Are you picking out a cutting board for your kitchen? Maybe you’re looking into switching from plastic to wood, or maybe you’re redesigning and wood matches better. Either way, it can be difficult to figure out which wood is the best when there are so many options. Their durability, toxicity, and moisture should all be considered before making your pick.
Best Wood For Cutting Board?
Now isn’t this the million-dollar question? We know you need to pick out not only the wood which will look best for you, but which will work the greatest too. There are five main popular planks of wood which are generally used as cutting boards and butcher blocks: maple, walnut, cherry, teak, and bamboo. Woods that are avoided are usually pine, fir, oak, and cedar. Why does this happen? Well, it has to do with certain aspects of the woods that make them more coveted for the kitchen.
It has to last! The last thing you want to do is buy a cutting board to find that it’s no good after a short amount of time. That’s why cutting boards need to be made from hard, dense, tight-grained woods, otherwise known as hardwoods. Hardwoods have a high density so they won’t score easily, and sport small pores.
When cutting boards score and get cuts from knives, this allows bacteria and water to enter the board. Yuck! Imagine cutting your meats or vegetables on that! Oak however is a hardwood but isn’t used because its large pores are the same as those scores you’re looking to avoid. That’s why maple, walnut, and cherry are preferred because of their “close grains” or small pores.
Wood Can Be Toxic?
Can wood be toxic? Not usually since you’re not cutting up the board and getting sawdust everywhere, but there’s still oils and resin that might leak into your food. Don’t worry too much though, since this is really only a problem with rare or exotic woods like rosewood. Some of these, such as cedar even, contain oil that even insects won’t go for, meaning that you should avoid it too. Reused woods can be a problem too though, so it’s best to avoid any cutting board that is reclaimed. Other than that, it’s fine to use the usual woods for your cutting board needs!
Quality is important in anything that you buy, but here we’re talking about hardness and thickness when it comes to cutting boards. If your wood is too hard, it will harm the edges of your knife, and if it is too soft, we told you about the pores earlier. Woods that are a little too hard would be types like teak, chestnut, bloodwood, tigerwood, hickory, and sometimes even bamboo. In terms of thickness, the best boards are around two inches thick. The thickness makes the board sturdier and therefore more durable.
Finishing the Wood
If you’re picking out your cutting board, then you should look for a board finished with mineral or butcher block oil. This will help to protect the surface of the board so moisture and bacteria have an even lower chance of reaching your meat. The board will last longer too! You can reapply this oil overtime to increase water resiliency. Never use any cooking oils though. They’ll go rancid over time. If you’re making your own cutting board, you can even sand the surface to get rid of the knife marks and reapply the oil to coat it.
The term “end grain” is everywhere when you search for cutting boards. This is because end-grain is an extremely durable piece of wood that will not score easily and that is considered to be the best. Your knives won’t even dull as fast by using this cut of wood! Endgrain is for serious cutting usually, so for meats and chopping vegetables. If you’re just cutting bread, face grain or edge grain should be fine.
Why Not Plastic?
Let’s back up a second. A lot of people actually use plastic cutting boards in place of wood ones, whether because they’re less expensive or just easier to move around. So what’s the point of switching to wood? The main draw for a lot of people is that it’s more sanitary. When you use a wooden cutting board, the moisture on the board ends up inside along with bacteria. The bacteria then die due to lack of moisture. With plastic boards, you have to really make sure you clean it since the bacteria can stay right on top and in the easily formed grooves from your knife.
What Should I Choose?!
We’ve gone over many factors to consider when buying your wooden cutting board, but which type should you buy then? In terms of which wood is the best, that’s still quite subjective, but there are definite factors that you need to consider when choosing.
Also Read: 36 Best Cooktops
This is why the best woods end up being maple, walnut, cherry, teak, and bamboo. We’ve warned you about teak and bamboo, although many people still use them because of their hard quality. It all depends on what wood suits your needs and what you think is best. Maple, walnut, and cherry are definitely some of the highest recommended types, so when you start your search, start with those three as your top picks!
There are many types of wood out there, which can only make you feel confused when it comes to choosing your wooden cutting board. Whether you’re switching from plastic cutting boards or looking for a new wooden one, wooden cutting boards come in so many types and sizes. Durability, toxicity, and quality all matter for your choice, but there’s no need to be overwhelmed any longer if you follow our points for choosing the best wood for cutting board.