When it comes to whipping up your favorite and delicious dishes, the ingredients are just part of the process. How you prepare those ingredients, whether the recipe calls for just two ingredients or ten, matters in how your dish turns out.
Especially when slicing, dicing or chiffonading, your choice in tools to use in creating your masterpiece can be the difference between an elegantly plated and uniform dish or a messy pile that, while tastes delicious, may be missing out on the quality appearance.
Obviously, the quality and sharpness of your knife plays a big factor in the precision and detail of your chopping, julienne or wedging. A sharper knife allows you to smoothly and consistently guide your knife through the ingredients without smooshing or bruising.
Another key tool used in preparing ingredients with precision is your cutting board. This hard surface provides the framework to work with your foods as you transform them into delicious dishes. From slicing fruits to tenderizing meats to finely chiffonading your fresh herbs, you need a board that helps you get the job done.
But not all cutting boards are created equal. Boards can be made of a variety of materials and strengths, which affects what foods you can use on it and how long they last. Some are considered better for the health of the environment while others are praised for being the most sanitary.
So how are you to choose which cutting board is the right fit for you and your ingredients? The decision often is rooted in the material the board is made out of, which affects all factors of a successful cutting board that can last for years. Here we share some important things you should know as you select the right cutting board.
Wooden cutting boards have often been ranked at the top for sanitation, durability and knife preservation. End grain wood or edge grain wood boards are hard surfaces that are gentle on your knives, keeping them sharper for longer.
Wooden boards can also be kind to the environment as many are made from recycled wood material. It’s a renewable resource that can also be easily customized with an engraving or stamp, making it a great gift idea, too. Having wooden cutting boards can be a great decor addition to your kitchen, making it both practical and decorative.
One downside to wooden boards is in the cleaning and maintenance stage. Unlike other boards, you won’t be able to throw your wooden cutting board into the dishwasher or let it sit in a sink full of water for long periods of time. Unfortunately, wooden cutting boards aren’t able to be used in restaurant settings. To clean it at home for your own personal use, you can use salt, lemon or vinegar to wipe the board clean and keep it sanitized. If you do use soap and water to clean it, make sure you allow it to dry completely before storing it away or using it again.
As you preserve the hard surface of your board, it’s helpful to oil your board occasionally with a food-grade oil to keep it from warping. With the right care and maintenance, your wooden board can help you keep creating delicious dishes for years and years.
Similar to wooden cutting boards, bamboo boards are also made out of renewable material that is ideal for the environment as it doesn’t involve any additional chemicals in collecting of the hard grass. Bamboo is also celebrated for not absorbing as much water as wooden boards, which makes them a great sanitary choice, as well.
However, unlike wooden boards, bamboo boards are harder than wood, making it tougher on your knives as you use them on the surface. The glue used to piece the bamboo together can also potentially chip your knife. Be careful with bamboo.
Plastic cuttings boards are perhaps the most commonly found on kitchen counters. They’re fairly inexpensive, easy to store, quick to clean and can be used for all kinds of foods. This convenience factor has made it a top choice for many at-home chefs.
A concern with plastic boards is the level of sanitation it can maintain. While boards can be easily disinfected with bleach or vinegar initially, the amount of bacteria found on these boards can be a concern. Maintenance and cleanliness is key to keeping these boards effective.
The density or durability of your plastic also plays a major role in how easily your board can accumulate bacteria and its safety for use in the kitchen. A harder board will show cut marks less easily.
However, with proper and consistent upkeep and sanitation steps, plastic can certainly be a great way to go in using cutting boards. It’s cheap, durable and gets the job done for a certain amount of time. Just be mindful of how you clean them to ensure the food you prepare is both delicious and healthy.
Glass and stone boards look cool. But they can be detrimental to the sharpness of your knives. The sounds made by your knife as it glides across the surface can also be quite unpleasant, making it not an ideal choice for a cutting board. While it’s easy to clean and can be decorative, glass and stone boards are just too tough on your knives for it to be considered a sustainable solution to your chopping and slicing needs.
The right cutting board can help you immensely in food preparation, preserving your knives and keeping your family safe from harmful bacteria. An important step in keeping your boards at the highest quality is proper maintenance and sanitation after every use. Taking care of your boards can help them last longer and keep you cutting, chopping, slicing and chiffonading for months and years to come.
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