Cutting boards are among the most important articles in a kitchen, and since they are used for most preparations, choosing one that is hygienic and hardy is important. A long-drawn debate about the best material for cutting boards has not ended yet, and it looks like it is going to be a while before it does end. Here we tell you what materials are considered best for these boards. Based on these you may decide which one suits your needs best. Take a look.
The Best Cutting Board Materials (Popular Consumer Opinion): Wood/Bamboo
For a long time now, wood has been touted as a better material than the other varieties available. This is because it offers the following benefits:
- Wood is a natural material that makes it more eco-friendly than materials such as plastic.
- Good quality wood cutting boards can be refinished to last longer.
- Boards made of maple wood are known to have antibacterial properties which means they are safer to use.
- Wood does not stain as easily as do other materials used for cutting boards do.
- The edges of wooden boards can be made softer and safer to use than other boards such as plastic that cannot.
- It is also a safe board to use for cutting meat, though separate boards should be maintained when cutting vegetables and meat.
- Finally, wood is safe for a variety of knives and will not wear them out so easily.
Now, a wooden cutting board also has its disadvantages, some of which include its high maintenance, its inability to resist high amounts of moisture (which inevitably makes it prone to harboring bacteria), the inability to clean it in a dishwasher, and its ability to get scratched easily. However, as mentioned earlier, wood can be refinished every now and then to get rid of those scratches. Plus if you are really up to it, taking good care of a cutting board will make all the difference.
Bamboo cutting boards are similar to those made of wood, and offer similar advantages and disadvantages as does wood. The only thing that makes bamboo better is that it comes from a quick renewable source (bamboo regrows in 3-6 years) and can therefore be termed as a highly eco-friendly material. These of course are not the only good materials for cutting boards. There are others, each with their pros and cons, and it is up to you to decide which one will work best for you.
Other Cutting Board Surfaces
Apart from a wooden ones, the verdict is in favor of plastic cutting boards. Some experts believe that plastic varieties are safer because they are less prone to harboring bacteria than wood, and have even been favored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, studies have proven this belief wrong and found that plastic can be as unsafe as wood when it comes to this aspect.
Now, plastic also has some advantages to offer.
- Plastic is definitely a material that is easy to clean and maintain.
- It is an inexpensive material as compared to other materials for cutting boards.
- They can be easily cleaned in dishwashers.
- Finally, they are good to knives and allow them to last longer.
Like any other material, for plastic to last long it is important that it be maintained well. Certain disadvantages of using a plastic cutting board include its easy wear and tear, its ability to get scratched easily and therefore harbor harmful bacteria, and the fact that it is not an eco-friendly material. With plastic being a lighter material, it is likely that it may slip easily while working on it, which is why you need to choose one that has suction pumps to keep it in place. All plastic cutting boards should be disinfected before they are placed in the dishwasher, as without this step the cleaning action may not be good enough.
Finally, there are other varieties such as composite and glass cutting boards. Composite boards, made of fibers and bound with glue have laminated tops that are durable, but are likely to give off odors very easily. These are also not great for different types of knives used on their surfaces. Glass by far, is the worst for knives, and is difficult to maintain too as it can get scratched easily though it is tempered. Glass may not be a very ideal surface for cutting.
So based on this comparison, you can now decide what according to you is the best cutting board material. While wood and bamboo make it as the best in popular consumer opinion, it is possible that your opinion may vary. It is only important to understand that when you notice signs of irreparable wear and tear (be it plastic, wood or bamboo), use your discretion and get rid of the board at the earliest.