For one of the most used pieces of kitchenware, a cutting board is often used in the wrong way. There are certain hygiene and safety tips specifically for cutting boards that will make your cooking easier and safer.
Once you’ve invested in a high-quality cutting board for your kitchen, you’ll want to make sure that you use it properly. Whether you’ve opted for a wooden cutting board or even something a little less costly, there might be certain ways to maintain your cutting board. That’s where we come in to help.
Must Know Tips and Tricks For Your Cutting Board
To help you get the most out of your cutting board, we’ve put together some must know tips and also things you should never do with your new kitchen tool.
From the different cutting boards you should be avoiding to how to remove odors from one, here’s how you are using your cutting board wrong and the best tips and tricks for how to use a cutting board.
What Not to Do with a Cutting Board
Even when using the best cutting board, your knife skills and how you prepare ingredients still has an impact on food safety and cutting precision.
There are a few common mistakes people make when using a cutting board and they are all easily solved.
Mistake #1: Preparing Meat and Vegetables on the Same Cutting Board
Cutting meat and then using the same cutting board for cutting vegetables causes cross-contamination. Raw meat, poultry, and fish should never come into contact with raw ingredients.
The only time it is okay for raw meat and raw vegetables or grains to come into contact is when they are going to be cooked together. Even then, most one-pot recipes call for the meat to be cooked before the other ingredients are added.
Solution: Keep at least two cutting boards handy – one for meat, fish, and poultry and one for vegetables, grains, and fruit.
Mistake #2: Using Wood Cutting Boards for Everything
A wood cutting board or bamboo cutting board is very versatile and one of the best cutting board types. However, wood cutting boards and bamboo cutting boards are porous meaning that it absorbs some of the juices released by the foods you are cutting up.
Solution: Prepare meat, poultry, and fish on a high-quality plastic cutting board which is non-porous. Plastic cutting boards are also dishwasher safe so it is easier to keep a plastic cutting board hygienic than a wood cutting board.
Mistake #3: Using a Cutting Board That’s Too Small or One With Uneven Edges
Certain cutting boards look beautiful but they are not practical. Specifically, very small cutting boards and cutting boards in an unconventional shape like a state map or fruit.
These types of cutting boards are meant as decoration or a serving tray, not for meal prepping. They make cutting ingredients more difficult and you risk juices dripping all over the kitchen countertop.
Solution: Only use decorative cutting boards as a serving tray or decoration. For actual meal prepping, stick to large rectangular cutting boards with a drip groove whenever possible.
Mistake #4: Not Drying a Cutting Board Properly
Bacteria and fungus love moisture so a buildup of bacteria or fungus can happen even if you just washed your cutting board. This is especially true for wood cutting boards that are porous but moist plastic cutting boards are not hygienic, either.
Solution: Always dry your cutting board after washing it. You can also let it air out further on a dish rack before putting it inside your kitchen cupboard or on your kitchen countertop.
Mistake #5: Placing Wooden and Bamboo Cutting Boards in the Dishwasher
Unless specifically stated otherwise, bamboo and wood cutting boards are not dishwasher safe. The high heat and moisture of the dishwasher damage the natural fibers and can cause splitting or warping.
Solution: Wash a bamboo cutting board or wood cutting board by hand with mild soapy water. For a deep clean, rub the cutting board with baking soda and lime.
Pro Tips for Using a Cutting Board
Now that you are aware of the common cutting board mistakes, take a look at the following tips on how to use a cutting board. These simple tricks and adjustments make your meal prep easier and more hygienic.
Tip #1: Place a Damp Towel Under the Cutting Board
Some cutting boards are prone to sliding around on the kitchen counter but placing a damp towel or kitchen paper under the cutting board prevents that.
Let the kitchen towel air dry after each use if it is still free from stains and crumbs and replace it regularly. You do not want the kitchen towel to harbor any bacteria.
Tip #2: Occasionally Oil Your Wood Cutting Board & Bamboo Cutting Board
Oiling your wood or bamboo cutting board not only keeps its smoothness and shine, but the oil also acts as a natural protective layer. Wood and bamboo are porous materials so the extra layer of oil helps to prevent juices from soaking into the fibers.
Tip #3: Use an End-Grain Cutting Board
A hardwood cutting board is already the best cutting board for preventing dull knives but an end-grain cutting board is even better. An end-grain wood cutting board is the most gentle cutting board for knives.
The way that the wood fibers are facing upwards means that the knife slices between the fibers instead of through the fibers. This allows for the wood to naturally ‘heal’ itself meaning it will last longer than an edge-grain cutting board.
Tip #4: Invest in a High-Quality Cutting Board
Okay, a cutting board is not the most exciting kitchenware but it is the true workhorse of your kitchen. Buying a cheap cutting board means you will have to throw it out soon enough because a cutting board that is starting to get furry or has lots of deep cuts in it is no longer hygienic.
In the long run, investing in a high-end cutting board and maintaining it properly will cost you less than continuously replacing a cheap cutting board.
Tip #5: Remove Odors with Baking Soda and Lemon
Every once in a while, rub your cutting board with lemon and baking soda to remove any stains and odors that it might have. This mixture is safe for both a wood cutting board and a plastic cutting board.
These were our tips and tricks for using a cutting board. Remember to always keep your cutting board clean, dry it after washing and stay hygienic when preparing your ingredients on the cutting board.