Cutting board preferences

Just ordered a new chefs knife (Miyabi Birchwood 8") and it has me thinking about our cutting boards. I have a standard red plastic (or the like) from Target, that probably needs to go (starting to worry I might be eating bits of the board) and one made from Corain countertop I bought at a crafts fair. It seems that one is to soft and the other too hard.

What do you use? I like the idea of a butchers block, but I worry about meat and fish (or is this what those really thing cutting mats for). Or does the quality of the knife mean that I won’t be pushing as hard against the board and don’t need to worry so much about what I’m using?

I have a few cutting boards, they are all made of wood. Some end grain, some edge grain.

I didn’t quite get your question about meat and fish on a butcher block?

I have several large, heavy plastic boards from a restaurant supply store in addition to a large Boos block. I love the Boos, but I generally grab the plastic boards for meat. Much easier to throw them in the dishwasher than to sterilize the wood board.

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I use the Kitchen Aid cutting boards. They are sturdy and don’t move on the counter. Costco sells them sometimes as a 2 board pack (1 big, 1 medium), but I have seen them at Homegoods before too. I have a couple small boards for small jobs like cutting limes too.

I use plastic boards and not wood as I wash and sterilize my boards in the dishwasher.

I have lots of wood and bamboo boards. I wash them with soap and water. That’s all.

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I’m worried about being able to sterilize wood.

Why do you want to sterilize? Hot soapy water does the trick for me.

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Here’s the numbers:

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

I use thin plastic ones so I can have a pile of them. They must have a handle. Everything but knives goes into the d/w here. I also have a Boos and an older bamboo one that get no action.

You are referencing a document from 19 years ago. I’m sure we can all agree that research and findings have changed during that time. Not to mention, that article you linked to does state that washing a wood board with soap leaves more microorganisms on it than washing a plastic board with soap:

Here is a more recent article from 2013 from the USDA regarding washing and sanitizing cutting boards: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/cutting-boards-and-food-safety

Thanks for that. And from that this is exactly what I do: “To keep all cutting boards clean, the Hotline recommends washing them with hot, soapy water after each use; then rinse with clear water and air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.”

I’m 69 y.o. and have gotten sick from food once and that was salmonella tainted American produced peanut butter that didn’t get pulled from the shelf in Brazil!

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I have a large Core end cut bamboo board I use for veggies and three plastic ones I use for meats and then toss in the dishwasher.

Works for me.

Right, but the next paragraph in that article also gives instructions on how to sanitize boards. If you are not sanitizing them, you are leaving microorganisms on them that could make you (or someone who eats your food) ill. Children, the elderly and the immune compromised are at a bigger risk of getting sick that a healthy adult. Why risk making a loved one ill just because you haven’t gotten ill yourself?

Well, to my knowledge, no one who’s ever eaten at our homes have ever gotten sick either. But as Sam F used to say we live in a “magic house.” And, yes, I’ve feed all ages of people and immune compromised.

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For vegetables and bread, a J.K. Adams 16-Inch Square End-Grain Cherry Chunk Cutting Board (nice and solid, no splitting or warping after years of use):

For meat, chicken, and seafood, Sanituff beige rubber boards (easy to wash, shallow knife cuts and stains can easily be removed with fine sandpaper):

For a small, casual cutting surface, thin plastic cutting sheets similar to these (also handy for placing on top of the cherry board when cutting both veggies and meat/chicken/seafood):

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While I can’t say I am playing with fire or not, I have a bamboo board that I cut all kinds of meat on. I only wash it with soap and cold water and let it air dry.

I cook everything that I cut. Never a problem for me.

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I have several styles and sizes of wooden boards which are used for vegetables, cooked meat and cheese. Raw meat and anything oily gets cut on plastic boards which go in the dishwasher

My ultra thin plastic mats don’t see much action. Just when grating cheese or to put over a wooden board when hammering meat thin.

I personally do not worry about sterilizing a wood cutting board. As long as you wash your wood cutting board with some water and detergent, you are really fine. Keep in mind that after cutting your food, you are most likely going to cook the food anyway. Almost 100% of the time, we get sick from the foods themselves, not the cutting boards. Think about it? How often you hear from the news that people get food poison because a cutting board, as opposed to the food. How do you want to sanitize your cutting boards? In a dishwasher? This can potentially spread the bacteria even to more places:

"Small plastic cutting boards can be cleaned in a dishwasher (as can some
specially treated wooden boards), but the dishwasher may distribute
the bacteria onto other food-contact surfaces. "

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aoac/jaoac/2006/00000089/00000002/art00027

That being said, if you really want a surface which you can easily sterilize, then you should be looking at a glass cutting board or a stainless steel cutting board. Unfortunately, they are horrible for knives and they have other problems, like food and knives slipping on the surface – which I think is much more dangerous.

There was another study like the one you have shown. The finding itself is NOT wrong per sa, but it can be taken out of context. While it may be true that it is easier to clean a brand new plastic cutting board than a brand new wood cutting board (wood being more porous), another study shows that an old (heavily scarred) wood cutting board harbor less bacteria than an old (heavily scarred) plastic cutting board.

In short, if you are willing to replace your plastic boards often, then the plastic board route is slightly more sanitized. If you want to keep using your cutting boards for years, then a wood board is slightly more sanitized.

I won’t say the plastic vs wood debate has been concluded. Other recent studies have shown that wood is safer. I honestly think both are just as good, and the difference really is small as long as you keep safe practice.

“Contaminated raw samples were placed on polyethylene and wooden cutting boards to simulate bacterial transfer to cutting boards…Moreover, transfer rates of L. monocytogenes from wooden cutting boards at holding time of 1 h to both cooled and hot cooked samples were lower than those from polyethylene cutting board.”

I’ve always wondered about cleaning butcher block tables, and cutting boards that are integrated into the counter top, as seen on many cooking shows. Chefs mince and crush alliums on these. What happens to the flavor of fruit or other produce that’s also prepped on that wooden surface? For a long time I used a cheap wooden cutting board for everything, but one side was for alliums, flesh, eggs, and cheese, the opposite side for baked goods, nuts, and all other produce. I cleaned it with just a wet paper towel (magic house). There was always a whiff of onion on one side so it was easy to distinguish one from the other. If I goofed, and sliced a piece of fruit on the wrong side, it tasted of allium.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold