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Chopping Board Categorisation System with Four Coloured Boards
A knife edge is a delicate structure and can easily be blunted by too abrasive a surface. Alternatively, it can be chipped if used on a surface that is too hard. A good cutting board material must be soft, easy to clean, and non-abrasive, but not fragile to the point of being destroyed. Hard cutting boards can, however, be used for food preparation tasks that do not require a sharp knife, like cutting cheese or making sandwiches.
This wooden cutting board shows signs of scoring after repeated use
Wood has some advantages over plastic in that it is somewhat self-healing; shallow cuts in the wood will close up on their own. Wood also has natural anti-septicproperties.
Hardwoods with tightly grained wood and small pores are best for wooden cutting boards. Good hardness and tight grain help reduce scoring of the cutting surface and absorption of liquid and dirt into the surface. Red oak, even though a hardwood, has large pores which retain dirt even after washing. This makes it a poor choice for cutting-board material. Teak's tight grains and natural coloration make it a highly attractive cutting-board material, both for aesthetic and durability purposes. Teak, a tropical wood, contains tectoquinones, components of natural oily resins that repel moisture, fungi, warping, rot and microbes. Wooden boards can also be refinished with sanding and a reapplication of oil and wax.
Wood boards need to be cared for with an edible mineral oil to avoid warping, and should not be left in puddles of liquid. Ideally, they should be suspended freely while drying. Care must be taken when selecting wood, especially tropical hardwood, for use as a cutting board, as some species contain toxins or allergens.
Bamboo cutting boards are an alternative to plastic or glass cutting boards, partially because Bamboo is commonly thought to be naturally antimicrobial (although studies show otherwise). During the harvesting process, bamboo is carefully chosen for maturation, markings, and size. The stalk is then cut into specific sizes and sent through a pressing process that strips the stalks into smaller plank-like pieces. Once the bamboo is pliable, a cutting board can be produced from multiple pieces by lamination.
A plastic cutting board
Plastic boards are usually called PE (polyethylene) cutting boards, or HDPE (high-density polyethylene plastic), the material of which these boards are made. There are basically two types of HDPE boards being made. One version is made from injection-molded plastic, while the other is HDPE from an extrusion line. There are several certifications of plastic cutting boards, one being NSF, that certifies the plastic has passed requirements to come in contact with food. Unlike wood, plastic has no inherent antiseptic properties. However, unlike wood, plastic boards do allow rinsing with harsher cleaning chemicals such as bleach and other disinfectants without damage to the board or retention of the chemicals to later contaminate food. Most high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE) boards are specifically designed not to dull the edge of a knife. If a score line is present, the knife is safe. A serrated knife should not be used on a plastic cutting board. The sharper the knife, the longer the cutting board will last. Semi-disposable thin flexible cutting boards also ease transferring their contents to a cooking or storage vessel.
A recent[when?] trend has seen thick solid rubber pads used as cutting boards in the Sani-Tuff line popular in restaurant kitchens. They are about as expensive as well-made wood boards, they can take chemical disinfectants, and they are very heavy for their size, so they tend not to slip. Proponents[who?] claim remarkable self-healing properties, the same knife protection as good plastic or wood boards, and an inability to harbor significant amounts of moisture or bacteria.
Like rubber, silicone is soft on the blade, while being just as self-healing and anti-bacterial as wood. Silicone is also heat-resistant, and lacks the rubbery smell
While glass looks like an easy surface to keep clean, glass cutting boards can damage knives because of the high hardness of the material. Cutting on glass tends to dent, roll or even chip knife edges in a rapid manner. Additionally, if used for chopping instead of slicing, glass can shatter or chip itself, contaminating food. They last for around 6 years.
Steel shares with glass the advantages of the durability and ease of cleaning, as well as the tendency to damage knives. Depending on the exact steel and heat treatment used, at best a steel cutting board will wear the edge on knives quickly; at worst chip, dent, or roll it like glass.
Sanitation with cutting boards is a delicate process because bacteria can reside in grooves produced by cutting, or in liquids left on the board.