How To Use Chopping Boards: Which Material Is Better For Use?

With the rise of food bloggers and cooking enthusiasts sharing their tips and tricks on social media platforms like Instagram, kitchen tools and their usage are under high attention. Recently, there has been a surge of concern regarding the use of plastic chopping boards, particularly due to reels showcasing plastic residues left behind after cutting. These residues can potentially be harmful if ingested, sparking a debate about the best material for chopping boards. This has led many to reconsider their choice of chopping boards, with wooden boards emerging as a safer and more effective alternative.  

Wooden chopping boards not only provide a safer cutting surface but also come with a host of other benefits. They are more durable, have natural antibacterial properties, and are gentler on knives compared to their plastic counterparts. In this article, we will review why wooden chopping boards are a superior choice and provide tips on how to use and maintain them effectively to ensure they remain a valuable kitchen tool for years to come. 

Why Wooden Chopping Boards Are Better 

Natural Antibacterial Properties 

One of the standout benefits of wooden chopping boards is their natural antibacterial properties. Certain types of wood, such as bamboo and hardwoods, contain antimicrobial compounds that can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. This makes wooden boards a hygienic option for food preparation. In contrast, plastic boards can develop deep grooves over time, which can harbour bacteria and are harder to clean thoroughly. 

Durability and Longevity 

Wooden chopping boards are known for their durability and longevity. Unlike plastic boards that can crack, warp, or retain deep knife marks, wooden boards are robust and can withstand heavy use without significant wear. With proper care and maintenance, a high-quality wooden chopping board can last for many years, making it a cost-effective choice in the long run. 

Gentle on Knives 

Wooden chopping boards are also gentler on knives compared to plastic boards. The softer surface of wood helps to preserve the sharpness of the knife's edge, reducing the need for frequent sharpening. This is particularly important for high-quality knives, where maintaining a sharp edge is crucial for efficient and safe food preparation. 

How to Use and Maintain Wooden Chopping Boards 

Seasoning Your Board 

Before using a new wooden chopping board, it is essential to season it properly. Seasoning involves applying a food-safe mineral oil or beeswax to the surface of the board. This process helps to seal the wood, preventing it from absorbing moisture and developing cracks. To season your board, apply a generous amount of oil or wax to the surface and let it soak in overnight. Wipe off any excess the next day, and your board will be ready for use. 

Cleaning and Sanitising 

Proper cleaning and sanitising are important to maintaining the hygiene of your wooden chopping board. After each use, wash the board with hot, soapy water and a soft sponge. Avoid submerging the board in water or placing it in the dishwasher, as excessive moisture can cause the wood to warp or crack. To sanitise, you can occasionally wipe the surface with a solution of white vinegar and water or a mixture of lemon juice and salt. These natural solutions help to kill bacteria and remove odours without damaging the wood. 

Regular Maintenance 

Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your wooden chopping board. Re-oil the board periodically, especially if it starts to look dry or feel rough to the touch. This will help maintain its protective barrier and keep the wood hydrated. Additionally, avoid using your wooden board for cutting raw meat or poultry, as the juices can seep into the wood and harbour bacteria. Instead, use a separate plastic board for these tasks if necessary. 

Proper Storage 

Store your wooden chopping board in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and mould growth. If possible, store it upright to allow air circulation around all sides. Avoid placing it near direct heat sources, such as stovetops or radiators, as excessive heat can cause the wood to dry out and crack.