Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Motivation: Caring for your Cutting Board



As a kitchen tool that gets daily use, a good cutting board is worth the chunk of money you plunked down to buy it.  To get your money's worth it's best to take good care of this kitchen helper before  it gets ruined.

Wooden cutting boards are preferred by many cooks because they protect your knives and a large one is heavy enough to not slip around while you're cutting.  They also create a more pleasant sound when being cut on (versus ceramic or hard plastic) and will last forever.

With wooden cutting boards you need to sanitize the board as well as protect it.  To wash it you can wash it by hand with a scrub brush and dish washing liquid with very hot water.  Rinse and then air dry.  To sanitize it, scrub with salt and a half of a lemon.  Rinse with hot water and air dry standing on end. 
Don't ever wash a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher or let it sit and soak in the sink. 

To protect the board, coat it with oil whenever the surface starts to fade in color or look "thirsty".  There are cooks who say to only use mineral oil but I'm a little wary of using mineral oil on a cooking surface.  I prefer to use olive oil or coconut oil making sure oil is well absorbed before I store the board in the cupboard.  In the past, cooks were told to not use cooking oil because it could go rancid.  Newer boards that are used and washed regularly won't have a chance to go rancid.  You can decide what will work best for your kitchen.  Rory from Tools are for Women Too has a good post about protecting a cutting board.  He also makes nice boards that you can buy.

Plastic cutting boards are popular because they are so cheap to buy and come in many colors.  I think of them as being a short term solution because they get cut up quickly and will need to be discarded.  They are handy to pack in a picnic basket or for occasional use.  They can be washed in the dishwasher and need no protection.

I guess I should also mention ceramic/glass cutting boards even though I don't like them at all.  I can't stand to cut on them because of the awful sound that is made when the knife is cutting on the surface.  To me it's like fingernails on a chalkboard.  Yikes!  I also found out that they can be especially dulling to your knives.

Finally, even with sanitizing, you should have different cutting boards for different types of foods.  I have one board that is only for raw meat.  I wrote "Raw Meat" on the end of the board with permanent marker.  My other board is used for veggies and then I have another one that is for bread.


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