Selecting a Cutting Board: The Pros and Cons of Wood vs. Plastic

When shopping for a good set of knives for your kitchen, another important consideration is the cutting board, a necessity to protect those expensive knives. Available in a variety of materials, the two types that are most often selected are wooden and plastic. Cook's Illustrated, one of our favorite resources to turn to for advice when selecting equipment for the kitchen, recently did an article on wood versus plastic cutting boards.

Plastic Cutting BoardsThey preferred plastic boards made out of polyethylene. This type of board is dishwasher-safe and therefore easy to clean. Other features they suggested looking for included wells to catch juices and counter grips. Size is an important consideration as well, especially if you plan to wash it in the dishwasher.

They actually suggested having three cutting boards in your kitchen, if space allows. One board should be used to chop garlic and onions, both foods that have strong odors. Another should be reserved for raw poultry and meat and a third for other foods.

Wood Cutting BoardIf you have a favorite wooden cutting board and want to continue using it, they advise you to season the board with mineral oil to build water resistance and prevent warping. Wooden boards should never be washed in the dishwasher.

Regardless of which material you choose, every board should be properly cleaned after each use either in the dishwasher or by hand with hot soapy water and then sanitizing with a light bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water).

Part of a well equipped kitchen is a proper cutting board that will protect your expensive counter tops and knives and provide a safe work surface. Follow these easy guidelines and you’ll make meal preparation easy and worry-free.

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