I’m not going to lie to you… Among the many different materials available, the wood cutting board is my absolute favorite.
Why Aren’t All Cutting Boards Created Equal?
There are many different types of boards available, and you will quickly become overwhelmed. If you’re going to make your own cutting board, you’ll need to know what kind of wood to use. Cutting boards are kitchen materials that are useful if they are made of the right wood.
At any given time, a cutting board serves as a chopping block, food preparation surface, or serving station—or all three. As a result, it’s critical that this must-have kitchen accessory be made of a long-lasting material.
Wood is preferred by professional chefs because it is more durable and sanitary than plastic, gentler on knife blades than bamboo, and less expensive than marble or granite. However, not all types of wood are superior. When purchasing a cutting board for your home kitchen, keep in mind that some wood species are better at chopping than others.
Continue reading for a detailed comparison of the best wood for cutting boards and butcher blocks, ensuring that you get a long-lasting cutting surface.
What Is a Cutting Board?
Serving as a serving station, food preparation station, or chopping block is one of the most common uses of a cutting board, and most of the time, all three in one sitting. Because of its durability and versatility, a cutting board should be in every kitchen. Wooden cutting boards are preferred by almost all professional chefs over plastic or other materials because they are more impact resistant.
A wooden cutting board is simple to clean, inexpensive, and gentler on knife blades. So, if you want a long-lasting cutting board, choosing the right one is crucial, especially for your specific chopping needs. It’s also critical to understand the best wood for cutting boards in order to avoid mishaps and stay safe at all times.
What to look for in wood for wooden chopping boards:
Consider the following 5 key characteristics of a wood species when choosing a cutting board or butcher block:
Janka’s hardness scale:
Wood, like nearly every other material, has a hardness rating. The harder and more resistant a wood is to scratches, dents, or dings from knives, the higher its Janka hardness rating (measured in pounds-force). Choose hardwoods with medium hardness, such as maple or cypress, over softwoods, such as pine.
All woods that produce edible fruits, nuts, leaves, or sap are thought to be safe to eat. While exotic woods like Purpleheart are attractive, they should be avoided. They frequently contain toxins that can leach from the wood and into food placed on top of it.
Choose closed-grain woods with visible pores to prevent liquid or bacteria from entering the cutting surface and causing mould growth, wood warping, or stains. As a result, despite its low cost, bamboo is not the best choice due to its surface porosity. Pores that are smaller are preferable. Open-grained woods like oak and ash, which have visible pores, are a poor choice because they absorb moisture like a sponge and quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Apply food-grade mineral oil, such as beeswax, to wood cutting boards and butcher blocks to prevent the wood from shrinking, warping, or splitting as humidity levels drop. After cleaning wooden cutting boards, that should be done quarterly for the average home cook. Keep in mind that some woods shrink more than others, necessitating more frequent oiling.
The cost of store-bought cutting surfaces varies greatly depending on the type of wood used in their construction. Because the bamboo tree grows so quickly, it is usually the cheapest material. Cutting boards are usually on the lower end of these scales, while butcher blocks are on the higher end. If you have the right tools, you could go out and buy the hardwood yourself and make a DIY cutting board.
Some cutting boards go above and beyond by including a few useful extra features. There are boards with handles for easy transport and storage, as well as boards with textured grips on the bottom side to prevent slipping and sliding while chopping.
Cutting boards with “juice grooves” or trenches around the perimeter of the board, which are very effective at collecting any liquid runoff, are available for cooks who work with a lot of raw meat or fruit. Some cutting boards even have feet attached to them. This is both attractive and practical: the raised surface is ideal for displaying hors d’oeuvres and cold cuts, and it also makes cleaning and drying the board much easier. Footboards are only recommended for heavier styles with enough weight to keep the board in place.
What Are the Best Types of Cutting Boards?
Knowing how to use a cutting board is just as important as knowing what type of wood to use. Fortunately, there are a variety of cutting boards to suit your needs. Here are some of the best woods for cutting boards:
It is by far the most popular cutting board material, particularly hard maple or sugar maple. Closed-grain and hardwood, this type of wood is the best and most ideal choice for cutting boards. One of the advantages of maple wood is that it is resistant to bacteria and has a very neutral colour. Their colour complements any kitchen design.
Despite its ring-porous nature, ash is a good choice for cutting boards. They’re tough and durable enough to serve as a constant companion in the kitchen. Ash is a lightwood compared to Maple, and it may require special care to avoid staining. Nonetheless, their design is advantageous because it blends in with the majority of kitchen themes.
While not being as popular as walnut or maple, Acacia is a well-known hardwood tree that is sturdy and hard enough to serve as the cornerstone of your day-to-day chopping needs. Acacia was once considered to be one of the most difficult woods to work with when it came to kitchen utensils. It is also renowned for its affordability.
It’s another popular option. Walnut is another attractive hardwood because of its texture and color. Despite being softer than Acacia and Maple, it is suitable for everyday chopping. Walnut, on the other hand, is in the “OK” category, neither too good nor too bad.
Because of how sturdy and dependable this type of wood is, it is another popular choice for cutting boards. It’s very easy to clean, and you’ll have no trouble keeping it up. Teak retains the majority of its water-repellent natural oils after processing. Teak is the best material for ease of use and maintenance when combined with tight grain materials.
It is a type of wood that is more difficult to work with than Maple. Pecan works in the same way that most hardwood cutting boards do. It is, however, a cross between a close grain and an open grain wood. This means it’s prone to water seepage and needs to be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Pecan is also one of the less expensive hardwoods.
Choosing Between Wood Grain Patterns
There are two types of end-grain and edge-grain designs in the category of wooden cutting boards. Each pattern boasts a different level of durability, so these cuts aren’t just for show.
Edge Grain vs. End Grain: Which One to Choose?
Cutting boards can be divided into two categories. End grain and edge grain are two different types of grain. Here’s how they differ.
Butcher blocks and wooden boards are used to create this. The pattern resembles a checkerboard. Its surface is softer than edge grain, making it gentler on your sharp knife. End grain cutting, on the other hand, is much more expensive than edge grain cutting.
These, unlike end grain cutting boards, are made from a variety of wood board cuts. They also provide stability and dependability due to their design. However, compared to end grain, they are more likely to dull your knives faster. Nonetheless, they are significantly less expensive than end grains.
Cutting boards are useful for a variety of things. It can handle everything from your daily chopping needs to serve a variety of dishes. Cutting boards are convenient because they are simple to make at home. If you want to make one but aren’t sure which wood is best for cutting boards, read everything above to get an idea of how each wood compares to the others.
Some of these woods may differ from one another in terms of the overall construction, but they have all been tested and proven to be durable and reliable. It should keep you chopping for much longer than you anticipated. Learn more about kitchen necessities.