Thursday, 1 December 2011

How to - Clean Chopping Boards

Cleaning a chopping board may seem like a pretty silly 'how to' topic, but it is something people always ask me about.

I have a strict WOODEN CHOPPING BOARD ONLY policy as wooden is the best option for cleanliness, safety and hygiene.  Also, if like me you spend a lot of money on a good, sharp chefs knife you don't want to ruin it chopping on glass or plastic.  A sharp knife will shave the surface off any board and given the option of having wood, plastic or glass shavings in my food, I'm pretty sure I know which one I'd choose.

Glass and plastic chopping boards are often heralded as the more hygienic option and a way to prevent cross contamination and salmonella poisoning but honestly, there are HEAPS of ways to contract food poisoning and if you're not careful, these surfaces can breed more bacteria than wood ever would.   I once stayed at a friends house for a few days and while there, I saw the glass chopping board being used to cut, raw and cooked chicken, fruits and veggies, bread and pastries, beef and fish.  Not once did I see this board get washed.  Needless to say I was very careful about what I ate. 

Wooden chopping boards have a natural tannin in them which acts as an antibacterial agent and will assist in killing most bacteria on the board.  And then there are the people who say 'but if I wash the wooden chopping bard after cutting chicken, the hot water could cook the chicken on the board.'  Yeah it could.  This could also happen with a plastic chopping board, it's all about the method of cleaning you use.

If you do really feel you need to have separate chopping boards for fish, raw meat, fruit and vegetables, have several wooden chopping boards that are all clearly labelled.  I only have one wooden chopping board that I wash well after each use and I have never had issues with cross contamination or food poisoning.  

So, how do you clean a wooden chopping board?

  1. Rinse the chopping board under cold water, using your hand to brush off any stuborn debris.  Turn water off.
  2. Take a soapy scourer and clean chopping board, scrubbing well over to ensure all of the chopping board has had a good wash.
  3. Rinse suds off under hot running water.
  4. About once a month, use half a lemon to rub a few tablespoons of coarse salt into your chopping board and let it stand for a few minutes.  This will assist in removing any colours or odours from the board.
  5. NEVER submerge your chopping board in water.

And that's my spiel on chopping boards.  I hope it was informative but feel free to ask any questions if you have them.

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