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For one of the most used pieces of kitchenware, a cutting board is often maintained and used in the wrong way. There are certain hygiene and safety tips specifically for use that will make your preparation easier and safer.
Once you’ve invested in a high-quality chopping board for your kitchen, you’ll want to make sure that you use it properly. Whether you’ve opted for high-end wooden or something a little less costly, there are certain ways to maintain them. That’s where we come in to help, below are our cutting boards tips.
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Must-Know Tips and Tricks
To help you get the most out of yours, we’ve put together some tricks and tips, along with things you should never do with your new kitchen tool as well as how to clean a wood cutting board.
The different boards you should be avoiding, how to remove odors, and how to sanitize a wooden cutting board. Here are some of the most frequent mistakes that people make and what to avoid doing to ensure the longevity of your board.
What Not to Do
Even when using the best, your knife skills and how you prepare ingredients have an impact on food safety and knife precision.
Common mistakes people make and they are all easily solved.
Mistake #1: Preparing Meat and Vegetables on the Same Board
Prepping your meat and then using the same board for the vegetables causes cross-contamination and should be avoided at all costs. Raw meat, poultry, and fish should never come into contact with any other 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 chopping boards handy – one for meat, fish, and poultry and one for vegetables, grains, and fruit.
Mistake #2: Using Wooden Boards for All Ingredients
A wooden or bamboo board is very versatile and are two of the best types. However, they are porous meaning that they absorb juices and flavors released by the ingredients that you are preparing this should definitely be remembered when meat and herbs etc are part of your ingredients.
Solution: Prepare meat, poultry, and fish on high-quality plastic which is non-porous. Plastic boards are also dishwasher safe so it is easier to keep them safe and hygienic than a wooden one.
Mistake #3: Using One That’s Too Small or With Uneven Edges
Certain designs look beautiful but they are not practical. Specifically, very small and unconventional shapes like a state map or fruit.
These types are meant as decoration or a serving tray, not for meal prepping. They make the preparation of ingredients more difficult and you risk juices dripping all over the kitchen countertop.
Solution: Only use decorative boards as a serving tray or decoration. For actual meal prepping, stick to large rectangular design with a drip groove for juices whenever possible.
Mistake #4: Not Drying Properly
Bacteria and fungus love moisture so a buildup of bacteria or fungus can happen even if you just washed it. This is especially true for wood cutting boards that are porous but moist plastic types are also not hygienic.
Solution: Always dry after washing. You can also let it air out further on a dish rack before putting it inside your kitchen cupboard.
Mistake #5: Placing Wooden and Bamboo Boards in the Dishwasher
Unless specifically stated otherwise, bamboo and wood types are not dishwasher safe. The high heat and moisture of the dishwasher damage the natural fibers and can cause splitting or warping.
Solution: The best way to clean a wooden cutting board is to wash by hand with mild soapy water. Never soak in water and clean stains earlier rather than later.
Pro Tips for Use
Now that you are aware of the common 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 safer.
Tip #1: Place a Damp Towel Underneath
Some boards can slide around on the kitchen counter while you are using them but placing a damp towel or kitchen paper under it prevents that.
Replace the kitchen paper or rinse the cloth regularly to avoid any contamination when preparing your meats and veg on the same board, which as stated above, should be a plastic one.
Tip #2: Occasionally Oil Your Wood & Bamboo Board
Care for wood cutting boards is of utmost importance, especially if you have invested in a high-quality one. Oiling your wood or bamboo board not only keeps its smoothness and shine, but the cutting board oil also acts as a natural protective layer. Both wood and bamboo are porous materials so the extra layer of oil helps to prevent juices from soaking into the fibers too far.
Tip #3: Use an End-Grain Cutting Board
Hardwood is the best material for preventing the dulling of knives but an end-grain is even better. An end-grain is the most gentle on your knives.
The way that the wood fibers are facing upwards means that the knife slides between the fibers instead of through the fibers. This allows for the wood to naturally ‘heal’ itself meaning it will last longer than the edge-grain.
Tip #4: Invest in High-Quality
Okay, they are not the most exciting items of kitchenware but it is the true workhorse of your kitchen. Buying a cheap cutting board means you will have to throw it out sooner because it is starting to get furry or has lots of deep cuts in making it non-hygienic. But with the advise given in this article on how to care for a wooden cutting board you can ensure a longer life if your purse strings restrict you from the more expensive styles.
In the long run, investing in a high-end cutting board and maintaining it properly will cost you less than continuously replacing but, let’s face it not all of us have the budget.
Tip #5: Remove Odors with Baking Soda and Lemon
How to clean a wooden cutting board, every once in a while, rub your cutting board with lemon and baking soda to remove any stains and odors that it might have and also help sanitize it. This mixture is safe for both wood and plastic.
These were our tips and tricks on having clean cutting boards that are safe and hygienic. Remember to always keep yours clean, dry it after washing, but never flat to avoid warping and stay hygienic when preparing your ingredients. Happy cooking with the above wooden cutting board care advise.