They're the most abused
and ignored tool in kitchen preparation and where most
bacteria grows quite easily and successfully.
We even feed them unknowingly
on a regular basis. A 'seasoned' wood cutting board is
by definition germ-ridden. Use and clean
them right. Read on.
Don't trust the translucent white polyvinyl, space-age
polymer cutting boards. They don't clean thoroughly and bits
of the material eventually dislodge and get into your food and your
"Epicurean", however makes a very good synthetic cutting board. Used by the pros worldwide; it's even dishwasher-able. I'm impressed.
Permanently built-in, or in-laid cutting boards scare the
heck outta me. How can they possibly be thoroughly cleaned
and sanitizes? And what were they thinking when
contractors use soft, loose-fiber, untreated plywood for
pull-out deals with just the end painted? That's food
pollution just begging to happen.
Good hard natural wood is NOT a problem if you're smart
and consistent in cleaning 'em. Maple
cutting boards are
the only way to go. To completely allay your fears of bacteria absorbing
into the wood, just do as I do and as I say:
After using a maple cutting board, NOT when you're darn good and ready,
NOT when everything else in the pot and long BEFORE all those yummy flavors
into the wood fibres, IMMEDIATELY SCRUB your
cool maple cutting board with dish detergent or baking soda, HOT water
and a scrub brush or sponge; the handle or grab hole, too.
The hot water opens
the micro-grooves in the wood grain and cut marks. RINSE with HOT water,
then with COLD water to seal it back up again. Then TOWEL
DRY. Don't let it air dry, that'd defeat
the whole purpose here.
NOW go back to the stove or bowl and go for it knowing your
board is happy and healthy, ready for you to grab at any time.
Simple, huh? And then there's absolutely no concern for
which side is for savory cutting, which is for sweet.
and drying your maple cutting board immediately
will prevent any cross-flavoring: you know, that lovely hint
of garlic in a sliced apple, just a hint radish in the
from-scratch vanilla pudding.
NEVER let any food sit on the board; transfer it to a dish
or bowl to set while you wash, rinse and dry the board.
I strongly advocate using safe, biodegradable, natural, tres
smart, GLOBAL-COOLING cleaners.
White distilled vinegar, cuts grease,
does windows, sweetens garbage disposers, smells so much better
than bleach or less responsible abrasives.
Run a 1/3
cup with water through your coffee maker, then
a water-only cycle. Basic vinegar cleans almost
anything AND it's cheap,
find. It smells a whole lot better than bleach
or the other eco-ignorant cleaners.
natural abrasive, good for glass and pans, general. Always
soda OR vinegar separately, not together (unless
you're going for
on carpet stains, just let it sit and absorb, then vacuum!).
don't like it (mix with some cornmeal and they'll loose
the pheromone trail
AND engorge to the point of no return). Add it to every load
of laundry to boost cleaning power the eco-friendly way.
Look for oxalic acid abrasives (like Barkeeper's
Friend) for really stubborn kitchen spills
and spots. It works when baking soda doesn't.
Green', 'OxyClean', 'Orange Glo' and others
are great liquid, spray-ons. Get 'em, use 'em.
trust the hype that chlorine
bleach is safe for the
but the odor
is warning enough for me. It works TOO well.