One of the most important things when picking a cutting board is how resistant to bacteria it is. As you may already know, bacteria can build up on work surfaces, and even if you clean your cutting boards regularly, bacteria still have a chance to form.
For this reason, many people assume that plastic boards are the best option because they’re the easiest to maintain and seem to be resistant to water. But it’s more complicated than that. Plastic boards will eventually start chipping away as you use them, which will allow water and bacteria to penetrate.
That means that they’ll not only start absorbing bacteria, but you might even start getting bits of plastic in your food. As a matter of fact, a recent study by the University of Michigan found that more bacteria could be found on a used plastic board than on a wooden one. The same study found that it was almost impossible to remove bacteria from a used plastic board manually.
While wooden boards demand more maintenance, you can treat them so that they don’t accumulate bacteria. Treating them with oil regularly will prevent bacteria from building up and will allow them to last longer.
If you choose to go with a walnut wood cutting board, it's essential that you season it before using it and treat it regularly so it can maintain its look and don't absorb water. It will also prevent the board from absorbing odors and from staining as well.
The first thing you should do is use the proper oil. Since you’ll be using it to work with food, you have to use a safe edible oil with as little taste as possible. Olive and vegetable oil should be avoided since they can become rancid over time. Out of all the oils, coconut is considered the best by many. It won’t turn rancid and has a high melting point, which makes it perfect for seasoning.
Gently heat your oil, apply it section by section on the board in the direction of the grain, and rub it either circularly or in a linear motion with the grain with even pressure. Once the board has absorbed the oil, you can add a second coat. There is really no limit to how many coats you can add, but 2-3 should be enough.
You also have to think about your knives when picking a cutting board. At the end of the day, you want your knives to last as long as possible, and the choice of cutting boards will make a huge difference in how long they’ll last. For instance, while bamboo boards are very popular because of their durability and ease of maintenance, they can be very hard on your knives after a while. So, if you truly care about your knives, then you should avoid bamboo boards.
While plastic boards aren’t that bad for your knives, they are still not the best option for the reasons mentioned earlier. The best choice is to go with a wooden board that won’t dull your knives. And if you care about your knives, avoid glass cutting boards at all costs. While they are easy to clean and maintain, they are by far the worst kind of board you can buy for your knives.
When picking a cutting board, you want something that will last a long time. You also don’t want a surface that will start deteriorating too fast. This is why again you should stay away from plastic boards if you can. A good wooden board will have the ability to self-heal, and when treated properly, will last you a long time. Boards made of hardwoods like walnut are the most durable wooden boards you can find. They also look great in any kitchen.
Now that you know what differentiates a great cutting board from a low-quality one, you can start searching for the best cutting board in your kitchen. Make sure that it’s durable, will be kind to your knives, and won’t become a breeding ground for bacteria.