How To Choose a Cutting Board
The cutting board is one of the most useful tools in our kitchen. We use cutting board on a daily basis. Generally, we do not give much thought when we choose and buy a cutting board. Cutting boards save our kitchen counters from scratches and also keep our knives life longer. These days we have so many types of cutting boards. Also, we find it very difficult to choose a suitable cutting board based on our needs. So how do you choose a cutting board?
Figure 1. Cutting boards save our kitchen counters from scratches and also keep our knives life longer.
Here are some of the key things to consider before purchasing a new cutting board.
Size of the Cutting Board
Figure 2. Different Sizes of Cutting Board
- Your cutting board should fit in well on your kitchen countertop. If your cutting board is too large for your kitchen countertop, then it may be unstable while cutting. Serious accidents could occur.
- For an easy cleanup, your cutting board’s width should be less than the width of your kitchen’s sink. You should be able to immerse your cutting board completely in water and clean it well.
- After cleaning, you should have space to store and dry the cutting board in a clean and dry place.
- To handle big or small food quantities, it is better to have 2 to 3 cutting boards of varying sizes on hand.
- If you are a large family and cook meals on a daily basis, then it is better to have a large cutting board that fits your counter space in the kitchen. You will have plenty of room on your cutting board to keep your chopped vegetables on one side and waste scraps on the other side. You can chop all the vegetables, keep them all on the cutting board, and use them one by one while cooking. Chopping tasks are also much easier in large cutting boards, and you can always cut smaller items like cheese, ginger, garlic etc. on a larger board. Also, it is better to use a larger cutting board for cutting large portions of meats or poultry.
- You can use a small cutting board to cut very small quantity of vegetables, a piece of fruit, lime, ginger, garlic, and cheese etc.
- You can have a medium-sized cutting board when your family is not that large, and also if you do not want to use and clean the larger cutting board just for cutting small portion of vegetables.
Shape of the Cutting Board
Cutting boards are available in various shapes like round, rectangle, square, oval etc. Likewise, there are various cutting boards available in shapes like tree, hen, state, pig, apple etc.
Figure 3. Different shapes of cutting board.
Rectangular, square, or round. You should have enough space to do your cutting instead of crowding things on a tiny little board.
Weight of the Cutting Board
Make sure the weight of the cutting board is manageable.
Figure 4. Weight of the cutting boards
When cutting board is heavy and manageable
- The cutting board would not slide away while cutting vegetables on the countertop.
When cutting board is too heavy
- Some cutting boards though worthy of buying it, may be too heavy for you to lift and also difficult at the time of cooking when you add chopped vegetables to the pan.
- May be too heavy to clean, wash and dry it out.
Material of the Cutting Board
Cutting boards are available in a wide range of materials. Now I hear you asking me what cutting board is the best. Lets discuss.
Wooden Cutting Board
In recent years, wooden cutting board is gaining popularity for its look and feel, sanitization, and long life. Wooden cutting board is considered to be best for your knives. There is a saying that wooden cutting board, being porous in nature, invites bacteria and are less hygienic. According to research by UC Davis food safety researchers (Source. thebestknifesharpenerguide.com), wooden cutting boards compared to other cutting boards are less than half as likely to contact salmonellosis if they are properly washed and sanitised. It is advisable to use wooden cutting board only for cutting vegetables and not meat.
Figure 5. Wooden cutting board
Wooden cutting boards are difficult to clean and cannot be used in a dishwasher. You should regularly scrub the wooden cutting board with soap and water. If you expose the wooden cutting board for a long time in water, the wood will expand and then contract when it dries up. Too much exposure to water will cause the wood to warp and split. Woods that are joined together with glue can also break apart. Wooden cutting boards require oiling to keep them in good condition. Some of the wooden cutting boards that are considered best are walnut, cherry, maple and woods with relatively close grain.
|Easy on knife edges and does not dull them quickly
||Prone to scratches
|Produces only mild sound when chopping
||Need to be seasoned and sanitized periodically
|Life can be extended when sanded and refinished
||Not dishwasher safe
|Attractive and looks elegant
||Varying quality depending on the wood and construction
|Can be as sanitary as plastic
||More places for bacteria to hide
||Cleaning is the challenge
|Completely biodegradable and renewable
Bamboo Cutting Board
In general, bamboo belongs to the grass family and not wood. Bamboo grows very fast, so it is considered to be a renewable resource. Eco-conscious people just love these cutting boards. They also maintain their aesthetic appeal well. Moreover, they neither retain water nor the bacteria easily. Bamboo cutting boards are best used for chopping vegetables but is not suitable for cutting meat.
