Information and Reviews of the Best Cutting Boards on the Market

Cutting boards are a vital piece of everyone's kitchen equipment, even if you have countertops made from materials that will withstand your using them as a cutting board. As their name implies, a cutting board is a board on which you can cut, chop or mince food products such as meats, fruits and vegetables. They come in a wide range of sizes and materials, from small to large and in wood, plastic or glass. Depending on the material, they can be pretty inexpensive, or for high-quality large ones, cost you more money. This article will review the basic types of cutting boards, including sizes, types, manufacturers, and prices. If it's time to add to or replace your cutting boards, or if you are just starting out and need to furnish your kitchen from scratch, you should find information here to help you choose. Along with information on the cutting boards themselves, we'll also give you basic care and cleaning tips to keep your cutting boards clean and bacteria-free.

Wood Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards are still the best selling type, although hygienically they are not as safe and bacteria-free as plastic or glass. Still, with proper cleaning and remembering not to cut vegetables immediately after cutting meats without a thorough wash job, you should have no health problems using your wood cutting board. Recently we've seen conflicting reports about how healthy plastic cutting boards are versus wood ones, but the important thing to remember is to keep them clean, no matter what type you use. There are two basic types of wood cutting boards: end grain and flat grain. The flat grain boards are easier to produce so there are more of them on the market, and they often a little cheaper than the end grain ones.

You can purchase a wood cutting board most anywhere that kitchen products are sold. At Target, wooden cutting board prices range from $15 for a 14" x 17" x 3/4" thick board, on up to $150 for a 20" x 20" x 3" thick "Super Slab" end-grain cutting board, with plenty of boards in between those prices to choose from.

Plastic Cutting Boards

For years it has been a common opinion of the experts that plastic cutting boards are more bacteria-resistant than wood ones, but that thinking is changing. While it is still easier to clean plastic cutting boards because they are dishwasher-safe and can be immersed in water, unlike wooden ones, many are changing their thinking about this. The web site owner of recommends using plastic cutting boards for cutting meats, saving your wooden ones for all other foods. You'll find plastic cutting boards in a variety of shapes and sizes, and colors too! And the newest product for cutting your food items are plastic chopping mats. They are very thin mats which can be placed on your wood cutting board or your countertop. A set of Progresso Chopping Mats comes in a set of four 11" x 15" color coded mats and two 11" x 7.5" clear mats and sells for $8 at At Target you'll find a variety of plastic cutting boards and mats. Polyethylene cutting boards cost about $13 for a 17" x 14" board; the "SuperBoard" cutting boards are made from non-porous polyethylene and cost about $9; a set of four Safe4All Color Coded 11" x 14" cutting boards sell for $$12.

Cutting Boards From Other Materials

While wood and plastic are the traditional favorites, there are a few cutting boards made from other materials. Bamboo is gaining in popularity, and are durable and a little cheaper than the wood models. Prices start at around $15 for bamboo. Marble is another material for cutting boards. You can find small cheese boards for about $8 to $12. Due to the weight of marble, you won't find anything very large here. There are even a couple of soapstone cutting boards, although they are more used as a place to roll out pastry dough rather than actually cut on them. Glass cutting boards are also on the market, tempered so as to be more durable.

Care and Cleaning of Your Cutting Board

If you go with wood for cutting boards, there are some things that should be done to maintain the life of your board. First, a wood cutting board should be seasoned. No, not with salt and pepper or other herbs and spices, but with a special oil to guard against bacteria and stains. Don't use vegetable oil or cooking oils to season your wood cutting board, as they will eventually begin to smell like rancid oil. Instead, treat your board with a USP grade mineral or cocoanut oil. Plastic cutting boards and mats do not need any special pre-treatment. You will also need to reason your wood cutting board on a regular basis.

Whatever the type of cutting board you use, it will need regular and thorough cleaning and sanitizing to prevent bacteria from getting onto other foods and making you or your family sick. Here are the standard methods for cleaning and sanitizing, pick the one you are most comfortable with:

Hot Water and Soap
Scrub the cutting board with hot water and soap, do not let your wood boards sit submerged in water. Wood is porous and will soak up water if allowed to sit in it, causing it to crack when it dries.

White vinegar is a great disinfectant, and can be used on your cutting boards after every use. Wipe them with a full-strength solution to kill bacteria such as e. coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus. Keep a spray bottle of undiluted white vinegar for easy cleaning and disinfecting.

Hydrogen Peroxide
This is another good germ-killer. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide in conjuction with vinegar: use a paper towel to wipe the board down with vinegar first, then use another one to wipe it down with the peroxide.

Both wood and plastic cutting boards can be sanitized with a diluted solution of bleach and water. Use one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach to a quart of water.

Cutting boards, especially wood ones, should be kept dry when not being used. Never put them away wet, dry them as thoroughly as you can with paper towels when done washing them, and let them air dry on your counter before storing. To eliminate odors from your cutting board, use baking soda, lemon or vinegar. You may need to re-season your wood cutting board after using one of these items.

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