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Cutting Boards

by Michael Chu
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The surface on which you cut your meat, poutry, fish, and vegetables is as important as the knives you cut with. In this article, I'll examine some of the important considerations when choosing a board.

Size
The size of a cutting board is pretty important. Small cutting boards are convenient for clean up and cutting small things quickly (for example a garnish or some cheese). However, every kitchen should have at least one large cutting board. How large? As big as your sink. It's important to be able to wash your cutting boards thoroughly, so it's important that the cutting board fits into your sink. When buying a cutting board, the bigger the better (as long as it fits in the sink). Why? The larger surface area gives you more space to work with. It helps with posture too. You won't be cramped up trying to fit everything on the board, move the food into position, and drive the knife at the same time.

The thickness of the cutting board is dependent on your height as well as your kitchen counter height. If you get a really think block and place it on your counter, you may have to bend your shoulder and elbow at awkward positions when you cut. This will lead to muscle aches and pains and maybe even damage. Get something with dimensions that feel comfortable to you.

Once an appropriate size of cutting board has been chosen, the question of buying plastic or wood comes up. Which is better for the knife? Which is safer? What's the best value? These are some questions that come up when choosing between these two materials. We'll try to address them here.

Surface
Most wood boards are made of a maple (a hard wood) or pine (a soft wood) which may give your kitchen a much more attractive look than plastic boards. A good, sharp knife will cut into a wood board to some degree, so be forewarned that the cutting surface of your elegant wood cutting board will look worn, especially if you are heavy handed. The grain of the wood also helps keep the food from slipping.

A plastic board will usually have a roughened surface to aid in keeping food from slipping off. Most people would say that a plastic board's appearance leaves much to be desired, but it's size, shape, and weight make it extremely handy around the kitchen. Unfortunately, no matter what a manufacturer claims about how gentle the plastic is on knives, there is no substitute for cutting on wood to keep your knives in tip top shape.
Amazon.com: KitchenAid Poly Cutting Board with Santoprene Handles Because plastic boards are nonporous and nonabsorbent, it is easier to clean off stain causing fluids than from a wood board. Simply scrub and rinse. Of course, don't let juice from freshly chopped beets stay on your board and dry for cleaning the next day - stains will occur. However, most sharp knives will eventually carve grooves into the plastic surface where stains can form and bacteria can collect. The small fissures make it very difficult to properly clean the baord without giving it a bleach washing.

A properly oiled wood board will also help resist staining to some degree, but prompt washing is always the best policy to follow.
Amazon.com: Catskill Craftsmen Wood End Grain Cutting Slab Oiling a wood board once every couple of weeks is a great way to maintain the board. Oiling protects the board from soaking up too much moisture and cracking or warping. It also protects against the absorption of some bacteria. Use an edible oil that has no taste, but don't use vegetable oil because it will turn rancid over time. Mineral oil is a popular choice. Wood boards can also be sanded to return the surface to a smooth finish. Beware that after sanding the board should be washed, dried, and set out for several hours to eliminate bacteria that may have been released from the interior wood.

Grooves
Grooves are often carved into the edge of the cutting board to catch juices. Amazon.com: Catskill Craftsmen Reversible Wood Turkey Board with Groove Cutting boards with large grooves serve better for carving than for cutting. I recommend having a seperate carving board for carving and serving than the board you normally use for slicing and chopping for preparation.

Feet
Amazon.com: Catskill Craftsmen Wood End Grain Round Cutting Slab with Feet Some cutting boards have feet. This limits your cutting surface to one side of the board. With wood boards, feet are not necessary since placing the board on a wet towel or shelf liner will firmly cement the board to the counter. Depending on the weight and texture of the board, this trick can also work on plastic boards. Often, wood boards with feet work well as attractive carving boards or cheese boards.

Over the sink boards
Amazon.com: Target Over-the-Sink Cutting BoardFor the space limited kitchen, manufacturers offer both wood and plastic boards Amazon.com: Catskill Craftsmen Adjustable Wood Over-the-Sink Board that can be placed or hooked over the kitchen sink. Over the sink boards also make clean up easy when dealing with messy fruits or vegetables that make produce a lot of juice, like tomatoes.

Bacteria
It is often said that plastic is easier to clean than wood, but this is not necessarily the case. Foods that stain are much easier to clean off plastic, but if you're concerned about bacteria, plastic may not be the material you want to choose to use.
Amazon.com: Farberware 3-Piece Poly Cutting Board Set
Plastic cutting boards have a nonporous surface that provides no place for bacteria to dwell. However, bacteria can just as easily live on the surface and after using the board for a while, your knife will probably chew up the fine surface of the board providing plenty of hiding spaces for bacteria to survive even through vigorous washing. This is troublesome to deal with and it is wise to scrub the cutting board down immediately after using. What Amazon.com: Farberware 12x18 in. Poly Cutting Board with MicroBan about those plastic boards that have built in antibacterial chemicals? These only serve to inhibit bacterial grown that causes stains and odors - they do little to kill food-borne bacteria. If they did, you'd be ingesting poison agents every time you used your cutting board. Vigorous scrubbing with hot water and soap and an occasional cycle through the dishwasher is probably your best bet when it comes to plastic. (Be careful, some low quality boards may warp in a dishwasher.) Unfortunately, even a dishwasher's high temperatures may not be enough to kill all the bacteria. You're sure to kill the vast majority of them, though. Pouring bleach (diluted in water) over the board is also a good way of purging the board of bacteria. Once you've got the board clean, keep it dry. A few hours of complete dryness will kill the remainder of the bacteria. Make sure you prop up a corner of the cutting board if you're leaving it on the countertop so moisture won't be sandwiched under the board.

Amazon.com: Farberware 3-Piece Wood Cutting Board Set Wood cutting boards deal with bacteria in the opposite way that plastic boards do. Wood boards actually absorb the bacteria into the wood. After the surface of the wood has been cleaned and dried, the bacteria near the surface dies. It turns out the wood near the surface forms a hostile environment for bacteria to live in. There are lots of bacteria living in the cutting board, but about 1/8 in. below the surface. (If your board is pine, the natural pine oil in the board can serve additionally as a disinfectant.) This is deep enough that a heavy handed chop into the wood is unlikely to release bacteria (unless the wood splits). As with plastic boards, prop a corner up to keep moisture from collecting.


Price
In general, plastic cutting boards are less expensive than wood cutting boards. For $10, you can purchase a set of cutting boards for cutting poultry, fish, and meats, or you can divide them up by size. For the same $10, a set of three wood boards will be servicable, but noticably lower quality. A good wood board can run upwards of $100, although a $10-20 board should make a great cutting surface. If you have expensive knives and don't mind oiling every couple weeks, then get a modest wood carving board. If you're on a budget, like the convenience of multiple cutting boards, and can stand dealing with vigorous scrubbing and the occassional bleaching, then plastic is the way to go.

Bamboo Amazon.com: Shun 14 in. x 14 in. Bamboo Cutting Board
A "new" entry in the cutting board market are bamboo boards. Bamboo is an extremely hard grass that is easily grown and naturally replenishing resource. It doesn't have to be replanted after chopping down and is strong, durable, and pretty. Boards constructed of bamboo are fast (the hard surface makes it easier to work the knife) and durable. The boards absorb less liquid than maple wood and are typicaly easier to wash since the knive cuts won't be as deep or plantiful. Like other wood boards, they should not be soaked in water or placed in the dishwasher. The downside of bamboo boards is cost. Currently, the most expensive cutting boards that I know of, bamboo boards will run almost $200 for a large board. Browse Totally Bamboo for typical prices and a decent selection of boards and dishware.

Go to this site for a sampling of the cutting boards available for mail order from amazon.com.

April 5, 2014 Edit: The wood cutting board section stated "If your cutting board fits in your microwave oven, heating up the board in the microwave for 30 sec. or so will completely cleanse the board of bacteria, inside and out." but this advice can lead to over drying of the wood and potentially cracking it. Also in some cases the resin or glue used to hold individual wood pieces together to form the board may overheat. This sentence has been removed.
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Written by Michael Chu
Published on September 16, 2004 at 05:09 PM
125 comments on Cutting Boards:(Post a comment)

On May 22, 2005 at 07:51 PM, آز&am (guest) said...
Hi, I just wanted to say your weblog is fantastic. I write a weblog (http://mithras.org) in Persian. I think you have an avid reader now. :)


On May 22, 2005 at 07:52 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Hey, great blog! This was a good article, EXCEPT I believe it lacks an emphasis on separating cutting boards for different types of foods (beef, poultry, seafood, produce). With all of your concern about bacteria, it seems prudent to strongly recommend separate boards for produce vs. meat, especially since (at least in my house) most of the heavy chopping that causes surface grooves in plastic comes from hacking up produce, so my (plastic) meat boards stay pretty smooth.

PS - You misspelled fissures. :-)


On May 22, 2005 at 07:52 PM, Michael Chu said...
re: Multiple Boards

Yes, I did fail to mention that one popular usage model is to have a poultry board, other meats board, and vegetable/other board. Proper usage of the multi-board scheme can reduce the chances of cross contamination (where foods that need to be fully cooked come in contact with foods that do not get cooked to high temperatures).

It is also possible to use one board and vary the order of your ingredient preparation such that cross contamination is no longer an issue. Chop vegetables/uncooked items first. Then prepare meats and, lastly, poultry. Clean and scrub the board well and allow it to fully dry.

The main thing is choose a system that works for you and be diligent about avoiding cross contamination.


On May 22, 2005 at 07:53 PM, grumbleghoul (guest) said...
I just wanted to thank you for helping settle a dispute about the bacterial forming processes on wooden cutting boards. My wife loves plastic, and I love wood. We will now have both!


On May 22, 2005 at 07:53 PM, Batya (guest) said...
Save your back and sit while cutting.


