boards are created equal
The most popular cutting boards are wood, plastic, bamboo and marble/granite. I love bamboo cutting boards, although they are hard on the knife edge, they last for a long time without too much maintenance, and they naturally resist water penetration thus avoiding bacteria to find a place to form. The size is also important, in my kitchen, I have three sizes 6 x 8 inches for lemons and small fruit, two 12 x 14 inches for produce meat and fish, and 15 by 20 inches for carving. The reason I have two 12 x 14 inches is that one I use only for produce and food that can be eaten raw and the other I use for meat and fish, and I always sanitize the meat and fish board after each use.
There are many stylish cutting boards that look hygienic but in fact, they can be a haven for bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. In my opinion, when it comes to cutting boards it is more about food safety and maintenance then style.
The scientists at the University of Wisconsin found that three minutes after contaminating a board that 99.9 percent of the bacteria on wooden boards had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic. Bacterial numbers increased on plastic cutting boards held overnight at room temperature, but the scientists could not recover any bacteria from wooden boards treated the same way.
Here is a list of popular boards
Wood board ~ Ideal for fruits, vegetables and all the food that can be eaten raw because and it is the best choice for maintaining a knife edge
Bamboo board ~ Bamboo is dense enough to resist knife scarring and naturally resists water penetration and letting bacteria find a place to form. You can use this board for everything providing that you clean the properly. When shopping for a bamboo board, look for ones that use formaldehyde-free glues, and the manufacturer uses non-toxic treatment methods.
Plastic board ~ Using plastic board for cutting onions or garlic, is a good choice because it will not absorb the smell and yes you can sanitize it in the dishwasher up until it is scuffed. Once the board is scuffed, it is harder to remove bacteria. You should throw the board away about every two years or less depending on your usage.
Marble and Granite cutting boards ~ You will love these surfaces when making pastries, or any dough, because they hold their temperature cold or warm, and they don’t absorb liquids, and they are super easy to clean. Do no use knives on these boards, or they will dull very quickly.
How to properly clean your wood or bamboo cutting board
The most important thing is to clean it right after every use by using sponge, hot water and chemical free soap and plenty of water making sure there is no residue of food particles
Never put it in the dishwasher or let it soak in the water, the water will expand the wood, and eventually your board will crack.
Disinfect by using 3% hydrogen peroxide, pour it over the board and spread it with a clean cloth. Let it stand for 5 minutes and then wipe off with a clean cloth.
To deodorize pour 2 tablespoons of pure vinegar on the board and spread with a clean cloth, this will neutralize odors and also work as a natural disinfectant, rinse after 5 minutes and dry the board.
To remove stains, sprinkle coarse salt and baking soda on a dry board. Scrub out the stain with a brush dipped in hot water.
To sanitize, this should be done once a week or after cutting meat or fish. Add few drops of bleach to 2 cups of water, pour over the board and let stand for few minutes, and then rinse well with hot water.
After you clean the board, it is important to dry the board completely. Otherwise, the water will expand the wood fibers and crack the wood.
How To Maintain a Wooden Cutting Board
Clean and dry your board
Apply coconut oil or mineral oil with a clean, soft cloth in an even layer over the wood
Soak the oil overnight
If the board feels oily after soaking overnight, rub off any remaining oil with a clean, dry cloth
I oil my boards once a month to keep them beautiful