In my kitchen, I have several cutting boards that I use every day. They are probably the most used kitchen tools that I have. They come in various sizes and shapes. I use a separate one for pungent things like onions and garlic. I use the tiny one for chopping fresh herbs. I even use a particular one for photo shoots for this blog. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all made out of wood.
Why wood over plastic??
I have always been a fan of wooden cutting boards. I like to avoid plastics in the kitchen as much as I can. The main reason is that plastics can leach into the foods you are preparing. YUCK!!! Just take a look at any used plastic cutting board and notice all the nicks and scratches in it. It’s very likely that small little shards of plastic are finding their way into the foods being prepared on them. The chemicals in the plastic can leach into your foods also when the food is sitting on the cutting board waiting to be cooked. Many plastic cutting boards are made out of BPA or phthalalates, which are both hormone disruptors. Plastic cutting boards are also undesirable because they take a long time to biodegrade. So when the board is tossed out after being worn, it sits in the just sits in the landfill. Not a very “green” choice, I would say.
Bamboo Cutting Boards are Awesome!
It is my opinion that some of the best wooden cutting boards out there are made from bamboo. These are the ones I currently have. Bamboo is a 100% renewable resource and is harder and denser than most hard woods. It does not need to be replanted as it grows back and can be re-harvested in a little over 4 years. Bamboo does not require the use of pesticides or herbicides for growth and also has naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties. Sounds good to me! As long as you take a little time to properly care for them, they will last you a long time.
Some folks would disagree with me and claim that more traditional wood cutting boards made out of maple are better. I have been told that it is questionable whether bamboo is renewable and sustainable. Also, some claim that bamboo cutting boards will dull your knife more quickly. I decided to find out. I ordered a beautiful maple cutting board (like this one) and have been using it regularly. I have to say that I do love it. It is very durable and looks pretty in my kitchen. I haven’t noticed a difference in the dullness of my knives when using either bamboo versus maple. I find my bamboo ones easier to move around, but the maple one is heavier so it stays in place better. I’m continuing to research the sustainability of bamboo. Your comments and feedback is humbly accepted and appreciated.
How to Care for Your Wooden Cutting Boards
- Hand wash your wooden cutting boards ~ Don’t submerge your wooden cutting boards in water, and do not put them in the dishwasher because of the potential for cracking and splitting. Gentle surface cleaning with hot water and a a tiny bit of soap is best for lightly soiled boards.
- Give your wooden cutting boards a little love ~ Occasionally rubbing a titch of coconut oil (where to buy good quality coconut products) over your dry cutting boards will extend their life span. Coconut oil is a perfect choice because it has anti-bacterial properties and a long-shelf life. Unlike olive oil, it will not go rancid. All you have to do is rub a small amount of melted coconut oil over your cutting board, let it soak in for a bit, then lightly rub off any excess with a dry cloth.
- Use separate cutting boards for specific things ~ Using a separate cutting board for things like onions, garlic, and chilis will keep your other fruits and veggies from being contaminated with the smell of these delicious, but pungent foods. I also recommend not using a cutting board for raw meats. My mother taught me to use sharp kitchen shears to cut meat rather then using a knife. I do it right over a kitchen plate which washes easily in the kitchen sink.
- Lemon is a natural deodorizer ~ To naturally deodorize a clean but smelly cutting board, simply cut a lemon in half, sprinkle some sea salt on it, and gently rub the lemon half over your cutting board. If the smell persists, add a little baking soda and scrub lightly again. Rinse and let dry. Always good to reapply coconut oil after this method.
- Naturally sanitizing your wooden boards is easy ~ Once in a while, the wooden boards may need to be cleaned more deeply. With just a few ingredients found around the house, you can naturally sanitize without any harmful chemicals. A 1996 study showed that hydrogen peroxide, when combined with an equal amount of vinegar, is a potent bacteria killer. Salmonella, shigella and e-coli were all eliminated with this combination. This is my favorite recipe for sanitizing wooden cutting boards naturally:
All Natural Cutting Board Sanitizer
3 % hydrogen peroxide in a separate spray bottle (like this)
- Simply spray cutting board with vinegar mixture and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Follow with a liberal spray of hydrogen peroxide and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.
- Gently rise and allow to completely dry.
- After completely dry, follow with a light oiling with coconut oil to protect the surface.
It’s that easy.
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