Sam F was genius! Miss him and his well-researched posts.
On to cutting boards – at this house, I use both restaurant supply store plastic boards and wood cutting boards as well as one standing butcher block. One of the wooden ones dates from 1963 and is doing beautifully. Lots of scars and fond food memories. For the butcher block, I’ll wash with hot soapy water and scrape the top, removing gunk, with a bench scraper before finishing with mineral oil. This does not happen but about twice a year.
I do not put the plastic in the DW, they’re too large. They’re scrubbed with hot water & soap with an occasional bleach treatment. To remove tough stains, I use baking soda.
In the restaurant and culinary school, we always put the plastic boards in the DW. It’s both easier & faster than cleaning by hand. At home, I don’t worry nearly as much about cross-contamination, etc. We’re clean but not obsessively so.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” has been updated by my sons to include “… but also next to impossible”.
Sam F was genius! Miss him and his well-researched posts.
I keep a small cutting board just for fruit to avoid any flavor transfer.
The amended quote is one of my favorites!
I do care about sanitation and cleanliness, so I have multiple board types at home - from the thin plastic sized mats, to a heavier Joseph Joseph style plastic and then an anti-bacterial wood cutting board I received as a gift. Despite all these options, I reach for the thin plastic mats 99.5% of the time. They are larger in surface area which is great! They are easy to clean up, and quite frankly pretty cheap to replace when they do start to get scarred. I do wish they could make them about twice as thick just to give them more weight, but I have little complaint otherwise.
While the other boards I have are nice, they’re just not as easy. Being a small person, it’s just hard to lift giant chunks of wood or steel (ugh, cast iron!) constantly, and maneuver them for cleaning.
I have two boos - which I love and wash with salt and then hot water. They are clean and well kept and I’ve had them for decades.
For meats and fish - I know many say the wood cutting boards / blocks are fine, which they may well be - but my Mom gave me a glass (very thick) cutting board when I got married (over 30 years ago) and I use that for meats, fish, tomatoes, beets… probably out of habit more than anything else. I never use plastic.
I have a Birchwood chefs 8"–almost too beautiful to use–and three cutting board: two wood, and one larger poly that fits over one of my double sinks. I’ve used my Birchwood most frequently with the wood, but I don’t worry about it with the poly.
OP chiming back in. Thanks for all the feedback!
The conflicting studies on the safety of wood vs. plastic are interesting. I’m leaning towards a wood board, I have a small space and I like things that are functional and beautiful. I might get some of the plastic mats for raw meat/fish as well (at least before the next time mom comes to visit).
It is funny how irrational/superstitious some cooking/sanitation ‘rules’ are. I think nothing about picking something I drop up of the floor and throwing it in the pot (or a quick rinse and in my mouth). And I use the same plastic boards for meat and veg - just not for the same meal. No good reason for this - just always have followed this rule. I also believe that pouring boiling water over a cutting board will ‘sanitize’ it - but I’m almost certain the temperature needs to remain high for a longer period of time (and this does nothing for botulism).
This is one thing I like about the plastic mats too - the different colors allow you to stay safe and not confuse different surfaces. I have been also known to lay a plastic mat on top of a wood cutting board every once in a blue moon.
That’s what I figure I will do - I haven’t liked cutting on just the mat.
I use bamboo exclusively, except for one hard plastic one that I usually use for meat preparation.
But I also use the bamboo ones for the same thing - give it a good scrub with a soapy plastic brush, rinse it off, oil it with cutting board oil as needed, and they still look great.
On occasion I’ll spritz with white vinegar
Beautiful cherry board, TanukiSoup!
I have a Boos wooden board. When I need to trim fish I do it on the butcher paper it was wrapped in; for land meat or beets I usually (not always) pull out a thin plastic mat and then put that in the d/w. If I’m lazy I cut right on the wood board and then wash it. Beet stains eventually wash/wear off. I don’t cut raw meat on it often enough to worry about. The board gets a coating of oil every so often.
I use a cabinet steel (a rectangular scraper) to keep my end grain board clean, and re oil as needed. I was amazed at how much oil it initially took to keep the board saturated—the better part of a quart on a 16 X 22 in board! The surface is silky smooth. I don’t know if the oil has sealed it, but tastes don’t seem to carry over on it. About the only thing I cut on a separate board are really hot peppers, and this is not based any problems I’ve had, just concern over how strong those oils are.
Agree about the your food sanitation comment, I wonder if domestic boards have ever been a source of food poisoning given the low volume of food prepared, the relatively high frequency of cleaning, and that most food is cooked/eaten soon after it is prepared.
Boards used in commercial situations are different as they are used for lots more food, the amount of food prepared between each clean is higher, and much food is cut up early in the day and then stored before being cooked to order during service. So a higher standard of cleaning is a necessity.
I have used just about every type of board, wood, plastic, stone etc. I have used big heavy boards and small light ones. I still have about ten chopping boards in various cupboards. The big heavy wood one is now in the workshop as it was too heavy, the fine wood ones are kept for serving food i.e. as cheese boards, and the plastic ones just lurk in the back of the cupboard.
I now use an Epicurean board from their Gourmet range - it has the qualities of wood in that it doesn’t blunt knives, is very light, and can be soaked in water or washed in the dishwasher. It’s also relatively heatproof - although I need to replace mine as it blistered after I put a superheated/burnt pan on it (the surprising speed of an induction hob). It’s the first board I plan to replace with the same brand which is in itself a testament to its utility.
I just started using a silicone cutting board. It’s pure silicone, about 12 x 18 inches, maybe 1/4 inch thick, kind of floppy and slightly spongy feeling, no strong odor.
I was surprised that even a very sharp knife didn’t seem to cut into its surface during a typical veggie prep session. Of course, it was super easy on the knife edge.
They say you can wash it in the dishwasher or even sterilize it in the microwave. Its temperature rating is 520 degrees F, so it won’t melt if you put a hot pan on it.
So far, it seems to be a handy addition to the other cutting boards I use.
Hi! I prefer sustainable cutting boards which are made from natural materials. It needs additional care with the help of oil, but it’s the best decision in my life.
I really like bamboo cutting boards, which are sturdy, practical, and can be bought on a budget. My fav ones are Royal Craft Wood Boards.
I have three cutting board: two hardwood–and one poly. I use the wood for most purposes, but use the poly primarily for meat. Bamboo seems a bit rigid–my hardwood is softer and easier on the edge. The softer steel knives probably would work OK with bamboo, but any Rockwell 58 or higher probably would do better with somewhat softer boards.
Like others, I use plastic for vegetables and wood for meat. I have a bamboo board but it’s very hard on the knives. I wash the wood with soap and water – more carefully for chicken than meats. I rarely cut fish – I prefer to cook to cook fillets whole – so fish and shrimp never touch the wood.