On May 22, 2005 at 07:53 PM, Madam Attitude (guest) said...
Good info!
I use Granite myself!
I had a Bakers Rack & Cutting Board made while
stationed in Naples, Italy.
If anyone heads that way, see Ciro in Pozzuolli, Italy, he is awesome!
I believe is good blades 7 boards for all my recipes!
I look forward to seeing more of your BLOGS!
M~A


On May 22, 2005 at 07:54 PM, Chuck (guest) said...
I found a roll of that bumpy rubbery mat material in a dollar store. I cut that to size and place it under my cutting board, mixing bowls, etc, to keep them from slipping. I mostly use plastic cutting boards and always place one in the dishwasher after cutting raw meat. Stains uglify it, but then I don't keep it out on the counter as a decoration.
http://www.duhhhmoment.blogspot.com
http://www.mylifeasalizard.blogspot.com


On May 22, 2005 at 07:54 PM, an anonymous reader said...
The best way to deal with Bacteria is to have a spray bottle with a mix of bleach and water handy, (I use 50/50 personally), and spray down your surfaces after you work. I used to handle a LOT of raw poultry (30 lbs a day) along with all the other stuff I had to cook and prepare. Using bleach to spray down and then clean an area prevented any cross contamination.
I still use a bleach/water spray bottle on all my cutting boards and food preparation surfaces, both before and after, and in ten years have never had a problem. The nice thing is the bleach also takes out stains, which on a white counter top is very helpful. Also the smell reminds you of which surfaces you have cleaned or have missed.


On May 22, 2005 at 07:55 PM, Zach (guest) said...
Here is an option to bleach:

http://my.execpc.com/~mjstouff/articles/vinegar.html


On May 22, 2005 at 07:55 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Great info!
My favorite cutting board is a 12by18 by 3/4 inch solid piece of Padouk. I have had mine for at least 20 years and use it daily. It's a beautiful dark wood that doesn't show stains and being quite dense, it doesn't get cut up as much as Maple. Extremely hard to find, but well worth the search.
Rick


On May 22, 2005 at 07:56 PM, Soldering Gunslinger (guest) said...
I have several cutting boards in my (My wife probably would disagree)kitchen. I do know of people who use marble or granite surfaces on which to cut, however this tends to quickly dull your (or at least my) valuable blades. Plastic or natural fiber surfaces protect your expensive knives. Compare the price of a Wustoff, Henkles or Sabatier blade to that of a Farberware plastic cutting board.

Much has been said about sanitary concerns when dealing with wooden cutting boards. Tests on end-grain rock maple cutting surfaces showed that bacteria didn't really like growing in that particular medium, however, as wooden chopping blocks and cutting boards are considerably higher priced than the best plastic boards, this frugal Engineer prefers the plastic for cutting and the wood for serving.

My favorite board is an over-the-sink farberware poly board with a little strainer-well in which to slide the trimmings. This board is perfectly sized to fit into the dishwasher (At least my undercounter 20-year-old Kitchenaid). I won't own a plastic board which will not fit into the dishwasher (Yeah, I'm lazy as well as frugal).

Remember, eschew stone, metal or glass surfaces for cutting...that is unless you're made of money and can spend your time and money having your blades resharpened more often than otherwise necessary and/or replacing them. If all you use are the freebees handed out at the local county fair or as a Wal-Mart Special, go ahead, use a hard surface.

A good set of knives should last you a lifetime. The plastic cutting boards will probably be replaced every five years or so, a good heavy end grain cutting board might be handed down to your grandchildren (Mine came from a Great Aunt)

I remain,

The Ol' Soldering Gunslinger


On May 22, 2005 at 07:56 PM, an anonymous reader said...
One of the things I hated about rigid cutting boards is trying to funnel your chopped food into a small bowl or pan etc. I've never seen a board with raised sides to guide food down to a corner, for example, so the next best thing I have are flexible plastic mats that you can almost roll into a tube once you're done cutting, so you can carry it over to your stove etc. without dropping anything, and funneling it in without splashing any boiling water or oil. Got them as a wedding present from Crate & Barrel, but I think they're pretty cheap. Comes as a set for meat, seafood, poultry and vegetables.


On May 22, 2005 at 07:57 PM, an anonymous reader said...
As a cook in several restaurants I learned to care for wooden cutting boards and especially large 'butcher block' type tables. We used hot soapy water with a little bleach to clean the tables that, of course, would not fit in the dishwasher.


After a thorough scrubbing with a stiff bristled brush and/or stainless steel scrubber pads, we would flush the surface copiously with water. Then wipe the block down with clean towels and finally sprinkle the surface with salt. This pulled water out of the pores of the wood and sterilized at the same time. Once a week we oiled the surfaces well after cleaning and brushing off the crusted, dried salt.

I use this method on all my boards at home.

pseudolus the first


On May 22, 2005 at 07:57 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Good article, but I'd personally reccomend using glass chopping boards - much more resistant than plastic, and much easier than wood!


On May 22, 2005 at 07:58 PM, Michael Chu said...
Glass cutting boards are extremely hard on knives. Sharpening and replacement fees will skyrocket. You're better off with plastic and just buying new ones each month than to use glass (or stone).


On August 29, 2005 at 09:15 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Great blog! You provide lots of info that I have had trouble finding before. I was wondering what your opinion of the new silicone cutting boards was? They seem like a great idea but i haven't found any reviews of them re: durability, if they are gentle on knives etc. Thanks!


On August 29, 2005 at 06:48 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Silicone cutting boards
Are the silicone cutting boards different from the flexible plastic cutting boards? I haven't used the silicone ones (only know of one brand that sells them) and I've heard that they don't seem like silicone at all - they seem like the regular flexible ones. If that's true, then I think they work great, but need replacing fairly often (depending on use). I've never cut through one, but my knives do leave scratches (just like regular plastic boards). They are very convenient for transporting and pouring cut materials into a storage or cooking vessel.


On September 20, 2005 at 04:13 PM, jeff (guest) said...
Subject: cutting board grain
Wood cutting boards that have the end grain for the working surface are preferable. End grain is much harder, and if you ever saw an old butchers cutting block you will see that they are made from end grain.

They are harder to find, and more expensive, but a better choice.


On September 26, 2005 at 07:22 AM, Smillie - OzFire said...
Subject: Wood, Plastic and Bleach...
Hi all
in this debate the free use of bleach is sure to poison people eventually, read the warnings on the bottle... they sure warn you seriously about using it around food. !!!

Also with cross contamination this is only a problem if you are storing food, even if it for only a few hours. But if everything is ending up touching each other in the pot, then it is quite silly to use different boards.

As stated bacteria cant live on the surface of most woods especially the end grain, and some woods (blackwood, Iorn wood, Huon Pine etc...) they cant even survive under the surface. Where as plastic is almost a farm for them.

Same debate over the use of rubber gloves in commercial kitchens... well washed hands are cleaner than the freshest rubber glove... except those sterilized ones the surgeons use...

wish the little old ladies of both sexes would leave the kitchen.....

Love to all
Cheers ray


On October 07, 2005 at 05:11 PM, Karl (guest) said...
Subject: plastic and bacteria
I understand that wood cutting boards are inhospitable places for bacteria to live, as people have stated.

However, plastic is still probably the better choice. The reason is that plastic is easier to sterilize. Dishwashing does indeed do a pretty good job of sterilizing the board. It is true that the heat is not enough by itself to kill bacteria effectively, as you state, but the heat is not acting by itself. The detergent contains bleach and other oxidizing agents (just smell it; it has a strong acrid odor like bleach) that kill nearly all bacteria. Further, the detergent physically removes both the bacteria and the tiny bits of food that can harbor them, just like washing your hands.

Dishwashing is not really an option for wood cutting boards unless they are not glued or laminated, as nearly all end grain boards are. The cycles of water and heat, then drying, would cause the wood to expand and shrink, eventually breaking the glue bonds, and causing the wood to crack.

So that leaves the inhospitality of the wood surface to take care of the bacteria. But how long does it take for bacteria to die on a wood board, even one washed with soap and water? Nobody knows, as far as I can tell. What if you cook often on it? Does that give enough time for the bacteria to die?

True, you could wipe the board with with bleach to immediately kill bacteria, but that is stinky and a little hazardous to your health (it releases free chlorine), and a pain besides (if you are civilian like myself, you might wear street clothes to cook, not cooking whites like professional chefs do.)

Wiping it with salt might kill some bacteria, but it probably does little for bacteria spores, which are dormant bacteria encased in a tough shell. In any case it is certainly less effective than being doused with a hot solution of detergent and bleach and other oxidizing agents.

So because plastic has a more effective, more immediate sterilizing method available to it, it is the better choice.

Karl


On October 17, 2005 at 12:03 PM, Stephan said...
Subject: Over-concern for bacteria...
Using and cleaning either wooden or plastic cutting boards using reasonable common sense and some basic rules (no poulty before the salad stuff...) is sufficient to rule out most problems by far. Contrary to common perception, it is neither possible nor desireable to have a completely sterile kitchen. Some exposure to various bacteria will not kill you - they are probably even useful to keep the imune system balanced. Remember, we evolved and lived in the middle of a large piece of dirt for eons...

Unless you are dealing with seriously contamined food, I don't think bleach or disinfectant are necessary.

Stephan

P.S.: Some of my recipes are now available in English.


On October 17, 2005 at 04:59 PM, CBRetriever (guest) said...
Subject: Tables
As the recent owner of a Boos table, which I absolutely love, I'd like to add a caution about letting your cutting board surface become the repository of every object that comes into the kitchen. Especially when renovations are ongoing in the next room.


On October 17, 2005 at 08:24 PM, Judy (guest) said...
GREAT site! I've been a fan for quite a while and love the new layout. My compliments on displaying the image of the cutting boards available on amazon as you scroll over them. Nice touch.

Also...I'd love to see more vegetarian recipes on this site. Other than that, great job.


On December 15, 2005 at 02:26 AM, Pete (guest) said...
Subject: What about Hydrogen Peroxide?
What about using a dilution of Hydrogen Peroxide for cleaning cutting boards and other surfaces?

I've read (Healing With Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford) that Hydrogen Peroxide is an acceptable alternative to bleach for soaking suspect vegetables of critters.

1/2 teaspoon Clorox per gallon of water (10 minute soak + 10 min rinse water soak)
or
1 tablespoon 3% Hydrogen Peroxide per gallon of water (20 minute soak)

The quick option is to spray the veggies directly with 3% HP, wait 2 minutes and rinse.

Washing your cutting boards with soap and water, as well as spraying them down with 3% HP seems like an acceptable option to addressing cutting board contaminants.

Any opinions on the matter?


On December 15, 2005 at 06:42 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: What about Hydrogen Peroxide?
Pete wrote:
What about using a dilution of Hydrogen Peroxide for cleaning cutting boards and other surfaces?

Spraying your cutting board with 3% hydrogen peroxide should do a fine job of sanitizing. Wash the board first to remove any large particles and finish with a mist of hydrogen peroxide to sanitize. Many websites recommend the use of vinegar as well as hydrogen peroxide.

It should probably be noted that hydrogen peroxide is a bleach (also known as oxygen bleach), but milder than the bleach we are most used to (chlorine bleach).


On December 16, 2005 at 03:50 AM, eltonyo said...
once again... i am amazed at the modern "chemistry" it supposedly takes to keep a supposedly "sterile" surface from catching more "germs".

LOL... as if!!!!

you all need a lecture on MICROBES!!!!!

hell... if that don't teach you anything... you all need to learn to make "sour dough" bread, using NO YEAST.... just the air you snort!

stop pouring expensive acids on your cooking boards, and stop wasting money on hard antiobiotic detergents, and/or boiling those cutting boards in water (and worrying about their material proprties), and stop pretending to be healthier by avoiding certain germs!!!

get a grip people.... you grab, itch, and snort more germs, everday, than your worst day of cleaning that ol'casserole dish!

pop quiz hotshots...

* Do you realize how much "bacteria" is in your body, serving a "job"?

* Do you realize how many people get deadly diseases when antiobiotics are used to kill off the healthy microbes (germs)?

* Do you know anything about antibiotic resistance?

sorry... i digressed.

go ahead... keep on crying about how the acids and antibitotics are not STRONG enough to protect your "sterility" from the big-bad-germs that are lurking to slit your throat in the common day kitchen!

... and by all means, please note the oxymoron!

sigh.

lol.... get a grip people!


On December 28, 2005 at 09:15 PM, LittleJohn (guest) said...
Subject: Better than Sanding
One thing to add - no matter how carefully you clean up afterward, sanding a wooden cutting board can leave fine abrasive particles behind that can dull your knives. Better to use a cabinet scraper - basically, a square piece of steel with an intentional burr turned along one edge. You can order them from a high-end woodworking supplier, such as Woodcraft or Garret Wade, or make your own small ones by filing the back of a carbon steel hacksaw blade at a right angle and then turning the resulting burr with a burnisher (or the polished shaft of a long, hardened steel screwdriver, if you're not feeling spendy). Broken glass works too but is more dangerous.


On December 28, 2005 at 10:06 PM, Smillie - OzFire - (guest) said...
eltonyo wrote:
once again... i am amazed at the modern "chemistry" it supposedly takes to keep a supposedly "sterile" surface from catching more "germs".

LOL... as if!!!!

you all need a lecture on MICROBES!!!!!

hell... if that don't teach you anything... you all need to learn to make "sour dough" bread, using NO YEAST.... just the air you snort!


Sadly I agree wholeheartedly, the problem in commercial kitchens is the little old ladies of both sexes from the health department. - Apologies to real little old ladies -

Mind you I have worked in a few kitchens over the years that need a good scare from the health department.

strangely enough in an experiment two clean chopping boards were left in a kitchen environment for a month unused and untouched. the bacterial counts were close but the types of bacteria were very different - I now use wood only in my home kitchen, but plastic for the general public as than is demanded by the health department.

Suppress you immune system today
live in a sterile environment


On January 04, 2006 at 02:07 AM, Guest Faith W N (guest) said...
Subject: Plastic Cutting Board Stains
Just a comment to contribute to the body of knowledge - cooked pepperoni grease does stain plastic cutting boards, and full strength bleach did not remove the stain.


On January 06, 2006 at 03:27 PM, Guest101 (guest) said...
Wow, this is so funny, I'm doing a whole science fair project on which cutting board is the best to use and which cleaning solution will work best. And now I've collected my results and then I found this webpage! Hahaha awesome page, it was really helpful!


On January 06, 2006 at 06:06 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Guest101 wrote:
Wow, this is so funny, I'm doing a whole science fair project on which cutting board is the best to use and which cleaning solution will work best. And now I've collected my results and then I found this webpage! Hahaha awesome page, it was really helpful!

So what experiments did you do and what were your results?


On January 06, 2006 at 09:22 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Bamboo maybe not so good
I've read in various cutlery discusion forums that the silica in bamboo makes it harder on knives than wood. How much harder has yet to be determined. Grainte and glass are right out I'm afraid.
Speaking of wood though - pine is listed in the article as a hardwood, but in fact it is a soft wood. Actually it's the quintesential softwood (in the US anyway.)
I'm still not entirely sure what cutting boards sold as 'hardwood', but not explicitly 'maple', are made of. I think it's Luan usually.


On January 17, 2006 at 07:25 PM, masues (guest) said...
Subject: remodel
I have just bought a home and am in need of an additional counter. I have the space and wanted to make the table a butcher block. So, I needed to know what wood would be suitable. I stumbled across your wed and low and behold am more confused than ever. should it be maple, padouk, blackwood, ironwood or pine? I have been in the food and beverage business for years and know how to care for the surface, although the salt idea has me intreagued. I will have to try that. So what do you think. Maple? How about oak? Cedar? Would like your thoughts.

gonna choose wood


On January 22, 2006 at 11:48 PM, Joe (guest) said...
Subject: Granite Cutting Boards
Hey folks, just stumbled on to this site as I was doing some research on granite cutting boards. I'm actually looking to go public with some handmade/custom cutting boards.

I do know the facts ie. dull out your blade faster than wood..... but there are a few up sides. Clean up is very quick and bacteria is not absorbed by granite like wood. Also it does not stain. Another thing is there are over 260 colours of granite to choose from, so you can have them custom made to your kitchen. They also cost about the same price as a good quality wood board. But anyways I don't want to make this seem like an advertisement.

If you'd like more information please email me at jdoria@hotmail.com
Thanks for the time, and there were some very intresting comments in the posts previous.


On February 02, 2006 at 06:27 PM, Twomartinis said...
Subject: Padauk cutting boards
Great site, I just found it.

The debate b/t wood and plastic continually sways from one side to the other. I prefer the combination of wood+good hygiene myself.

PS> To the previous poster (5/24/05) above raving his padauk cutting board. Padauk may not be the best wood for food contact, as it is mildly toxic. Most woodworking sources lean toward being extra cautious when working with this material.


On February 09, 2006 at 07:49 PM, foodscigeek said...
I use wood and plastic at different times. I have several of the thin flexible cutting mats that I just pitch when they get too marked up. I've got new granite countertops, and I don't want to dull my knives. Will cutting on one of the thin mats directly on granite be a problem? Should I put something between the mat and my counter?


On April 07, 2006 at 04:04 AM, JackFrost (guest) said...
Sorry to burst your bubble there Joe but granite will stain. Granite, by its very nature, contains micro fissures where the quartz, mica and other minerals connect, also some granites are more porous than others. But yes if the granite is highly polished and sealed it is less likely to stain then wood or plastic.

The other main problem with glass or stone cutting boards besides dulling your knifes very fast is most have a super smooth surface which makes it harder to control what your are cutting, and therfor I feel they are less safe.


On April 08, 2006 at 03:05 AM, GaryProtein said...
Subject: Re: Granite Cutting Boards
Joe wrote:
Hey folks, just stumbled on to this site as I was doing some research on granite cutting boards. I'm actually looking to go public with some handmade/custom cutting boards.

I do know the facts ie. dull out your blade faster than wood..... but there are a few up sides. Clean up is very quick and bacteria is not absorbed by granite like wood. Also it does not stain. Another thing is there are over 260 colours of granite to choose from, so you can have them custom made to your kitchen. They also cost about the same price as a good quality wood board. But anyways I don't want to make this seem like an advertisement.

If you'd like more information please email me at jdoria@hotmail.com
Thanks for the time, and there were some very intresting comments in the posts previous.


A granite cutting board will definitely dull your knives with the first contact of the blade on the stone, and as another poster mentioned, granite will stain, especially light colored ones. Silestone is more impervious to stain granite, but I would not use that either. The food would also tend to slide around a lot on stone surface if they were polished, and if it was not polished, the stone would stain and collect bacteria faster. Use wood or plastic boards.


On April 23, 2006 at 08:48 AM, Phyxis (guest) said...
Subject: Flexible (replaceable) board surfaces & base
http://furitechnics.com.au/Equippe/cutting/Cuttingmain.htm

Füri Clean Cut Hygienic Cutting Board System ($50 or so via online retailers)

Six color-coded flexible mats, and a very nice thick base.

-Phyxis (not affiliated, just stumbled on it)


On May 05, 2006 at 06:32 PM, GaryProtein said...
Subject: Re: remodel
masues wrote:
I have just bought a home and am in need of an additional counter. I have the space and wanted to make the table a butcher block. So, I needed to know what wood would be suitable. I stumbled across your wed and low and behold am more confused than ever. should it be maple, padouk, blackwood, ironwood or pine? I have been in the food and beverage business for years and know how to care for the surface, although the salt idea has me intreagued. I will have to try that. So what do you think. Maple? How about oak? Cedar? Would like your thoughts.

gonna choose wood


I like wood best. Food tends to slide around on plastic boards. My boards are rock maple. It has an even grain, so the hardness of the wood is similar throughout the rings of the tree. Oak has definite hard/soft rings, which is very apparent if you do woodworking and stain a piece of oak. A cutting board should be hard enough not to allow the knife to cut into it and remove pieces and wear quickly or absorb fluids deeply into it (easily helped by oiling with mineral oil), but not so hard that it dulls the knife, which means granite, acrylic and glass boards are out. I have no idea if other woods you mentioned, like ironwood is good or bad. One other very tough wood you can check out, since you seem inclined to look at exotic woods is Ekki. It is very hard, tough, has an extremely high elastic modulus and is water resistant. The boardwalks at Disney/Epcot are made of it. You have to cut it with a diamond saw blade. It cannot be nailed, you MUST pre-drill all screw holes. It is naturally insect resistant (I hope there aren't wood boring insects in your cutting boards) and is possibly the toughest wood on the planet. Google it.


On May 10, 2006 at 12:18 AM, Chopper (guest) said...
Subject: Thank You
I am amazed to have come across such a fantastic site. Tumbling across such a large informed group of people, with interests so close to my heart has astounded me. You have just found an avid reader of chopping board tips.

