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The Ultimate Kitchen: Cutting Boards

This one seems obvious, but the ultimate kitchen should have a cutting board or three. Traditionally cutting boards were big blocks of wood, however these days there are many different kinds of materials, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, glass is very durable and easy to clean, however they are terrible for your sharp knife edges. Wooden boards, on the other hand, are terrific for knife edges, but not so easy to clean.

At my house, we have several plastic boards, and a large wooden one. The plastic boards are used for meats and fish and the wooden one for vegetables and pastry (it's pretty large and fits over one half of the sink, creating more work space - which is great in my tiny house).

The right kind of cutting board will depend on your needs and personal taste. Pay attention to the size of it vs. your countertops, and the weight. A good board should be heavy, so it does not slip, but if it's too heavy to move and won't fit in your sink, it won't do you much good.

No matter what you end up deciding on, here are a few rules that you need to follow:

  • All boards need to be washed in hot soapy water immediately after use.
  • If your board has many small cracks and cuts, it's time to say farewell. Those grooves are a terrific hiding place for bacteria and raw food. Wooden boards can be resurfaced, but you will need to coat them with a "food safe" finish.
  • Don't put a wooden board into the dishwasher. It will dry it out and ruin the lifespan.
  • Always cut raw meats (including poultry and fish) on a board that is easy to properly sanitize.
  • Be sure your boards are completely dry before putting them away for the night.
  • Wooden boards should be seasoned and oiled with food grade oil. This should be done before using and then again on a monthly basis, or as needed.

The large wooden board by John Boos & Co. (shown above) gets rave reviews and is available for $57.95.

And, I'm not sure about the durability of these particular bamboo boards($24.95 - $25.95), but, to be honest, I really like the way they look.

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