When you’re cooking, it’s not enough to have good knives, you also need a sturdy chopping board. But which is the best wood for cutting board? In general, hardwood is a better option than the softwood because hardwoods have higher density, which means that they are harder.
In your search for the wood cutting boards, you will find that these boards are made of three different methods of construction which you can choose from, depending on your budget and level of use.
Types of wooden cutting boards
- Flat Panel: When boards are glued together at the edges, you get flat panel boards. Here, each wood piece is wider at the top of the surface of the block. If viewed from one end, you will find an arch on each board, or the end grain. Also called a face grain board, the flat panel board is the most inexpensive board to make but its disadvantages lie in the fact that it splits and warps with time.
- Edge Grain: Slightly more expensive than the flat panel cutting boards are the edge grain type. This kind of cutting board has several boards stuck face to face, with thin bands going across the surface top. These boards are thicker than the face grain types and less vulnerable to warping. In order not to split or crack, these boards do not have to be as thick as their end grain counterparts. These make for excellent wooden cutting boards.
- End Grain: This is the best of the three types of wooden cutting boards. The wood used here is joined together so that the end grain is in front of the work surface. Using this type of cutting board means you never have to worry about wood splintering. They are thicker butcher blocks than normal so there is no chance of warping, thereby adding to its stability.
Which wood to choose for a cutting board: The thumb rule is to choose wood from trees that have edible nuts or running sap. Traditionally, hard maple is chosen for its hardness, tight grain structure and weight. However, oak cutting board isn’t a good choice due to its open grain structure that is capable of trapping food particles.
Exotic woods: On the subject of exotic woods as a choice for a wooden cutting board, you should completely avoid them as they are generally toxic. For instance, it is known that teak contains silica which is rough on your knife’s edges. You should also avoid spalted wood as it contains a bacterium that eats into the wood and is toxic to human beings. White and red cedar are also avoidable as they contain oils that are repelled by the oils. This makes these woods dangerous for human beings to eat off it.
A good way of choosing a wooden cutting board based on its hardness is to go by the Janka hardness scale. It is generally accepted that any wood that measures between 850 and 1600 on the Janka hardness scale is a good choice for a cutting board. Any more than 1600 will mean that it will be tough on the knife’s edges. Wood species that can be considered for cutting boards include Ipe, Teak, Pecan, Southern Chestnut, Tigerwood, Bloodwood, Jarrah, Purpleheart, Merbau, Bubinga, Pecan, Hickory, Bamboo, Acacia and Wenge.
Maintaining your wooden cutting board:
The oil to use: Mineral oil is the preferred oil to use here. It is used by heating the oil and applying it to the board’s surface periodically. This helps the board repel water. Alternatively, you can add some bees wax to the mineral oil until the wax melts. This should then be applied to the cutting board, again to repel moisture.
Keeping the board clean: Once you use your cutting board, wash it well using a good detergent and warm water. Do this by wetting the surface of the cutting board. Then, apply the detergent and wash. Then, rinse well. Next, sanitize it using a mix of one tablespoon of Clorox and a quart of water. Fill a spray bottle with it and spray it on to the cutting board. Allow it to rest for a little while and then rinse it thoroughly.
Alternatively, mix vinegar and water in equal proportions. Again, fill it in a spray bottle and mist it on to the cutting board and then allow rinse it. You could also cover the board with salt and keep it overnight. By the morning, the salt will take in all the moisture and get rid of any bacteria.
Apart from the above, it would also help you to read the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany your cutting board.
Getting rid of stains: To get rid of stains on the cutting board, clean the board’s surface and dab peroxide on the stain and you will find the stain lifting gently.
Eliminating malodors: The best way to get rid of foul smell from your cutting board is to wash it and oil it well after each use. One method is to sprinkle baking soda on the surface of the board, however take care not to make a paste of it with water because baking soda’s caustic feature will discolor the board.
With so many tips and directions to choose the best wood for cutting board, you should have no problem in selecting one that’s suited to your purpose.