Love,

Bobette


On May 14, 2006 at 04:30 PM, Seth (guest) said...
Subject: Wood toxicity?
I just found a very nice hardwood cutting board
at a nearby Vietnamese market, for quite a reasonable
price. But since it's a Chinese product with very little
text on the label, I have no idea what wood it is.

The wood has a noticeable odor. I don't love it but
I don't mind it. A friend likes it.

What I am wondering is, what sort of risk
does one run by using an unknown wood?
Assuming it is a toxic wood (Chinese products
on the cheap aren't exactly carefully tested for
product safety), how much would it actually
impart to the food?

Yeah, I'm thinking I'll bring it in to my local hardwood
store. But who knows when that will happen.

Any thoughts? Anyone ever have a problem with a toxic
cutting board or hear of one? Nothing I've found on Google.
Thanks!


On June 05, 2006 at 12:07 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Wood/Plastic/Granite
I just wanted to say that if you have the space, and the budget, it's nice to have at least one of each kind of board, as they all have advantages in different areas.

I'll start with the Granites. For presentation purposes, they can't be beat, especialy for cheese or fruits, where you want the ability to allow people to do there own cutting. Who really cares about a dulling a cheese knife? I love to serve Brie en Croute (http://www.puffpastry.com/recipedetail.aspx?recipeID=23992&rc=1 for a simple recipe), which entails quite a bit of hacking away at to enjoy, and my nicely finished granite board serves admirably. Especially when it comes time to clean up all of the bits of cheese and pastry dough that would be hopelessly ground into a wooden board.

When my wife first brought home three flexible plastic boards she had bought for a dollar, I will admit to a certain amount of skepticism and disdain. I was quickly converted to their use, however. I'm not one to be overly sterile in my kitchen, but it is nice to have 10 or 15 of these boards stashed in a cupboard to be pulled out as needed. As I progress through various parts of a meal, they are tossed to the side of the sink for a trip through the dishwasher later, or straight to the trash if stained or worn. They excel for slicing veggies and such to be immediately placed in a saute pan, as mentioned earlier in this forum. They also fit perfectly in a cookie sheet with a 1/2" raised edge that I have, which is great for items with a lot of runoff, such as portioning a cooked rack of lamb, then sliding the plastic out to place the meat back in a warmer. Overall, a very versatile, and for the sterile-minded, disposable option.

And finally, my wooden board. They do require some care and maintenance. I do not recommend bleach, which is a fairly toxic substance to be spraying around food as much as a few have mentioned in this forum. A vinegar solution or a citrus cleaner works better, is better for the wood, and helps to prevent grease buildup. A good sanding followed by a thick coat of Mineral Oil (as a side note, Linseed is not an edible oil, causing immediate disposal of my previous board when my daughter first started to help in the kitchen) about every three to four months keeps it good shape. I haven't tried salt as previously mentioned in this forum, but it does sound like it's worth testing out. I started out with a 3" rock maple board, which is still over 2 1/2" thick after almost 7 years of sanding and heavy usage. This is my prefered board for any heavy chopping or cutting, especially with my good knives.

Well, this was a bit longer than I expected, but I wanted to point out that there's a good use for every type of board, depending on the situation.


On June 17, 2006 at 03:59 PM, MeganAmyH said...
Hands down, my favourite cutting board is the Epicurean, which is lightweight, doesn't get deep grooves from the cutting, doesn't dull knives, and can be put in the dishwasher.

They call it "Richlite", but it's essentially a similar material to what they are making decks out of these days...wood fibers mixed with a polymer. The thing holds up really well, and the knife marks don't darken up over time like wood does. Really, though, I can't stress the "dishwasher safe" part enough, either. I admit it, I'm lazy, and I love that board!


On July 19, 2006 at 10:49 AM, germologist (guest) said...
eltonyo, waay back in 2005, needs to get a little bit more microbial knowledge. Yes antibiotics shouldn't come near your kitchen. Bleach is not an antibiotic (like penicillin), it is antibacterial. Hot soap and water is about the best thing for cleaning anywhere in your house and kitchen. Yes, bacteria are everywhere, but they are not all benign in our human bodies - while I am quite happy to eat a nice big bowl of yoghurt (seething with bacteria), you won't find me licking out a potty or munching on raw chicken (which is probably pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics as well as a nice dose of resistant bacteria). Anyway, good luck to you onyo, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, eh?


On July 19, 2006 at 03:04 PM, GaryProtein said...
Here is a real article on sanitation of cutting boards.

http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Cutboard.html

also check this:

http://whatscookingamerica.net/CuttingBoards/AllAbout.htm


On July 20, 2006 at 03:40 AM, germologist (guest) said...
Exactly garyprotein. Scrubbing with bicarbonate of soda and common salt is also effective in reducing bacterial loads. Remember clean [u:583399ef7e]and [/u:583399ef7e]dry.


On August 02, 2006 at 04:47 AM, cautious (guest) said...
Subject: chopping blocks
I have a beautiful old chopping block from a Chinatown meat market. It has been moved from place to place with me but never used, as I never knew how to get it disinfected. (Not sure what would have been harder on it germ-wise-----all the Peking ducks, etc., chopped on it, or all the dirty moving trucks and basements I've relegated it to.) Anyway, I am ready to set it up and need someone to summarize for me precisely what I should do to initially clean it and then maintain it. It is about 15 inches deep and about a yard long on each side----a real beaut! When we got it, we had part of the top removed but retained a slight "bowl" in the center, to maintain a little bit of history. There are a million cuts in that section, and part of the whole block has a crack in it (like, 8 inches deep from top to bottom). I am a "germ-o-phobe" and would love to use this precious piece of our Chinatown's history without worrying about what's lurking in the cracks.

So glad I found this site, and thank you all for your expertise.

Oh----I do have one more question----do products like "OxyClean" sanitize laundry and/or surfaces cleaned with it?


On August 09, 2006 at 04:59 PM, Beth (guest) said...
Subject: Epicurean boards
On Jun 17, 2006 at 11:59 AM, MeganAmyH said...
Quote:
Hands down, my favourite cutting board is the Epicurean, which is lightweight, doesn't get deep grooves from the cutting, doesn't dull knives, and can be put in the dishwasher.



I work in management for Crate and Barrel and recently we were visited by our friendly Wusthof knife representative. He stated that Wusthof (a leading cutlery manufacturer since 1814) does not recommend using Epicurean cutting boards. He stated that if the wood composite is so strong as to not be damaged/grooved by your cutlery (as most epicurian manufacturers claim) then your knives are being damaged instead. Yes, you want a strong surface to cut upon, but don't get anything so hard that it damages your knife blades.


On August 19, 2006 at 11:46 PM, Hob (guest) said...
Interesting link that of GaryProtein (http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Cutboard.html).
This is suposed to be a place to scientifically discuss all the weird science of cooking. I'd love to see any scientific references to the suposed "repulsion" of bacteria of wooden chopping boards as I'm quite surprised with that assertion.

I've been in several cooking courses and we always use polyethylene boards. Wood is forbidden by sanitary laws here in Spain and restaurants have to use a color coded polyethylene table for each type of food. Now, I don't know if polyethylene is the same as what you generally call 'plastic'...

Anyhow I'm confused. According to the mentioned study, a simple water wash of a wooden surface gets rid of 98.5% of bacteria whereas with plastic it's only 75.3% (things change when you use vinager though). That kind of brings back the question about what is actually called 'plastic' in terms of composition.


On August 25, 2006 at 01:40 PM, chiefkid (guest) said...
Subject: Oils for cutting boards
If I can't oil my cutting boards with mineral oil, does anyone have any other suggestions ? Eg peanut oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or any other ?

Does anyone actually have any experience of oiling with cooking oil and having it go rancid ? I thought that in theory oil can only go rancid when it is heated to past a certain temperature (different for different oils) and the molecules start to break down. I assume in practice no one actually heats the cutting board so this should not be an issue - or is my science all wrong ?


On August 29, 2006 at 01:55 AM, GaryProtein said...
Subject: Re: Oils for cutting boards
chiefkid wrote:
If I can't oil my cutting boards with mineral oil, does anyone have any other suggestions ? Eg peanut oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or any other ?

Does anyone actually have any experience of oiling with cooking oil and having it go rancid ? I thought that in theory oil can only go rancid when it is heated to past a certain temperature (different for different oils) and the molecules start to break down. I assume in practice no one actually heats the cutting board so this should not be an issue - or is my science all wrong ?


First, why can't you use mineral oil on your cutting boards??????????

Second, you can ONLY use mineral oil on cutting boards. Vegetable oils of any type will go rancid and smell, regardless of the temperature. Go to a pharmacy and get food grade/laxative mineral oil/intestinal lubricant, yes its all the same, and go to town oiling the board. Starting with a clean dry board, pour about one ounce on a 16x20" board and allow it to stand overnight, then wipe and allow the rest to naturally soak in. After that, with normal use, about one tablespoon spread out the same way once a week will keep your board in fine shape. Normal washing removes the oils, so weekly applications are necessary.


On September 22, 2006 at 05:24 PM, Ray Clausen (guest) said...
Subject: Shattered glass cutting board
This morning my wife was cleaning her 16x19" glass cutting board with ordinary soap and warm water.

The board shattered into myriad pieces with a sound she described as "like someone threw a big stone through the window."

Fortunately she only had a small cut on one finger.

I helped clean up the mess - it was awesome - the pieces nearly filled a standard coffee can.

She had another board just like it in storage and that is now on the countertop - I'd surely like to avoid such a thing happening again.

Can anyone tell me why such a thing could happen?


On September 22, 2006 at 11:10 PM, ModlrMike said...
I have several cutting boards. I have some plastic sheet type... a blue one for poultry, a red one for meat, and two white ones for veg/general items. I have a small plastic one for breads, and a glass one for cooked meats. I find the glass one works best for hot foods as it tolerates the heat best.


