When it comes to food preparation, there are 2 main items needed: a good knife and a great cutting board. Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time using these 2 items will agree with this statement. There is a reason that top chefs spend thousands on high quality knives, boards and other equipment. When you earn your living using these items, you want them to be of the highest quality.
Knives tend to take all the glory when it comes to kitchen utensils, but what about its’ partner, the cutting board? We will cover knives in another article, for now we will focus on the cutting boards and chopping blocks. There are 4 main materials that are used in the manufacturing of cutting boards, namely wood, bamboo, glass and plastic.
At Woodstyles, our favourite is obviously wood. Wood is beautiful, sustainable, renewable, biodegradable, it protects your knives and is antibacterial. Let’s review these advantages a bit.
Wood is beautiful. There is no denying that the natural beauty of wood is a plus. We love the grain patterns, the colours and the smell of natural wood.
Wood is sustainable. At Woodstyles, we only use woods that are sourced from sustainable forests the world over. We then take these materials and create our wonderful cutting boards and chopping blocks.
Wood is Biodegradable. Wood is a natural product and would eventually naturally decompose if left untreated and exposed to the harsh outdoor elements.
Wood is anti bacterial. Yes, you read that correctly. Wood and bamboo are the only 2 materials that are anti bacterial. When wood is compared to plastic, the rumoured safest board for bacteria, the wooden boards came out tops in this department. The reason for this is that the plastic boards get deep scratches on the material that harbour bacteria, which can be extremely difficult to clean. Wood on the other hand actually kills the bacteria that comes into contact with it. Dr Cliver , PhD, conducted a study in the late 1980s and found the following:
“ The scientists found that three minutes after contaminating a board that 99.9 percent of the bacteria on wooden boards had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic. Bacterial numbers actually increased on plastic cutting boards held overnight at room temperature, but the scientists could not recover any bacteria from wooden boards treated the same way.”
Article summary http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/10/health/wooden-cutting-boards-found-safer-than-plastic.html
Wood protects your knives. Wooden boards are far more forgiving on your knives than the other materials mentioned. Glass, while easy to clean, is very hard and will quickly take off the sharp edge on knives. Bamboo is also a hard material and will also make the knives blunt quicker than wood. While the bamboo is grass, it is hard and made more so by the manufacturing process whereby layer upon layer of the grass is glued together to form the final product. Another concern of these processes is that some manufacturers use glues that contain Formaldehyde, a toxic substance. Wood is a softer, natural material. As a result, it is far more forgiving on knife edges, particularly when it comes to end grain chopping boards. Wood gives the knife edge a slight purchase on the surface, making cuts easier. This also helps prevent the food from slipping all over the work surface when cutting it. Ever cut raw bacon on glass?
All cutting boards and chopping blocks manufactured and sold by Woodstyles are manufactured using carefully selected hardwoods. We only use food safe glues, as stipulated by the FDA safe for human consumption, as well as food safe oils to treat the wood. There is a reason that wood has been used for thousands of years as the preferred choice of cutting boards and chopping blocks, in fact, there are still butchers blocks around that are hundreds of years old and in daily use. Solid wood boards and blocks can also be refreshed from time to time with a bit of sandpaper and food safe mineral oil. Regular care of you board will result in decades of use.