Size of the Cutting Board – What size cutting board do you need for your kitchen? A cutting board is a kitchen essential and some believe that the size of your kitchen and where you are going to store it determine what kind of cutting board you have. A large cutting board or butcher block can rest right on your work station. The size of the your kitchen sink plays a factor in determining the size of a cutting board. You should be able to fit the board into the sink to wash it one half at at time. It doesn’t have to lie flat in the sink. If you are going to store the cutting board on your counter, you need to consider how much counter space you have. Every kitchen should have at least one large cutting board. A bigger board, makes your work space area more manageable and organized. A size assortment of cutting boards for prep work, cutting small things or displaying cheese and crackers is also an option. Just remember, you want a board that is a little bigger than your knife. If you are using a plastic board, you’ll want one that will fit into your dishwasher. The dishwasher is the only way to sterilize a board after cutting fish, meat or poultry.
Shape and Thickness of the Cutting Board – There are pros and cons to having a thick cutting board. Unless you are a professional butcher, you don’t need a thick butcher block cutting board. They are fun to work on but they’re big and bulky making them difficult to clean. A thin flexible cutting board is perfect for vegetables and adding them right to the pot or pan. The shape of a cutting board (rectangle, square or round) depends on what works best for you.
Wood or Synthetic- Which material is the safest to use? This is always a big cutting boards question that we’ll shed some light on. Plastic and wood are the best materials for cutting boards. I own both wood and plastic cutting boards. I use the plastic for all my raw meats, poultry and fish because the plastic cutting board fits nicely in my dishwasher which sterilizes it. The dishwasher is not recommended for most wooden boards as they will eventually dry out and crack.
Recent research has confirmed the conventional belief that plastic is safer than wood for cutting meat and poultry.
One study reported that new wooden boards had antimicrobial qualities while plastic cutting boards trapped bacteria. However, more recent studies by the Food and Drug Administration found that microorganisms became trapped in wood surfaces and were difficult to dislodge by rinsing. Once trapped, bacteria survive in a dormant stage for long periods of time. The next time the cutting board is used, these bacteria could contaminate other foods, potentially causing food-borne illness. The study also found that microorganisms were easily washed off plastic surfaces.