On October 12, 2006 at 08:57 PM, robgies said...
Subject: Glass Cutting boards
I have worked in the food industry over the years in delis, restaurants and cafes. I have seen the mistakes that people make when it comes to contamination both in the home and in restaurant environments. The biggest threat there is for contamination on cutting boards comes from gross negligence. If it were the case that a person cleaned a cutting board with heat, soap and water and a few bacteria were left the chance of making someone sick would be very low. The vast majority of food born illness from cutting boards is because the person doesn't know proper cleaning procedure . One of the reasons I hate glass cutting boards is that I see people buy them because they think they are easier to clean and then they get lazy. I watch as they take their miracle wiping rag and wipe the surface of the glass and then claim that it is clean. The excuse they use is " It's a clean rag therefore it must be making the surface clean. I have even seen people cut raw chicken and other meats then wipe the glass and then cut raw vegetables for a salad, guess who's getting salmonella tonight. Even in the case of wood where people make the claim the wood kills bacteria the claim is completely useless because it is just not possible to have a test for bacteria every time it is used therefore you don't really know if it has killed the bacteria. Also the other mistake people make is thinking they have cleaned a surface with soap and water but they get stingy with the soap. To truly clean a surface all of the oils, fats etc have to be broken down and removed. Traces of oil left on a surface can act as protection for bacteria. In all of my research I have found that acetal plastic also known as delrin is the best for cutting boards. It is hard, can be resurfaced when needed and has very low absorbtion of liquids compared to wood and nylon. Also the claims that hard plastics dull knives is not true. Look up the hardness of knife steels and then the hardness of hard plastics like delrin, they aren't even in the same ballpark.

Rob


On October 14, 2006 at 03:26 AM, EngineeringProfessor said...
Subject: Re: Shattered glass cutting board
Ray Clausen wrote:
This morning my wife was cleaning her 16x19" glass cutting board with ordinary soap and warm water.

The board shattered into myriad pieces with a sound she described as "like someone threw a big stone through the window."

Can anyone tell me why such a thing could happen?


Tesla would enjoy offering a hypothesis. Since he is not here, I'll stand in for him. It could be that vibration was set up during the washing (rubbing could do this) that was at the natural frequency or one of the modes of the board (see the MATLAB logo) and micro-scratches that have accumulated over time finally gave way. Time to pitch the other board, it may suffer the same fate. Delrin, see a prior post in this thread, is the way to go.


On October 20, 2006 at 02:56 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Cutting Boards
I've heard bamboo cutting boards are also tough on knives (as are glass cutting boards).


On October 28, 2006 at 06:58 PM, Knife Maker (guest) said...
Subject: Glass, granite, Corian... cutting boards
I own a knife manufacturing business. Cutting on very hard surfaces: granite, most of all, but also glass and corian takes the edge off of your knives almost immediately. They can also cause the edge to chip very easily. It's like buying a car and then deciding you can run it without oil. Just don't go there.

Corey Milligan
New West KnifeWorks
www.newwestknifeworks.com


On November 11, 2006 at 02:47 AM, Truck Driver (guest) said...
Subject: Thanks for the great info
I grew up in a house with *one* chopping block. It was a little better than two feet square, and stood on legs in the middle of our kitchen.

My parents, and later I, cut everything that needed to be cut on that block, from mushrooms to mackeral. We mixed, rolled out dough, performed minor surgery, and in one particularly acrobatic move, my mother escaped an evil looking little snake by leaping on top of it. And I never remember any of us getting sick from anything we ate. The block is still there, and still in use by my father every day.

My wife and I have talked about getting an old butcher block for our kitchen, and I have recently come into possesion of a slightly larger model than the one I grew up with [30 inches wide by five feet long by 15 inches thick... love at first sight] that I plan on moving into the house Christmas Eve after my wife goes to sleep. The problem is that she used to work in a hospital, and has been trained that plastic and bleach is the only way to go.

I'm hoping that this page might help me to convince her to let me actually use this thing like it was meant to be used!


On November 11, 2006 at 01:57 PM, GaryProtein said...
Go for it, but may be an uphill battle with her. You might have to lock her in the pantry while you cook, but you only live once. Get the wood block.


On November 26, 2006 at 03:08 PM, jimootz (guest) said...
I have used cider vinegar and salt with a good stiff brush for years to clean my boards. I do have a favorite board that has developed a crack. This board I spray a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water let it sit, then the vinegar salt solution, oil it and it's been fine for years. Jim


On December 11, 2006 at 01:33 AM, Truck Driver (guest) said...
Subject: Butcher Block
Hmm... Locking her in the pantry might not be a bad idea, but all we have is a curtain over that door...

I've been working on the old butcher block. When I got it, it had been given up on by it's owner - dried out, cracked badly... I've soaked and oiled it and allmost all the cracks have closed up - another week and I'll have it ready to use... now all I have to do is figure out how to sneak a half-ton block of wood into the house in the middle of the night!

This is an engineers forum - any bright ideas?

:-)


On December 12, 2006 at 01:58 PM, Hob (guest) said...
Subject: what, no engineers/scientists around?
4 months after my post and I haven't seend any "proof" about the claims that wood kill bacteria (which seems nonsense to me).
Any real engineer/scientist here that prove their claims with reputable sources?.


Hob wrote:
Interesting link that of GaryProtein (http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Cutboard.html).
This is suposed to be a place to scientifically discuss all the weird science of cooking. I'd love to see any scientific references to the suposed "repulsion" of bacteria of wooden chopping boards as I'm quite surprised with that assertion.

I've been in several cooking courses and we always use polyethylene boards. Wood is forbidden by sanitary laws here in Spain and restaurants have to use a color coded polyethylene table for each type of food. Now, I don't know if polyethylene is the same as what you generally call 'plastic'...

Anyhow I'm confused. According to the mentioned study, a simple water wash of a wooden surface gets rid of 98.5% of bacteria whereas with plastic it's only 75.3% (things change when you use vinager though). That kind of brings back the question about what is actually called 'plastic' in terms of composition.


On December 23, 2006 at 05:00 PM, Truck Driver (guest) said...
Subject: Re: what, no engineers/scientists around?
Hob wrote:
...I haven't seend any "proof" about the claims that wood kill bacteria (which seems nonsense to me)...
Hob;

Such a claim seems nonsensical to me as well. Of course, I've not heard that claim... The claim that I have heard, and that appears to be explained quite clearly in the opening post of this thread, is that the surface of wooden cuting boards are inhospitable to bacteria. The bacteria die beacuse they have no water. They have no water because wood, being porous, allows water to migrate away from the surface. This is in contrast to a non-porous, plastic (poly) board. Cuts that develop on the surface of a plastic cutting board trap water, giving bacteria a nice cozy home.

Hob wrote:
...Any real engineer/scientist here that prove their claims with reputable sources...?
Alas, Im not a "real engineer"... just world-wise.

Hob wrote:
...I'd love to see any scientific references to the suposed "repulsion" of bacteria of wooden chopping boards...
As I said, I'm not a "real engineer." but the only repulsive force I am aware of is magnetism and as, to my knowledge, neither wood nor bacteria are magnetic there is probably no repulsion between them. If anything, they are attracted to each other by their own slight gravity ;) .

Hob wrote:
...I'm confused. According to the mentioned study, a simple water wash of a wooden surface gets rid of 98.5% of bacteria whereas with plastic it's only 75.3% ...
This is probably due to the surface texture of the different materials. The surface of (most) plastic boards is rough, whereas the surface of a wooden board (at least when new) is very smooth. A water wash of the smooth surface will naturally remove more than a water wash of a rough surface.

Anyway, I've gotten the old butcher block ready, and fabbed up some casters for it. This afternoon I'm building a frame for it to sit on, and I'm hoping to use that frame, along with a set of dollies I developed for moving industrial ranges, to get it into the house tomorrow - Y'all wish me luck!

Merry Christmas to all

TD


On December 27, 2006 at 01:24 AM, msfitz (guest) said...
Subject: Shattered glass board
I believe that the glass cutting board shattered for the same reason our shower door did... tempering.

Durable glass in residential use that may suffer traumatic breakage is treated to prevent dangerous shards. Glass used in doors, auto shields, etc. will bust up into less harmful nuggets but the noise is impressive!

I asked my husband to install a glass shelf on the tiled wall of the shower. But when he tried to install the last screw where it butted up against the glass wall, the explosion was so loud, our son came running in with his loaded pistol!

All you have to do is start the tiniest of cracks and BLAM! The cutting board probably had a nearly invisible hairline imperfection.


On December 29, 2006 at 10:00 AM, Biogeek (guest) said...
Does anybody use a Corian cutting board? Is it really bacteria resistant?

I bought one from Williams-Sonoma on sale, but I might end up returning it. I understand that corian cutting boards aren't the best cutting board for knives, but my knives aren't that good anyways.


On December 29, 2006 at 07:43 PM, GaryProtein said...
Corian is a mineral filled acrylic composite resin. It will ruin your knives.


On January 09, 2007 at 01:44 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Re: what, no engineers/scientists around?
Hi Truck Driver,

Truck Driver wrote:
Hob wrote:
...I haven't seend any "proof" about the claims that wood kill bacteria (which seems nonsense to me)...
Hob;

Such a claim seems nonsensical to me as well. Of course, I've not heard that claim... The claim that I have heard, and that appears to be explained quite clearly in the opening post of this thread, is that the surface of wooden cuting boards are inhospitable to bacteria. The bacteria die beacuse they have no water. They have no water because wood, being porous, allows water to migrate away from the surface. This is in contrast to a non-porous, plastic (poly) board. Cuts that develop on the surface of a plastic cutting board trap water, giving bacteria a nice cozy home.


I was actually referring to the original article in which it's said "after the surface of the wood has been cleaned and dried, the bacteria near the surface dies." Well, for that matter, in a plastic cutting board would happen the same effect: after the surface of the plastic has been cleaned and dried the bacteria in the surface dies -as it has no water to live in-. Even more, since there's no absorption of water, a plastic board would elude another terrifying fact that is that (according to the writer) "there are lots of bacteria living in the cutting board, but about 1/8 in. below the surface". A bacteria party in your table!

Truck Driver wrote:

Hob wrote:
...I'd love to see any scientific references to the suposed "repulsion" of bacteria of wooden chopping boards...
As I said, I'm not a "real engineer." but the only repulsive force I am aware of is magnetism and as, to my knowledge, neither wood nor bacteria are magnetic there is probably no repulsion between them. If anything, they are attracted to each other by their own slight gravity ;) .


