Kitchen & Pantry

Chopping boards — wood or plastic?

If my father were still alive and he had a chance to read this entry, he would be smiling from ear to ear. My father used wooden chooping boards — only, exclusively. We would even drive south to buy the large round ones, the cross cuts from trunks of huge tamarind trees.

What’s so special about wooden chopping boards, anyway?

1) They are really made for chopping.

2) The natural acid in the wood kills bacteria. Yeah, I read that somewhere a long time ago when I was reading up on the eternal debate over wood versus plastic chopping boards. That’s why trunks of trees with acidic fruits (tamarind, santol) are best for making chopping boards.

casaveneracion.com wooden chopping boards

The chopping board on the left side of the photo above came from a santol tree. I bought it in Baguio three or four years ago and I’m still using it. The one on the right side was a gift from a friend. After two and a half years, it’s still great. Wood absorbs oil and oil preserves the wood. I suppose that’s what makes wooden chopping boards last so long.

For best results, do not use detergent on wooden chopping boards. To remove stubborn fat on the surface — and this usually happens when chopping meat — pour boiling water over it while gently scraping the surface with a dull knife.

The cutting board below was also a gift.

casaveneracion.com plastic cutting board

I love the color (I believe it was bought from IKEA) but I only use it for cutting. That’s why I call it a cutting board rather than a chopping board. It’s great when mincing or dicing vegetables or meat but I wouldn’t use it for chopping chicken through the bones. When I need to bring a cutting board on the dining table, as when serving uncut loaves of bread, this is the one I use, not the heavy wooden ones.

So, while wooden chopping boards will always be my first choice, plastic cutting boards are pretty useful too — especially if you have to take photos for your food blog. :)

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