It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… When it comes to cutting boards, however, feel free to get downright discriminating, because there’s a lot you can tell about a cutting board just by how it looks. Armed with little more than a modest cutting board education and a discerning eye, you can pick the best quality boards out of a lineup.
It’s roundly agreed that hardwood cutting boards are the best option for serious cooks (who tend to appreciate a sharp knife). Plantation teak, walnut, maple and cherry are not only the top performers where knife wear is concerned, they also happen to be the most beautiful materials available.
Hardwoods, unlike glass and other rigid materials have the ability to both stand up to rigorous slicings and dicings, but yield ever so slightly to let knife blades pass without unnecessary dulling. Think about it, stone countertops may look nice, but you don’t see many granite butcher blocks. Cutting boards have to be both extremely sturdy and yet forgiving at the same time, to preserve your cutlery. Because let’s face it, a knife with dull blade is just a flat piece of metal with a handle.
Another reason chefs prefer hardwood boards are their natural anti-microbial properties. Unlike plastic, wood cutting boards don’t harbor bacteria in their grooves or knife marks, improving food safety. In fact, a study conducted by UC Davis concluded that wood cutting boards trapped bacteria and killed it rather than letting it reproduce.
The way a cutting surface is constructed can be just as important as the material it’s made from. And in keeping with this post’s theme, construction is yet another area in which you can let your eyes guide you to quality. While beauty lies in eye of the beholder, I’m willing to bet that most beholders favor the look of an end grain board’s checkered pattern… just do a quick Google search and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
For centuries, end grain construction has been the hands-down favorite among chefs because it greatly limits the wear and tear on their sharp knife blades. Much like splitting the end grains of a log, each time your knife cuts across the checkerboard of end grain blocks, the fibers separate allowing the knife to pass through with minimal friction.
Add to that the beauty of exotic hardwoods like plantation teak, and you’ve got a stunning pattern of blocks that showcase the contrasting colors inside the wood. Since the end grain pattern shows a horizontal cross section of a tree, end grain boards show of the tree’s rings.
Though there are few choices when it comes to sustainably harvested hardwoods, the most aesthetically pleasing is also the most readily available. Plantation teak offers the most sophisticated and contrasting grain patterns available. Likewise, these boards offer the legendary durability and long-life that teak is famous for.
Natural oils contained in the teak wood repel moisture, warping, cracking, etc. That’s why teak has earned its reputation as one of the longest lasting wood around. FSC certified teak cutting boards are available, helping you feel good about your beautiful cutting board each time you use it.
Source by Josh Loposer