I quoted "repulsion" as in "approximate and satirical sense" but actually I never mentioned the intervention of any forces. In any case, take "repulsion" as action of repulsing or repelling. After all, you must excuse my attempts to be understood as I'm just a poor spaniard trying to talk in english ;-)

Reverting to the original talk, I find this bacteria wars *nonsensical* . I seriously doubt any restaurant takes all the scrupulous directions to clean and dry the surface of a table after each use. It would simply be more time cleaning, rising and waiting to be dry than using it!. And people don't get sick eating in restaurants (normally). Let's admit that we ingest quite a number of bacteria and that our bodies takes care of them no problem. I think it'd make us live happier :-)

Cheers.


On January 09, 2007 at 01:45 PM, Hob (guest) said...
Subject: Re: what, no engineers/scientists around?
Hi Truck Driver,

Truck Driver wrote:
Hob wrote:
...I haven't seend any "proof" about the claims that wood kill bacteria (which seems nonsense to me)...
Hob;

Such a claim seems nonsensical to me as well. Of course, I've not heard that claim... The claim that I have heard, and that appears to be explained quite clearly in the opening post of this thread, is that the surface of wooden cuting boards are inhospitable to bacteria. The bacteria die beacuse they have no water. They have no water because wood, being porous, allows water to migrate away from the surface. This is in contrast to a non-porous, plastic (poly) board. Cuts that develop on the surface of a plastic cutting board trap water, giving bacteria a nice cozy home.


I was actually referring to the original article in which it's said "after the surface of the wood has been cleaned and dried, the bacteria near the surface dies." Well, for that matter, in a plastic cutting board would happen the same effect: after the surface of the plastic has been cleaned and dried the bacteria in the surface dies -as it has no water to live in-. Even more, since there's no absorption of water, a plastic board would elude another terrifying fact that is that (according to the writer) "there are lots of bacteria living in the cutting board, but about 1/8 in. below the surface". A bacteria party in your table!

Truck Driver wrote:

Hob wrote:
...I'd love to see any scientific references to the suposed "repulsion" of bacteria of wooden chopping boards...
As I said, I'm not a "real engineer." but the only repulsive force I am aware of is magnetism and as, to my knowledge, neither wood nor bacteria are magnetic there is probably no repulsion between them. If anything, they are attracted to each other by their own slight gravity ;) .


I quoted "repulsion" as in "approximate and satirical sense" but actually I never mentioned the intervention of any forces. In any case, take "repulsion" as action of repulsing or repelling. After all, you must excuse my attempts to be understood as I'm just a poor spaniard trying to talk in english ;-)

Reverting to the original talk, I find this bacteria wars *nonsensical* . I seriously doubt any restaurant takes all the scrupulous directions to clean and dry the surface of a table after each use. It would simply be more time cleaning, rising and waiting to be dry than using it!. And people don't get sick eating in restaurants (normally). Let's admit that we ingest quite a number of bacteria and that our bodies takes care of them no problem. I think it'd make us live happier :-)

Cheers.


On January 10, 2007 at 12:46 AM, Cansurf (guest) said...
Subject: cutting board resurfacing mobile
Hey there folks, here's an anwser to ompletely removing bacteria from a cutting board. Hire me Canadian Resurfacing & Knife Sharpening INC. Were a Moncton NB based mobile unit that specializes in resurfacing plastic and wooden cutting boards by putting them through a similar system as industruial thickness planing. Our system is specialy modified for plastic surfaces. We refinish the boards right in your parking lot. Takes 2 minutes and cost way less them buying new. We also special order any size to fit any table or counter, in white or colours(6).We also sharpen knives mobile.
Gary Devarennes / CEO
canadianresurfacing@rogers.com


On January 30, 2007 at 05:12 PM, Vintage Sab (guest) said...
Subject: Chinese cutting boards, etc.
Wow!
What a site! You know what they say about opinions! They are like ***holes....Everybody's got one and they all stink! Nevertheless, this is one facinating and interesting read! Thanks to all. Here is one more stinky opinion: Seth, way back in May, asked about Chinese cutting boards and materials. If I were you, Seth, I would stay away from your new Chinese cutting board. Two reasons. That smell you mentioned, may be the wood or may be the glue they used to laminate the pieces together. Who knows what form of toxic glue they might have used. Who knows what wood it is? Secondly, I spend a lot of time in China. I love the place, so don't get me wrong, but, one of many aspects about China I DON'T like is that they seem to have little regard for environmental degradation, with exceptions, of course, and I see TONS of stuff made out of fantastic tropical hardwoods in the shops and markets of Beijing. Where are they getting all this fine wood from, with which to make that horrible carved schlock they sell? Not in China, as they used up their valuable and scarce tropical hardwoods decades ago making fine furniture. No, it's coming, most of it illegally, from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. I have a particular fondness for wooden articles from China, but I don't buy anything I can't verify is very old.
As a secondary note, most exotic or tropical hardwoods might be a sketchy choice for inclusion in a cutting board. Most tropical hardwoods in the Legume family, Dalbergias and Pterocarpus species, like rosewoods and Paduak, etc., could contain alkaloids, esters and other organic chemicals which could be slightly toxic. Having said that, though, in practice I don't think I'd personally worry too much about using a well finished and properly oiled Padauk cutting board. It is a beautiful and very stable and durable hardwood, with good resistance to crushing or deformation.
As for knife dulling, tropical hardwoods can also contain relatively high amounts of silica or other calcerous deposits in their vessels, making the potential for knife damage slightly higher. As for bamboo, it looks like a winner and is a renewable resource, making it, on the surface, a great choice. I have read somewhere though, that bamboo is composed of millions of almost microscopic fibers. They are very short and can be very sharp and almost invisible. This may or may not be an area of concern regarding bamboo as a cutting board material, and, in practice, this caveat may not be applicable. That's my two cents.


On April 10, 2007 at 12:14 PM, Piecesofwood (guest) said...
Subject: Wood is Good
Wood is good. Always has been, and there's no amount of propaganda to the contrary that will change this. Microbes are what they are and will survive and flourish in appropiate conditions.

Sanitation is largely a common sense issue. How to clean, what to clean with, etc., depends mainly on application. For dis-infecting, I will say that 3% hydrogen peroxide is a viable alternative to smelly bleach.

Dean Cliver has performed numerous comparative studies of the safety of wood versus other materials for use in cutting boards. Read some of his findings here:


http://leechesson.com/On_the_Chopping_Block.htm


On May 14, 2007 at 03:40 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: why do my wooden chopping board gets bend?
I would like to ask, why do my wooden chopping board get bends in the middle part after using for some time? It makes my chopping harder as the board is not plane when I place it on a my table. Hope to hear from you guys soon.


On May 14, 2007 at 04:36 AM, GaryProtein said...
Are they thin wood, kept wet in the sink for prolonged periods, washed in the dishwasher or made of one plank of wood? Any of these reasons can cause bending (warping).


On May 20, 2007 at 08:22 PM, Mark (guest) said...
Subject: Cutting Board Taste
I'm a woody--still using the three pig-shaped maple boards my father-in-law made for us 23 years ago.

I clean with soap and water and have never oiled. Maybe I'm a lucky optimist, but I'm of the school that exposure to bacteria is a good thing. It's kind of like lifting weights--keeps you in shape immunilogically. Viruses and bacteria don't make you sick, it's the inability of your body to fight them.

Anyway, since my wife has very sensitive taste buds, I have the pig face to the left for savory--meat, garlic, onion, tomato, etc. I flip it over to face right for sweet--apples, mango, pineapple. Ginger can go either way depending on the dish.

Great site!


On July 29, 2007 at 04:57 PM, danaleks said...
Subject: Warped wood boards
A college roommate left one of my wooden boards in a sink with one corner higher than all the rest. The board warped. A lot!

N.B. - Prior to doing the following operation, I let my roommate know what a twit he was for almost ruining my cutting board!

I soaked the board in water for a few hours and put it on a flat surface, "hump" side up, with a weight on it. For a weight, I used a quart jar (with a lid) full of water.

I kept the board moist until it flattened out. Then I let it dry on a flat surface.

Also, if you have a board that slides around on the counter, place a slightly damp towel under it. Wash your hands and use the towel to dry them, that's about how damp it needs to be.


On August 16, 2007 at 08:47 PM, EXROGUE2@AOL.COM (guest) said...
Subject: CHINESE BOARDS
JUST A NOTE....BE CAREFUL OF ANY BOARDS MADE IN CHINA...AS YOU MAY KNOW A LOT OF PRODUCTS ARE BEING FOUND CONTAINING LEAD AND VARIOUS OTHER CHEMICALS. FLEXIBLE CUTTING BOARDS MADE IN THE USA ARE FDA APPROVED AND ARE 100% SAFE. I WOULD NOT CUT UP MEAT SCRAPS FOR MY DOG ON ANYTHING IMPORTED FROM CHINA. ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.[/b]


On October 07, 2007 at 01:03 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: cleaning a board covered with mouse droppings
I am rehabbing a kitchen and the under the counter cutting board was stuck in its slot. After much tugging the board finally came free, complete with dried mouse dropping and stains. I've scrubbed it and it looks clean and stain free, but will it ever be clean enough to use again? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sherri in Texas


On October 08, 2007 at 10:40 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: cleaning a board covered with mouse droppings
Anonymous wrote:
I've scrubbed it and it looks clean and stain free, but will it ever be clean enough to use again? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

If you're really concerned after using a bleach solution, you can always sand it down a little - enough to take the top layer of the board off (assuming it's a wood board).


On November 17, 2007 at 02:03 PM, gobble turkey (guest) said...
Subject: pecan pies
Can cooked pecan pies be frozen?


On January 07, 2008 at 04:26 AM, gfairbairn (guest) said...
Subject: Great Blog!
Excellent Blog! This is right up my alley as I love molecular gastronomy! I will be reading this blog everytime you post a new one! Keep it up!

Athena Foods - Cook Like a Goddess


On January 11, 2008 at 10:22 PM, paul (guest) said...
Subject: bamboo boards on the cheap
I have gotten several beautiful bamboo cutting boards at TJ Maxx. I was surprised by the amount of relatively high-end cooking supplies at a store that I had thought to be mainly full of discount clothing and shoes. They have boards, knives, pots, pans as well as spices and jarred sauces in their housewares sections.