Figure 6. Bamboo cutting board
|Attractive, aesthetic and more eco-friendly
||Requires oiling and periodic seasoning needed
|Absorbs less moisture as wood
||Long-time use makes more receptive to bacteria
|Does not shrink or swell much
|Sustainable and renewable resource
|More sanitary than wood boards
|Longer lifespan than woods
||Cheap bamboo will splinter
|Natural bacteria-fighting properties
|Easy on knives
|Show fewer cut marks than wood or plastic
Composite Cutting Board
Composite cutting boards are easy to clean and more resistant to scratches. Some composite cutting boards come with a wood laminate top. Composite cutting boards are quite thin so they could easily slide off from the countertops while cutting vegetables.
Figure 7. Composite cutting boards
|Can be used in dishwasher
||May give off odor when wet
|Easy to clean
||Harder on knives than other types
|Attractive and durable
||Not very eco-friendly
|More resistant to scratches
||Could slide around the work surface
Plastic Cutting Board
In general, plastic cutting boards are considered safe, affordable, and extremely durable. When plastic cutting board is clean with few knife scratches, you can sanitize it well. Once the cutting board has several small and deep cut marks, then it would harbor bacteria and sanitizing it would be difficult. It is better to replace the plastic boards when they have several deep cuts.
Figure 8. Plastic cutting board
Plastic cutting board are available in various sizes, shapes and colors. Thin plastic boards will not withstand high heat whereas thick plastic boards will be comparatively durable. In order to avoid cross contamination of foods, some people buy color-coded plastic boards for meat, produce and poultry. For example, red for meat, green for vegetables, yellow for poultry, and white for dairy products etc.
|Inexpensive and lightweight
||Stain and show signs of wear easily
|Washed easily by hand or in a dishwasher
||Warp under excessive heat
|Prevent damage to your knives
||Gouges, scratches can harbor bacteria
|Durable and last long
||Not as attractive as wood or bamboo
|Available in various shapes, colors, and sizes
|Lighter than wooden boards
Glass Cutting Board
Glass cutting boards are easy to clean, durable, most sanitary and also resistant to heat. You also do not have to oil them. You get glass cutting boards (Tempered Glass Cutting Boards) that are patterned to suit every decor. One of the setback of glass cutting board is they often dull your knives. If you resharpen your knives constantly, then the glass cutting board would not be a problem to you.
Figure 9. Glass cutting board
||Hardest on knife edges
|Resistant to heat
|Produces harsh sound when cutting vegetables
||Quite heavier than other boards
|Nonporous – so easy to clean, dishwasher-safe
||Breaks when dropped down in the kitchen
||Does not provide much friction while cutting vegetables
Other available cutting board materials are marble, steel, ceramic, granite, and metal etc. They may look stylish and enhance the look of your kitchen but are not preferred by many.
Figure 10. Different cutting board materials
||safety, durability, sanitation, tough on kitchen knives, and makes harsh sound while cutting vegetables
Cost of the Cutting Board
If your budget is less than $20, then you may prefer buying plastic cutting boards that sometimes come with set of 3 to 4 boards with different colors. You can use each of the colored cutting board for meat, vegetables, cheese, poultry etc. If you are planning to buy a wooden cutting board for the same price, then you may find an attractive wooden cutting board. On the other hand, the wooden cutting board would be of low quality and may last for a year.
Figure 11. Choose the best cutting board material based on your budget
If your budget is around and above $50, you get better quality cutting boards.
If your budget is above $200, you could get a beautiful bamboo cutting board which is considered one of the best cutting boards. Also if you maintain it well, then it would definitely last for many years.
If you are concerned about your expensive knives, then again you should prefer buying a good quality and expensive cutting board.
