Are you using a glass cutting board? Stop right now, you rascal, you!
Sure, glass is easy to clean, it can go in the dishwasher, and maybe it has a colourful print that is not only fun, but it matches your kitchen.
These scourges of the scullery can seriously damage your kitchen knives. Same goes for that hard new granite counter top you recently upgraded to.
A cutting board is supposed to score (show knife marks) when it’s used. It means the surface is giving in to the blade. You could look at it like the board is getting out of the way of the blade.
Glass doesn’t do this. Instead, it stands firm and makes the blade take the brunt of the damage, dulling it faster than it takes to cook instant pasta.
Don’t use them for cutting on. Instead, reach for a proper cutting surface and save your knife’s edge.
Let’s look at other (safer) options:
Ok, hear me out. The term “plastic” refers to a plethora of materials. You really get what you pay for.
Some plastic cutting boards are bendable meaning an easier trip to the pot for your diced veg. That’s pretty cool, to be honest.
- They can go in the dishwasher.
- They don’t need maintenance.
- They’re relatively inexpensive.
- They’re lightweight.
- They can brave the elements. This makes them good for BBQ-ing or camping.
- They come in fun colours. This might sound silly, but it’s desirable if you leave a board out on your counter.
- Not all plastics are food safe. Do your research and be wary of one you can pick up for a buck at a dollar store.
- Less expensive ones can wear out quickly. If they are gouged or flaking, it’s time for a new one.
There’s more pros than cons, but those cons are pretty big concerns.
Seriously, if you have a plastic board that’s flaking, get a new one.
These are usually made of wood and paper fibres (<- I’m Canadian) held together with a food safe resin.
One of the big companies making composite boards started off by using the material to make eco-friendly skate parks. To be honest, that’s pretty cool.
- They can be lightweight. (Thick ones are out there, and they can be pretty heavy.)
- They can go in the dishwasher.
- They need little maintenance. (Some people think they need no maintenance, but they do need occasional oiling, especially if you put them in the dishwasher.)
- They can brave the elements. (Again: camping, BBQ.)
- They are heat resistant. You can use them as a trivet without marking them up.
- They feel different than other materials when using them. Some customers said they took a while to get used to.
- They aren’t much to look at. This could be a serious consideration if you want it as a permanent fixture on your counter top. Just look:
Honourable mention: Bamboo
I’ll keep this short, because most of the pros and cons are similar to that of the other woods.
Bamboo tends to be really sensitive to water. They can split and chip far quicker than other woods, especially after frequent washings.
Bamboo is a really great material, though. It’s sustainable and cheap. Just make sure you do regular maintenance.
What’s not to love about wood? It’s old school and modern at the same time. Elegant and industrious.
This old classic also boasts natural anti-bacterial properties. Seriously. once it’s dry after cleaning, wood boards have boasted less bacteria than other materials in multiple tests. That’s the coolest.
- They’re beautiful. Don’t like that one? There’s another one. And another one. I’m sure there’s one for you.
- They’re mostly heat resistant. If you have a really nice one, be careful. A hot pot can leave a mark.
- They’re tried, tested and true. And still the choice of most professional chefs.
- They require maintenance. They need to be oiled or they can crack or split, especially if they are made of individual pieces glued together. Read more on wood care here.
So what’s my kitchen pick?
I love my composite boards. They’re so easy to use and care for.