I always hear that bamboo can be prohibitively expensive, but you can get boards there for $5-30. Definitely worth checking out.


On April 29, 2008 at 12:46 AM, dianamccauley (guest) said...
Subject: cutting boards
an objection to using a clorox solution to clean a cutting board is that clorox is cancer causing. please what is your response to this?


On April 29, 2008 at 02:52 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: cutting boards
dianamccauley wrote:
an objection to using a clorox solution to clean a cutting board is that clorox is cancer causing. please what is your response to this?

I don't really have a response for this.. but I did spend the last twenty minutes searching for any "proof" that household bleach causes cancer. Apparently there are a lot of "healthy living" websites and books that claim this, but I have yet to find an authoritative source that makes this claim. Obviously, I'm not well versed in this area, so if anyone wants to help out and find me a paper or report that suggests there is a causal link between bleach and cancer, please respond. (And, no websites that have names like "Committee to Protect the Family Health" or "Living Life Research" please...)


On April 29, 2008 at 05:59 PM, GaryProtein said...
Here is the MSDS sheet for "Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Bleach (Issued: 7/2007)"

http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/products/msds/commercialsolutions/cloroxcommercialsolutionscloroxbleach7-07.pdf

Products for the home do not have MSDS sheets. This is the exact same product with a commercial label.

here is a link for all Clorox company products:

http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/products/msds/index.html


Sometimes, the MSDS sheets are a bit overdone, especially considering that the exact same home products, when applied with a commercial label, such as with bleach or hand soap. For example, in my office, the MSDS label for hand soap says "in case of contact with skin, wash with soap and water." :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


On April 29, 2008 at 06:00 PM, Dilbert said...
on hazard.com page search the msds servers

leads to
http://www2.siri.org/msds/index.php

google/search

SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE MSDS

and you'll find a few billion hits


On April 30, 2008 at 05:39 AM, Michael Chu said...
Here's the MSDS page for clorox bleach...
http://www2.siri.org/msds/f2/brz/brzyq.html


On June 13, 2008 at 06:04 PM, an anonymous reader said...
If the Gods wanted us to make plastic cutting boards they would have made plastic trees!!IKXDX


On July 11, 2008 at 09:12 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: My two cents on cutting boards....safety and types.
I'm a cook, and work in a kitchen store, neither of which make me an expert, but I've done enough research to put a few cents in:

First, wood vs plastic. Wood doesn't "kill" bacteria, but it doesn't support live bacteria as well as plastic. The following link is to a University study where they looked at both, and found that bacteria generally didn't live as long on wood as plastic. As a disclaimer, it *is* from the John Boos (manufacturer of wood boards) web site, but it's NOT their study

http://www.johnboos.com/support/documents/science_report1.pdf

I've used wood for most everything (vegetables and cooked meat) for years. I clean it with hot soapy water every night, a thin bleach solution every once in a while, and oil it with mineral oil every couple of months. I've had the same board for about 5 years, and it's working great.

I use a big slab of poly plastic board for raw meat and poultry, then just shove it right in the dishwasher.

Nobody in my family has gotten sick yet.

The idea isn't to make your surfaces "sterile", or to remove all bacteria from your environment. As was mentioned, there's bacteria all over the place. The idea is to avoid, especially, things like salmonella and e coli...and cross contaminating with above mentioned meanies.

Granite: death on your knives, same with glass, stainless steel, or anything else that doesn't show cuts.

Our store sells Epicurean cutting boards, which are wood fiber, as well as Wusthof knives. Our Wusthof rep has never mentioned anything to us about them, and they do show cuts (which is generally the final test for cutability). If it doesn't show cuts, it's killing your knives. We also sharpen knives, and haven't had complaints about them.


On September 27, 2008 at 01:46 PM, johngl (guest) said...
Subject: Make your own cutting board
Reading through some of these comments, I noticed that use of bleach frightened certain people and others didn't like the materials from which their cutting boards were made.

For many years, I have been using ordinary white vinegar to cleanse all ov my wooden cutting boards. Vinegar is just acidic enough to kill bacteria and it is food safe. Even Cook's Illustrated said it did great job when cleaning fruit and veggies.

As for boards, just get some unfinished hardwood (maple is nice) from your own lumber supplier and secure a couple pieces together. I picked up a couple of solid hardwood shelf boards and made a 24"x36" cutting board that cost all of about $20. It has been in near constant use for over eight years. I love the thing!


On December 01, 2008 at 06:55 PM, Shard (guest) said...
Subject: Various health concerns
After reading some recent info on Bisphenol A and Phthalates, I am slowly banning all plastics from the house. Originally I was going to switch to a glass cutting board, but am now considering a wooden board based on this article. However, I am coming across some information about the health effects of mineral oil as well. I believe I will stick with a regiment of vinegar and microwaving for disinfecting purposes. Please do your research and understand the health risks of any choices you make.


On December 01, 2008 at 07:55 PM, Dilbert said...
Shard,

>>> switch to a glass cutting board,
now that is a really bad idea for your knives.

>>>>>>>> the health risks of any choices you make.
the people in California have conclusively established that _the number one_ leading cause of death is life.

so, if you just stop living, nothing will harm you, you'll never die, you'll never get sick, you'll never get cancer. what could be more simple? just do not live!

>>>>>some information about the health effects of mineral oil as well.
I can point you to nut-case web sites that'll "prove"
- using canola oil, since it comes from the mustard family, and we all know mustard gas is made from mustard, will kill you
- eat soy and DIE
- two otherwise healthy young women _died_ from drinking water

for every event, thought, idea, concept or proposal there are more internet nut cases than truth.

independent thought and common sense are a really good thing.


On December 02, 2008 at 02:04 AM, Howard said...
Dilbert wrote:
Shard,

>>> switch to a glass cutting board,
now that is a really bad idea for your knives.

>>>>>>>> the health risks of any choices you make.
the people in California have conclusively established that _the number one_ leading cause of death is life.

so, if you just stop living, nothing will harm you, you'll never die, you'll never get sick, you'll never get cancer. what could be more simple? just do not live!

I agree. Why worry at all? :)


On December 10, 2008 at 01:16 AM, Shard (guest) said...
Hmm, I guess you're right. This will save me a lot of time, I can stop worrying about cross-contamination, and skip washing my cutting boards altogether.


On December 12, 2008 at 04:17 AM, Jim Cooley said...
Mineral oil: it's a laxative AND a cutting board preservative!


On March 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: A few bits and pieces
Just adding a few cents (sense?) of my own.

This is caused by differential expansion. As a rule of thumb whatever you do to one side of a board you should do to the other. Rinse the other side of a board when you wash it. So use mineral oil on the board, but do it on both sides and ensure you treat the edges if it is a non-end-grain board.

You can also use tung oil which is a more effective sealant. Can be a problem to some people with severe nut allergies.

A common way that causes split is to store a non-end-grain board on its end when it is not dry. The end grain readily absorbs water by capillary action.

The hardness of an end grain board should not really that much effect. The advantage of an end-grain is that the knife slides between the fibres and does not dull the knife as an 'ordinary' where the knife is cutting the fibres.

A very sharp knife has a fine edge that is dulled not by the edge being worn away but by it being bent over in the process of cutting. A couple of strokes with a steel realigns the edge (honing). Eventually it does get worn out and need sharpening. That is a different process.

The tempered glass that shattered...that effect can be cause by taking glass out of a freezer and putting it under hot water. I am sure that wasn't done in this case.


On April 10, 2009 at 02:14 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: The best cutting boards I have found
Love the site! I actually live in the UK for now and read your recipe for limeade, in my attempt to recreate our beloved (and much missed) margaritas. Anyway, I digress.

For what it's worth, the best cutting boards I have found are the Joyce Chen Spot N Chop cutting boards. Not so much for the spot, but more for the chop! Bottom line, they are great boards with excellent performance.

I have two of each size in my kitchen - large, small, and party (party?). Regardless of the names, they are great. And I just found out that they make one called a Pastry cutting surface - looks like I'm going to be getting one of those, too. Enjoy!

You can check them out here. http://www.joycechen.com/jc/common/index.php?

Bob


On September 29, 2009 at 08:56 AM, mjevans (guest) said...
Hi guys. If you're looking for chopping boards in the UK I can recommend these guys: Alliance Catering Supplies

Great selection and fast delivery.


On October 28, 2009 at 10:44 AM, danicamoore said...
I am using bamboo chopping board. Pretty good to use on my own opinion. Did anyone use bamboo as well?


On December 02, 2009 at 10:36 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Storing my board
So, I just bought a 3 -1/2" thick maple end grain board. I wanted something tall to keep better posture. Bad Back. Anyway, the manufacturer's web site says that I should not store my board flat on the counter (no air flow). Really? That's a bummer. I'd like to keep it on my counter top, but now I'm worried. Anyone have any experience in this matter. Recommendations? Thanks.


On December 02, 2009 at 10:46 PM, Dilbert said...
well, do what I did - get some little rubber bumpers/feet from the home store - the kind with real metal screws - keeps it off the counter and non-slip, too.


On January 18, 2010 at 09:10 PM, John (guest) said...
It's interesting how many solutions people have come up with for keeping the board in place...the shelf liner makes me chuckle (though I'm sure it gets the job done). For my part, I usually put a damp paper towel under the board. They probably taught me to do that when I was a prep cook, but I don't remember. You can wipe up with the towel, so it's not like it goes to waste.


On February 02, 2010 at 08:45 PM, mike (guest) said...
Subject: Epicurean
What about the Epicurean cutting boards? They claim to combine the best traits of wood and plastic. They say they won't dull your knives, they offer a good grip, and they are dishwasher safe. Also they are made of recycled cardboard.
I have a small Epicurean board but seldom use it due to its size (and we got it for use on the boat, not at home). My mother has a large one and she seems to like it ok.


On February 03, 2010 at 04:35 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Epicurean
mike wrote:
What about the Epicurean cutting boards? They claim to combine the best traits of wood and plastic. They say they won't dull your knives, they offer a good grip, and they are dishwasher safe. Also they are made of recycled cardboard.
I have a small Epicurean board but seldom use it due to its size (and we got it for use on the boat, not at home). My mother has a large one and she seems to like it ok.

