I am a fan and advocate of wood cutting boards. They have been in use for hundreds of years, and to this day still are used in the same way as by our predecessors. With the introduction of plastic cutting boards, there has been an ongoing debate whether which is the safer material to use when it came to handling raw meats and its inherent bacteria. A quick search on the internet pulls up many articles, research, and opinions regarding this debate of natural versus man-made.
To briefly summarize: wood boards do take on bacteria, but a negligible amount that is subsequently absorbed into the wood where it ceases to reproduce and then dies off. Non-porous plastic boards do not absorb any bacteria.
But here is the catch: Properly sanitizing a plastic board requires washing it in very hot (190F) water, which is hotter than the water deployed by most dishwashers (120F). Also, plastic will wear down over prolonged use; its originally smooth surface becomes scored and uneven from repeated knife contact. It is at this point that the plastic begins to retain bacteria. Contaminants become increasingly harder to wash out of the roughened surface. Whereas in the case of a wooden chopping block that absorbs and naturally leaves bacteria to die off, a plastic board has a finite period of use after which it then actually harbors all the unwanted strings of e.coli and salmonella.
So, in the end, I am a fan and advocate of wooden cutting boards. They have been in use for hundreds of years and serve their purpose well in the kitchen. There are many types of boards to choose from, my favorites are those made from end-grain hardwoods or bamboo. Both types are extremely durable and, with proper care, will last a lifetime.
– mineral oil (food safe)
– clean rag
1. Make sure wood board is clean and dry before oiling.
2. Working in small sections, apply a small amount of mineral oil onto the board, then rub it into the wood with the rag. Wipe off any excess mineral oil, and allow to dry before using the board again.
3. Wasn’t that easy? Now go chop something!
* Use a food-safe mineral oil! Do not use a cooking oil; it will absorb into the wood and then go rancid.
* After using your board, rinse or wipe them clean with a damp towel, then dry them. Never leave a wood board soaking in water, otherwise it will mildew!