A Kitchen Essential: Your Guide to Cutting Boards
A large wooden cutting board is a kitchen essential. Here’s why. Almost everything that must be prepared for a meal starts at a cutting board. The first consideration is safety. That’s why you want a wooden cutting board that is at least 14 inches wide by 20 inches long. The bigger the better, because you want to have plenty of room on your work surface. When space is cramped, the likelihood of knife injuries increases dramatically, because you often have to adjust the slicing motion or hold your hands in an awkward way, writes food expert Becky Kristal in The Washington Post. Another reason for a large board is to keep food intact. When you slice, dice or chop on smaller boards, food tends to travel off the board and onto the countertop or floor. While that may be a nice treat for the family dog, it does little to help keep you organized while cooking.
Larger cutting boards tend to be heavier, reducing the possibility that they will shift during use. If your cutting board does tend to slide, Kristal recommends putting a wet paper towel or piece of shelf liner under the board. Larger boards also make cutting and chopping larger foods such as watermelons, butternut squash or the Thanksgiving turkey a lot easier.
Wood is the preferred material for cutting boards because it is kinder to knives. Glass boards may look great but they will dull your knives. So too will plates and countertops. Wood and plastic boards can take the abuse of meal preparation without dulling blades. Both materials – wood and plastic – are easy to clean with hot soapy water. Wood boards benefit from an occasional application of mineral oil to prevent them from drying out and absorbing moisture from whatever you are cutting.
Wooden boards can serve multiple purposes in a kitchen beyond a tool to prepare food. They can double as a serving platter for cheese, appetizers or even to display bread. Boards can expand available counter space if they are placed over a sink and can provide an aesthetic statement if leaned up against a wall.
Many of our clients decide to renovate their kitchen because they love to cook or want to create a better environment for gatherings of family and friends. That’s why we encourage our clients to have at least two or three cutting boards in their kitchens. The large wooden board should be the go-to tool. According to research as the University of California at Davis, wooden boards trap and kill potentially harmful bacteria. Plastic boards with lots of nicks and scratches are not as effective in trapping and killing bacteria.
Practicality also tells us that you don’t want to cut raw vegetables on the same board you use to prepare raw chicken. That’s why having two boards makes sense. To help avoid potential contamination, dedicate one board for proteins – chicken, beef, fish, pork, etc. – and the other for fruits, vegetables and everything else. A plastic board works well for proteins and washing plastic boards in a dishwasher kills bacteria, claims the University of California Davis. Wooden boards should be cleaned by hand. Avoid letting wooden boards stand in a pool of water. Doing so can damage the board.
A great wooden cutting board and one or two others makes preparing meals a lot easier and more enjoyable. That’s why we help our clients build the kitchens of their dreams because we make their lives easier and more rewarding. If you would like to discuss the process involved in a kitchen renovation or how to make your existing kitchen function more effectively, please give us a call at 215-657-6110 or visit our showroom at 2124 Moreland Road, Abington, PA 19001.