A good knife, in itself, won’t offer the whole spectrum of a cutting experience. You need to have a good cutting board that matches with your knife and use context. Without a match among all these, a good knife cutting experience is impossible to attain.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the types of cutting boards and the specific maintenance needed for them. We’ll talk you through the different variations of cutting boards with a practical eye so that you can easily decide the best one for yourself.
Types of Cutting Boards
There are quite a few types of cutting boards available in the market. Not all are practical in all use cases. Let’s see the features of each of them, so you’ll have some basics on all of these and be able to decide the one best suited to your needs.
Wooden Cutting Board
Wooden boards are one of the most popular cutting board variations. The feel of a knife blade moving over a wooden texture can never be felt with other board types. These boards are soft and easy on the knives as well.
A wooden cutting board can last for a decade if it’s taken well care of. The wood for the cutting board goes through several stages of treatment and it gets insanely strong in the process.
One problem with wooden boards is that you can’t wash them in the sink nor wash them in the dishwasher. Wood tempering gets damaged with high levels of water exposure. These boards need to be underwater as little as possible to maintain the wood quality.
Flat Cutting Board
Flat cutting boards come in several variations. Wood, bamboo, and plastic are the most common ones. These boards are best for cutting meat and dry foods, fruits.
Carved Cutting Board
Carved boards are good for keeping meat and fruit juice in place. The carved shape helps by letting you gather juices while you use the cutting board and not make a mess in your kitchen.
Flexible rubber mats are portable and have a thick knife-proof layer on top. They’re quite durable and inexpensive.
Breadboards are different from regular cutting boards. They’re shaped like bread so that when you place a full bread on it, the cutting board covers it whole. This is a fancy item to keep as a hobby collection.
Butcher blocks are wider in surface area and thicker than a regular wooden cutting board. Cutting large meat chunks or breaking through hard bones is safe to do on a butcher block. Because they’re heavy, they don’t move much and work as a stable cutting area.
Bamboo Cutting Board
Bamboo cutting boards are expensive and one of the best look cutting board variations. But they’re very hard on the knife and tend to damage knife blades easily. If you decide to get a bamboo cutting board, then get a thicker knife to use on that board.
Plastic Cutting Board
Plastic cutting boards are the easiest to clean. They can be washed in a dishwasher with the highest temperature setting without any risk of getting damaged. They’re not a very healthy choice since plastic is made up of harmful chemical compounds.
They’re very light and inexpensive. These are some of the reasons behind their super popularity in the market.
Glass Cutting Board
Glass cutting boards are more of a fancy item than a practical one. They look pretty in the eyes and can work as a good showpiece in home decor.
Glass is stronger in the hardness scale than steel and will damage the steel blades. They’re also very fragile. If one ever gets dropped, that’s the end of an expensive glass cutting block.
Marble Cutting Board
Marble cutting boards are one of the most beautiful cutting block variations. They’re similar to glass and not so durable. If you have one, try using the cutting block as a way to serve food to guests and not use knives on it.
Silicone Cutting Board
Silicone is a soft and durable material. These cutting boards are rollable and very portable. For a picnic or short tour, a silicone cutting board can be a good companion. They’re easy on the knives too. A soft silicone surface doesn’t dull the knife blade.
Read more: how to sharpen kitchen knives
Things to Keep in Mind Before Getting a Cutting Board
While choosing a cutting board, there’s no universal best or worst choice. Whether something will or will not work for you depends on your use case and specific context. Let’s discuss some factors you should keep in mind before choosing your cutting board –
Cutting boards are commonly available in wood, bamboo, rubber, and plastic variations. All these have both good and bad sides. Wood is the most expensive among all these. A good quality wooden cutting board can last for ages, even without much care. They’re built very solid and can handle rough usage.
Because wood is porous, you should regularly oil a wooden cutting board to keep it safe from water entering inside and damaging the wood core. These boards are good with knives too. Wood is soft to the knife’s touch and doesn’t damage knife blades.
Bamboo is similar to wood in almost all ways, but they’re harder than wood. Not a good surface for your knife’s durability.
Plastic and rubber are quite popular because they can be thrown into the dishwasher and cost only a fraction of the price of a wooden board. But like bamboo, plastic and rubber aren’t good with knife blades. Their surface will damage knife blades quickly.
Plastic and rubber boards are lighter and thinner than wooden boards of the same size. Marble, glass boards are some of the heaviest cutting boards. You should consider the material type with the size of your board to estimate how heavy your cutting board will be. Try to maintain a balance between these two.
Heavy cutting boards aren’t easy to move from here to there and if you hang a heavy cutting board, it can be risky if you especially have kids. Lighter boards are easy to carry and can be easily taken to places.
Carving Board vs Cutting Board
Cutting boards are flat, and they’re best for everything. Grooved or carved cutting boards are designed in a concave or inwardly curved shape. The design allows juices from meat and fruits to gather in the middle. It’s beneficial in a way that it allows you to save the juice to use it wherever you like.
But carved boards are flat only on the sides and not in the middle. This results in less working surface on the boards. If your major cutting board needs are to cut dry foods, maybe choosing a flat board is the best idea. Or otherwise, choose the carved one.
Some cutting boards offer a cutting surface on both sides. This is a good feature. You can cut different foods on different sides, without mixing one’s smell with the other.
Some cutting boards come with rubber grips. This is important. Without grips, the board can slip and make a mess. You can also use external grips available in the shops.
With time, newer cutting board designs are coming to meet new user needs. You can get one that suits your needs best, or you can try to add custom components and make a unique cutting board design of your own.
High-end, premium designer cutting boards, are quite expensive. If you’re into that, maybe you can look into the aesthetic variations. For simple day-to-day needs, a basic and cheap board can save you money.
Why Oil Coating Is Important for Wooden Boards?
Wooden boards need to maintain a certain level of moisture both inside and on the surface. An imbalance of it can cause the wood to chip away or form molds inside.
Unlike glass or plastic, wood is permeable and allows water and juice from meat and fruits to get under the surface. The porous holes are the best place for bacterial growth and can work as a good breeding ground.
To stop water from entering and moisture from escaping from the inside, it’s important to create a water-resistant barrier coating on the surface of the cutting board. With the coating, the board becomes highly impervious to bacterial attacks.
You can use food-safe mineral oil. They’re odorless and won’t stain on the wood as vegetable oils would. Liquid paraffin, beeswax, linseed oil are also some good alternatives to mineral oils. Whatever you choose, check its source for the quality and natural guarantee. Better to avoid refined oils as they can be allergic and toxic.
Now that you know about some of the most common types of cutting boards available in the market, you’ll have an easier time deciding which one to choose for your needs. A good board can last for a long time. You just have to maintain it well.