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Cutting Boards - Wood, Bamboo and Other Chopping Surfaces!

Looking at the selection of cutting boards and wondering which one to buy? Keep in mind, if you just bought yourself a nice set of knives, you'll want a board that won't damage the blade. That said, factors to consider in choosing a cutting board will include: Will it dull your knives? Is it dishwasher safe? Is it durable? Other considerations can include hygeine, size, weight, and aesthetics.

There are many types of cutting surfaces available, but wooden and butcher block ones are still the most widely used. Eco-friendly bamboo cutting boards are growing in popularity and many types and shapes are available.


Cook's Illustrated Magazine published their recommended selection of cutting boards. Tests to determine the Best Boards For Your Buck included these categories: (1) cutting, (2) durability, (3) clean up, and (4) user friendliness.

Even though reviewers were interested in the fast emerging niche of composite boards and bamboo cutting boards and to find out how well these materials perform; other cutting board materials were also tested including glass, plastic, composite, wood and bamboo for a total of 12 cutting board products and brands tested.

Best cutting boards received top praise and were given "Highly Recommended" status. Next level down, received "Recommended" status. Following that was "Recommended with Reservation" and then "Not Recommended." Below we have included specific cutting boards and brands that were either "Highly Recommended" or "Recommended."

Cook's Illustrated Magazine reviewers chose the following cutting boards as top picks. Find out which brands to buy and learn more about the following materials:

How to Clean?

Some cutting boards can be put in the dishwasher to clean, others cannot. Those that typically are dishwaser safe include: Plastic, Composite and Glass. Materials such as: Wood and Bamboo require hand washing with hot and soapy water.

Whatever cutting surface you decide to chop, dice and slice with, the material and cleaning should support a safe and hygienic surface free from dangerous food related bacteria.

Many people choose to use a plastic cutting sheet or board for poultry and meat and a separate one for chopping vegetables and produce.

If you do a lot of butchering, a thick chopping block is also a good choice. Just clean well with hot soap and water immediately after use.

What is a Composite Cutting Board?

These boards are made with wood fiber that is then permeated with glue and molded under tremendous heat and pressure. A brand to consider is Epicurean. This brand receives good reviews at Amazon. Reviewers at Cook's Illustrated though tested one board and gave it "Recommended with Reservation" status.

Wood, Plastic or Glass

Plastic boards are a good choice for many as they are low maintenance. These boards are dishwasher safe and surfaces generally don't interfere with the knife's edge causing it to dull. Also, most Plastic cutting boards are made in compliance with FDA standards and are super sanitary with a non-porous, non-absorbent surface. However, aesthetically, plastic cutting board surfaces can become unsightly due to the staining and scoring of daily use.

Wooden cutting boards are another good choice. Types of wood include Maple, Acacia and Birch, all of which are hardwoods and good for sanitation and long term use. Counter top boards, including butcher block cutting boards, are some of the nicest and most decorative for cutting. Choose end grain or edge grain wood for the best! And speaking of the best, take a look at John Boos maple work surfaces.

Other choices include metal, marble, glass and granite. However, these should be reserved for using as serving trays, cheese plates or decorative worktop savers only, as these materials will quickly dull and ruin good knives!

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