There are a million items to buy for your kitchen out there. From the simplest to the most complicated and gadget-y. But you have to start with the basics if you’ve just moved into a new place. And you need a way to prep your food before cooking. So working with a cutting board is a basic process in the kitchen, one you need to learn about!
When I moved into the wonderful 2-bedroom apartment I live in today, I didn’t have much in the way of kitchen items. And after paying first and last month’s rent and a security deposit, I was a bit low on cash for... anything really, so the cooking part was pretty difficult. I think the one essential thing I was missing the most was the cutting board, and preparing anything, from a salad to a stovetop grilled steak was that difficult.
That is how I learned to appreciate the cutting board and the ease it brings to everyone’s culinary life. I really love it. So here is what I’ve learned about working with a cutting board after I got my first post-move paycheck!
6 tips for working with a cutting board
1. Choose the right material
I am a wood person all the way. Which means that I prefer having a wooden cutting board. I don’t care much for the plastic ones, and they harbor more bacteria anyway. Wood is the way to go.
The wooden board is easy to clean, great for cutting on it, and it has a long shelf life. Not to mention that the bigger investment – the knives – is better protected by the wood.
You could go for plastic if you need something simpler to clean, but don’t ever pick ceramic, glass, and marble. They will ruin your knives!
2. Choose a size
Depends on the space you have in the kitchen for cutting on a surface, but also for storage. So you will definitely need a sturdy cutting board.
No matter what, the last criteria in choosing should be the looks! They matter the least.
3. Season before use
After you buy the cutting board, if it’s made of wood, you will need to season it before the first use. This will help avoid staining and will minimize the absorption of bacteria and nasty, funky smells. First, wash it with mild soap. Rinse and wipe it clean. Then apply a coat of food-safe mineral oil (or board cream) on it, with the help of a clean rag. Work the oil into the wood. Let the wood soak the oil for a few hours.
You can repeat the process once in a while. I like to do that once a month. If you don’t do this, the wood might rot from within, because it will absorb some of the juices of the cut food.
4. Know when to replace
If your cutting board is showing signs of wear, or it starts to crack deeply, then it’s time to say goodbye to it and find a new one. This is the healthiest option.
Use some vinegar to sanitize your wooden cutting board from time to time. You can remove stains or smells by using either baking soda or some lemon juice and salt.
6. Careful with the slippery board
The cutting board can sometimes slip on the counter when you’re chopping stuff, and that can lead to dangerous accidents. So before cutting anything, take steps to make sure that the board will not slip while you’re using sharp knives. Always always always place a damp dishtowel under the cutting board. I really wish that all of us keep our fingers on our hands!