Next month, I’ll be moving to greener and possibly more Brooklyn-y pastures. And my future roommates and I have at least one super important thing in common: we love to cook. I’ve already been promised an assortment of pastas and curries and it’s all very exciting. Unfortunately, I’m out of a few cooking wares, because I tend to be hard on the oldest, cheapest things I bought from Ikea many moons ago.
In particular, I’ve been looking for a new sturdy cutting board, one that will be a long-lasting addition — an investment, really — to my kitchen. It’s got to meet the practical considerations, like durability and safety, as well as the softer (but no less important) considerations like look and feel, and sustainability. A wooden cutting board, like Bambeco's 19th Century Reclaimed Wood Bavarian Bread Board, checks all the boxes.
Wood has antibacterial properties and is bacteria-resistant even after being scored. Because of these antibacterial properties, wooden cutting boards tend to last longer than plastic ones. Some can last for up to ten years, while plastic boards need to be regularly replaced after being deeply scored. And besides looking beautiful and matching my newish Bambu utensils, wood and bamboo (which is a grass) are renewable resources with FSC-certified options. Just note that they require a bit of extra maintenance, which is worth it. Here are some tips for what to look for in your own wooden cutting board, and how to keep it in tip-top shape.
Choosing a Wooden Cutting Board
Hard woods like maple make the best boards because they’re less porous. They don’t wear down your knives as much as bamboo, which is a bit harder than wood. But bamboo is still a great sustainable option, since it’s renewable and has the same properties as wood.
Maintaining Your Wooden Cutting Board
Alas, wooden cutting boards require a bit more maintenance than other kinds. It’s a great, reliable tool and it should be taken care of as such. You should always wash your cutting board after use with soap and warm water, and make sure it dries upright. Every few weeks, cleanse the board with sea salt and lemon — you’ll find there was dirt and grime there that you couldn’t even see, and the abrasiveness of the salt helps buff away scores. Just sprinkle your cutting board with coarse salt, squeeze half of a lemon over the board, and scour with a clean dishcloth. Easy, right?
Occasionally you should oil your board, to keep it from drying out and cracking. You might add this step after you do the salt-and-lemon cleaning routine and the board is completely dry. I recommend using coconut oil since it is highly resistant to going rancid. You can apply the oil to a clean and dry cutting board, let it sit for a few hours, then wipe clean. Et voila! Your cutting board is as good as new.