There are many choices of types of cutting boards these days, and they all have pros and cons. Some are better for knives, some are better for cleaning. It was once thought that plastic/synthetic cutting boards were safer to use than wood. But don’t get rid of your wooden cutting board yet! This claim is not necessarily so.
Some interesting info has been published by Dean O. Cliver, PhD, professor emeritus of food safety at the University of California, Davis. According to Cliver, plastic boards can be cleaned easily to get rid of bacteria when brand new. But not after they have knife cuts, where bacteria reside and multiply, and can then be brought back to the surface of the board.
The study showed that in regular home kitchens, normal cleaning (even dishwasher) may not be enough to get rid of these hidden bacteria (ewe). However, the study also shows that while hard wood cutting boards do allow bacteria to go below the surface it does not allow them to return to the surface as the plastic does. Also while trapped, the bacteria do not multiply and eventually die. Better dead than multiplying!
Another type of board to consider is bamboo which is much like wood but does not allow as much moisture below the surface as wood. However, it does end up getting “fuzzy” after lots of use which makes it more vulnerable.
Ceramic, glass and steel boards are among possible choices when it come to cutting boards. These are hard on knives, but have the ability to be completely cleaned and sanitized. All good things to consider when deciding what boards to use and for what purpose.
Since what you will be using is a personal choice, hopefully this bit of information about cutting boards can help you can decide if you like one better than another, or want to have one of each for different purposes. So when choosing wood or bamboo, keep in mind that good maintenance will help them last longer and also keep more bacteria from permeating the wood. Since wooden and bamboo cutting boards are my personal favorites I’m planning on having them in good shape as long as possible.
The recipe below is a very simple way to keep your boards in top shape. Making it is easy too, because it only has two ingredients. Use this cream on all of your wooden or bamboo cutting boards and utensils. Some people like to oil everything once a week, and some twice a year, depending on use. I’m somewhere in between. This process is easy and very satisfying. Oiling my boards and utensils makes them much easier to clean. There is a visible difference too…..everything looks rich and golden with just a slight shine.
Cutting Board Cream
2 oz. beeswax – grated from a block or beeswax beads
8 oz. cold-pressed sunflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
Pint mason jar
Pair of wooden or bamboo chopsticks
- Place beeswax in mason jar, and add the sunflower oil.
- Heat water in saucepan over medium heat.
- When water begins to simmer, turn the heat to low. Gently lower the mason jar into the water.
- After about ten minutes turn off the heat and let the jar sit in the water for ten more minutes. As the wax melts, use the chopsticks to stir things up to help it melt.
- Remove the jar from the water. All of the wax should have melted into the oil, creating a translucent liquid. Stir in remaining wax pieces.
- Let the jar sit for 20 minutes and stir. Stir again after 20 more minutes to make sure it is well blended.
- Let cool to room temperature. Cover and store for up to 6 months.
Using your cutting board/utensil cream:
- Clean the surface of the items you will be oiling. Some choices for cleaning are: soapy water; half of a lemon with salt on it; peroxide. Rinse thoroughly (never soak!) and dry completely.
- Using a clean cloth rub the cream over all surfaces of the wooden item. This should sit this way for several hours, preferably overnight.
- Wipe off excess and it’s ready to use.
I would love to hear how this works for you! Like this post if it was good, and let me know below in the comments!
For beeswax and other botanicals check out Starwest!