Below $20: Plastic cutting boards
In between $50 – $100: Plastic cutting boards and a better quality wooden cutting board
Above $150: Bamboo cutting board
Few Different Styles of Cutting Board
Many cutting boards come with lot of attractive and useful features. I have listed some of them below:
1. Time-saving Cutting Board with Compost Bin and Measuring Cups
The Curtis Stone Workbench features a generous, sturdy prep surface, but the 22×14-inch ash board one-ups many others: Three built-in stainless-steel measuring cups hold your garnishes, while an in-board waste receptacle allows you to easily carry scraps from kitchen counter to compost bin when you’re done chopping. [$300; curtisstone.com]
Figure 12. Time-saving Cutting Board with Compost Bin and Measuring Cups
2. Cutting Board with Measure Cups Built In
A cutting board and measuring cups in 1. This cutting board lets you scrap the chopped ingredients right into the measuring cup so you know when you are done chopping each item. [$30; Pampered Chef]
Figure 13. Cutting Board with Measure Cups Built In
3. Chopping Board Cut It Sharp
CUT IT SHARP is made from solid piece of Corian® material. Corian is nonporous, making it an excellent material for cutting boards. It will not hold stains, germs, or odors. Featuring a metric ruler, CUT IT SHARP will help you cut, chop and slice with ease and precision. Your tool for culinary perfection! [45; Contraforma]
Figure 14. Chopping Board Cut It Sharp
4. Space Saving Cutting Board
Ever wish you had just a little more counter space to prepare that perfect meal? The Space-Saving Cutting Board gives you extra room to chop, slice and prep your foods. This oval-shaped board fits snugly over the 90 degree corner angle of any standard 1.5″ thick kitchen counter surface, then clips securely into place for a strong, solid hold. Features an attractive, food-safe beeswax finish. [$165; fancy.com]
Figure 15. Space Saving Cutting Board
5. Storage Cutting Board
Quick, clean. This solid acacia wood Storage Cutting Board has a hole in one corner where you can sweep trimmings, peelings and other discards into a hidden compartment while you work. The metal drawer pulls out for easy disposal. Solid acacia wood body, metal drawer. Discard refuse in top hole and empty via pull-out drawer. Wipe clean. Not for use in the dishwasher. [$165; fancy.com]
Figure 16. Storage Cutting Board
6. Mocubo Modular Chopping Board
The Mocubo Modular Chopping Board has three separate under-board storage containers for quick and organized chopping. It’s time to take food preparation to the next level. Mocubo is a bamboo cutting board with three food prep containers. You’ll be able to slice, dice and organize like a master chef, without breaking a sweat.
Figure 17. Mocubo Modular Chopping Board
7. Nonslip Over-the-Sink Cutting Board
Figure 18. Nonslip Over-the-Sink Cutting Board
8. Easy Cut Bread Board by ENO
Figure 19. Easy Cut Bread Board
9. The OCD Chef Cutting Board
Part kitchen tool, part OCD-encourager, the cutting board includes guides for the most important cuts. And it should help impress your dinner guests with your knife skills, or to avoid getting yelled at in French. The cutting board is 9? x 12? with precise cutting measurements. Made of strong sustainable bamboo. [$23.99; foodiggity.com]
Figure 20. The OCD Chef Cutting Board
- When you prefer buying cutting boards with styles and extra features, make sure you’ll actually use them. If not, the cutting board will only occupy extra space in your kitchen.
Consider the important factors like durability, sanitation, safety, quality, sound, price and workspace while choosing and buying a cutting board. The best choices would be bamboo cutting board, wooden cutting board and then a plastic cutting board.
How Many Cutting Boards Do You Need
I would suggest having 2 to 3 cutting boards. Personally, I have one large wooden cutting board and two smaller plastic ones. I use the three boards for different types of foods to avoid cross-contamination. You should use different cutting boards for cutting meat and chopping vegetables. I use the wooden cutting board for chopping vegetables and plastic ones for cutting meat. Last but not the least, make sure your cutting boards do not occupy much space in the kitchen.
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Figure12 and Time-saving Cutting Board with Compost Bin and Measuring Cups content. Enlist a time-saving cutting board. Retrieved fromhttp://www.mensjournal.com/expert-advice/10-ways-to-upgrade-your-kitchen-20121109/enlist-a-time-saving-cutting-board#ixzz2kZb7y2wQ
Figure13 and Cutting Board with Measure Cups Built In content. Great Finds for Your Home- Fun, Functional and Stylish- Perfect for a Gift or Yourself. Retrieved from http://www.mommie911.com/2009/04/30/great-finds-for-your-home-fun-functional-and-stylish-perfect-for-a-gift-or-yourself/