In the last year, I've picked up three Epicurean boards. It does seem like the best of all worlds - feels like wood, relatively lightweight, and machine washable if need be. Also, you don't have to oil them to maintain them. They are my go to boards now.


On February 12, 2010 at 10:06 PM, engineer's wife (guest) said...
Subject: Sanalite cutting board? Any advice?
After reading your forum discussion I did a web search to find cutting board options and found the following. Would like to know if any regulars on this forum have tried this kind of cutting board and how you think it compares to wood or other surfaces. Link:
http://www.polyzone.com/asp/Product.asp?PG=2186


On February 12, 2010 at 11:12 PM, Dilbert said...
according to the manufacturer, it's high density polyethylene.

nothing too special, "premium," [whatever] about it.

HDPE is easy on knife edges, cuts, nicks, warps, holds bacteria in the cuts. but goes in the dishwasher.


On March 21, 2010 at 06:00 AM, LB (guest) said...
Subject: Kitchen surfaces
I hail from a long line of butchers, bakers, cooks, teachers, candy makers, and artists. OMG, I can not fathom cutting on any glass surface! YIKES! It totally frightens me! (Chips, scratches, breakage..!) I use granite/marble slab for candy and rolling out pasty; butcher block for kneading breads, pasta mixing, cookies, making sandwiches, cleaning vegies, light cutting, prepping, and cooling pies :) BUT for cutting meats I always use a med sized "EPICUREAN!" cutting board. It's very hard surface is friendly to knives and is dishwasher safe.. I do not hesitate to put mine in the sanitization cycle of my dishwasher. It is available in comfortable colors, does not stain, does not slip, tolerates bleach, and is made in the U.S.A.!!! (One of the very best features!!!) :)


On March 21, 2010 at 06:13 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Kitchen surfaces
LB wrote:
BUT for cutting meats I always use a med sized "EPICUREAN!" cutting board. It's very hard surface is friendly to knives and is dishwasher safe.. I do not hesitate to put mine in the sanitization cycle of my dishwasher. It is available in comfortable colors, does not stain, does not slip, tolerates bleach, and is made in the U.S.A.!!! (One of the very best features!!!) :)

For the last 9 months I have been cutting on nothing but Epicurean boards - and I have to say they are my favorite cutting boards now. Relatively lightweight, easy to wash (hand wash or machine), fast to cut on, and doesn't wear down the edge of my blade.


On June 09, 2010 at 07:49 PM, Amanda (guest) said...
Subject: Re: Storing my board
Anonymous wrote:
So, I just bought a 3 -1/2" thick maple end grain board. I wanted something tall to keep better posture. Bad Back. Anyway, the manufacturer's web site says that I should not store my board flat on the counter (no air flow). Really? That's a bummer. I'd like to keep it on my counter top, but now I'm worried. Anyone have any experience in this matter. Recommendations? Thanks.


You could put "feet" on the bottom of your board so that it can breath.


On June 24, 2010 at 11:25 PM, mikeymike (guest) said...
Subject: Very Helpful
Thank you for the very helpful site. Much appreciated!


On July 24, 2010 at 07:11 PM, Tur211 (guest) said...
Subject: Types of boards
I was wondering, what would be the best board- I know that you said maple was the best, but can you please specify what kind of maple? Also, what is the difference between a maple butchers block and a regular maple cutting board? Thx.


On July 24, 2010 at 08:31 PM, Dilbert said...
"sugar maple" is the usual culprit - but be aware it has many 'common' names that vary by locale. another is 'rock maple'

"butcher block" style is traditionally defined to mean that the grain of the wood is vertical - not hard to spot because the cutting board looks like a lot of little blocks glued together (akin to a checker board pattern) and it's rather thick - 2 inches or more.

less expensive maple cutting boards use 'boards' where the grain runs horizontal. they are typically thinner than butcher block construction.


On September 11, 2010 at 01:07 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: cutting boards
I have a large cutting board made from recycled cedar. Every week it is scrubbed and then heavily salted while wet and left to dry overnight with the salt on. Next morning, the salt is wiped off and the wood is oiled. I figure that should cover any bacteria contingencies. The board is 10 years old now and still in excellent condition.


cheers


On December 26, 2010 at 07:52 PM, Jim Cooley said...
Subject: Re: Wood Cutting Boards
Edited by Cooking For Engineers: The first part of this message was in response to a spam comment that has since been removed.

I've also begun to suspect that a wet (wooden) cutting board is easier on my knives than a dry one. Anyone else noticed this?[/b]


On December 27, 2010 at 05:48 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Wood Cutting Boards
Jim Cooley wrote:
I've also begun to suspect that a wet (wooden) cutting board is easier on my knives than a dry one. Anyone else noticed this?[/b]

I think that is true. Certainly, I've found a wet board to be much softer than a dry one, but it also tends to be "slower" (my knives don't glide as rapidly over the surface).


On December 25, 2011 at 05:42 AM, tkjtkj (guest) said...
Subject: Why not discuss 'cutting mats' ?
Flexible cutting mats are very good and multi-purpose, too: they can be rolled up to act as a funnel, fascillitating transfer of the food to a container or cooking pan.


On February 04, 2012 at 04:42 AM, Geeman (guest) said...
Subject: Beware of the Epicurean boards !!!!
Hi,
I am alarmed at the amount of positive regard for the Epicurean boards.

I will not use mine. Why?:

I came accross this product which was glistening with Eco and ethical credentials, in addition to the claim that they are anti-bacterial...
I bought one because of these overtly wonderful claims. The instructions indicated to wash prior to use, and warned that once wet, the board would smell somewhat. The instructions stated that this would not last long and the smell would soon fade.

I attempted to wash the board. As soon as it was wetted, I noticed a very distinct smell that I recalled from my childhood - the smell of Bakerlite (spelling incorrect?). This stuff was used in decades previous in plastic-like products and powerboards etc.

I searched the manufacturers website and found out IN ONE TINY OBSCURE SECTION that they use Formaldehyde to help set the resin as per products such as Bakerlite etc. No wonder nothing will grow on it!

If memory serves, the company appears to be diversifying from skate ramp manufacture into the chopping board market.

It claimed that the levels of Formaldahyde were at safe levels (food grade Formaldehyde).
I researched very breifly but beyond the website and found that claims as to safe levels of formadehyde are controversial.

I encourage you do the research!!!!!

If I can smell Bakerlite, formaldehyde is going to be in the food I eat. I do not want to consume Formaldehyde. I understand it is in every household (e.g. wall paint etc.). I also have to breathe other persons' cigarette smoke at times, but would not choose to smoke the stuff myself.

Beware a company's obligation to improve it's bottom line. Time and time again, we find that decisions of organisations are not made with public health in mind despite the potential effects on public health. For example, I vaguely recall some information that "sensitive individuals" may have allergic or asthmatic reactions to Formaldehyde even at food grade levels. My daughter is asthmatic, but the "Epicurean"s mentioned nil cautions on their labelling. I am sure they know that identifying their product as containing toxic substances would generate zero sales. I am also sure that this chemical is most probably used in many other products including chopping boards. That is why I will not buy Chinese made, glued boards.

I make no claims as to the accuracy of my statements. I only looked at this site to see if I need tto oil a huon pine cutting board (single board, anti-bacterial properties). I encourage others to do the research for themselves. You ARE on your own!


On May 13, 2012 at 01:51 PM, Kralingen (guest) said...
Subject: Glass boards
I have two glass cutting boards. I think they do a great job. Only downside is they are loud when cutting on them. Certainly no chance of the knife scarring the board and creating places for bacteria to hide.

Also, a solution if your board is bigger than your sink: soak half at a time - I stand my biggest board up in the sink so half of it is immersied. Let that soak, scrub it and flip the board over to do the other side.


On January 11, 2013 at 11:42 AM, NathanielB said...
Thanks for all the information, I only have one cutting board at the moment, but after reading this article I think I will have to go out and buy a few more :)
Thanks, Nath


On February 17, 2013 at 10:41 PM, Terje (guest) said...
Two Norwegian chefs have created a cutting board with Ipad socket, watch this:
http://www.osloby.no/shopping/Hva-med-en-fjol-med-plass-til-nettbrett-7121541.html


On June 15, 2013 at 03:10 AM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: Cutting Boards
I'm a beginner in Wood Working and just discovered End-Cut cutting boards that are frightfully expensive, but worth every penny. I intend to make one for myself, and the wood alone, will cost about $50, not including my time to make. For completness sake, you should also provide this very expesive cutting boards in your reviews.


On August 23, 2013 at 03:47 AM, Baz (guest) said...
Subject: Cleaning cutting board with UV - the SUN!
Hi Michael
Great blog. We scrub plastic and wood boards with mild detergent and then put them in the sun in a sheltered place (no bird droppings!) and the ultraviolet light in the sun sanitizes them. We live at a moderate altitude where there is a high UV light level.

This method also works for any kitchen gear, and should also be used with scrubbers, klitchen cloths and sponges. AND it's cheap!

Regards
Baz


On March 30, 2014 at 11:11 PM, EricIndiana (guest) said...
Subject: Microwaving wooden boards
Aaag! I just ruined my wooden cutting board by microwaving it. The smell of cooked resin or glue still pervades the house. The microwave caused what had looked like one solid piece of wood to fall apart. Maybe it works with really thick boards, but I am here to warn you NOT to try to sanitize your beloved wooden chopping board in the microwave. I feel like an idiot, especially since my wife was asking me what I was doing and I was reassuring that I read all about it on the internet, so not to worry. :(


On April 05, 2014 at 05:16 AM, Michael Chu said...
Oh no! How long did you microwave the board and how powerful was the microwave oven? I'm going to remove the mention of microwaving as a potential sanitization method as I haven't recommend it in years (because it can dry out and split a wooden board if not careful... and apparently melt resin/glue in the case of your board). I can't believe some of these articles are ten years old now.


On April 06, 2014 at 04:23 PM, Jim Cooley said...
I'll throw in another tip for wooden cutting boards (not end-cut).

When washing them, wash BOTH sides, even if you've only used just one. Water makes wood swell and if you repeatedly wash just one side even that tiny bit of swelling will eventually cause the board to warp. So get both sides wet when you wash.

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