Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Do you use plastic or wood??

It might be an interesting insight into my mind and what I ponder to know that recently I've been thinking that I need to sort out my chopping boards in my house. I think using a friends totally skewiff plastic board the other day that made me reaslise how much of a difference a good board can make to cooking, but it's about much more than just making it easier to chop. I have a lovely big wooden board that I inherited from my Aunt at home, but I tend to just use that for pictures for the blog. Apart from that, we just have a big pile of plastic boards that get used and abused and stuck in the dishwasher to clean. But I have no idea what I should be using, if I should be using different boards for different things, and how to actually look after them. So it was time to do some googling. I was hoping for some clear cut answers, but as usual...there were none, but here are some pro's and con's

Plastic
This is probably what most of us have in our kitchens. Easy. Simple to clean. Cheap. You can dump them in your dishwasher each time you use them, and as soon as they get a bit sad looking just replace them. But remember, your home dishwasher isn't as hot as an industrial kitchen, so you still need to clean them properly with a bit of bleach every once in a while to kill any bugs that are hanging around. But, plastic boards aren't great for your knives, especially the lovely expensive ones that you don't even put in the dishwasher.

Wooden
This is probably what most of our mothers used when we were growing up. Now-a-days less of us use them despite the fact that they aren't overly expensive. Wooden chopping boards are quite porous, and can't just be popped into the dishwasher to clean, so most people consider it harder to keep them sterile. Apparently, there is some research that says bacteria has a tougher time surviving wooden boards. The theory is that the bacteria that thrives in the knife scars of plastic boards, is drawn into the wood and dies off. But from what I've seen, not everyone is convinced by this research. We are seeing more boards made from other woods, such as bamboo, that are harder and therefore more resistant to bacteria. They are a bit more expensive, but tend to last longer. On the plus side, wooden boards are much easier on your knife edges. Also, they are considered 'self-healing', so when you make a cut on an end grain cutting board the knife cuts between the wood fibers and when you pull the knife away, there won't be any knife mark left.

Glass
Don't even bother. They might look pretty, but your knife will slip and slide everywhere.

Another option
Rumour has it that there's a new type of board that's not the standard plastic so it's better for your knives, but not your classic wooden so not super porous, but I haven't been able to find it in my travels. But if anyone knows what it is, I'd love to hear about it.


Although I'm still undecided, I think the lesson is, whichever you prefer, make sure you clean your boards really well and after each use. Also, make sure you sterilise them regularly, and dump the old ones and buy new onces once in a while. Lastly, don't forget to use a different chopping board for your meats to all the rest of your food.

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