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What is the best type of cutting board to use in an Indian kitchen?

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
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Are you frequently replacing the cutting board in your kitchen because it looks scratched, worn out or discoloured? When you ask for advice on the best cutting board to buy, whether it’s plastic, bamboo, wood or glass, the conflicting recommendations and opinions can be confusing. Undeniably, each kind of material comes with advantages and disadvantages. In today’s ideabook, we highlight the various types of cutting boards available in the market along with the pros and cons of each material. This will help you to decide which one is best suited to the kitchen in your home.

Plastic

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MINIMALIST MODULAR KITCHEN

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Undoubtedly plastic chopping boards are the most common variety that you will find in Indian kitchens. They are considered hygienic, but in reality, they get easily scratched by sharp knives, and these crevices or cuts attract a lot more bacteria than a wooden or bamboo chopping board does.

Pros:

- Plastic cutting boards are relatively cheap, so you can consider replacing them often to prevent the accumulated bacteria from contaminating your food.

- They can be hygienically washed in the dishwasher, unlike wood and bamboo.

Cons:

- As we mentioned earlier, the scarred surface of plastic chopping boards can become a hotbed of bacteria.

- Tiny particles from the surface of the board can get into your food and affect your health in the long term.

- Plastic as a material is not environment-friendly, so from a sustainability perspective, disposing these boards too often is not recommended.

Bamboo

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RESIDENCE SINGLE FAMILY PROJECT BY MAD DESIGN

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If you value a sustainable option for your kitchen, then nothing beats bamboo chopping boards. They are made from a renewable material and have a firm surface.

Pros:

- Bamboo cutting boards come with the advantage of being a natural and renewable material that won’t harm the environment.

- The surface is hard and more resistant to water than wooden chopping boards, making them a more hygienic alternative.

Cons:

- The surface of bamboo kitchen boards is harder than some of the stronger natural woods. As a result, they can be harsh on your knives, and you may have to sharpen them more frequently.

- Bamboo boards have small grooves on the surface, into which the blade of a knife can get stuck, impeding smooth cutting action when you are working.

- These boards are made from strips of processed bamboo, which are then glued together. You need to ensure that the cutting board you buy does not contain formaldehyde-based glue, which is a toxic substance that can cause respiratory illnesses and skin irritation. With long-term exposure, formaldehyde is even known to cause cancer of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.

Get ideas on healthy kitchen accessories to include in your kitchen.

Wood

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Wood is a natural and renewable resource. Although it takes longer to renew than bamboo, which has a shorter harvest cycle, a wooden cutting board is usually made from waste material or scrap left over after building larger pieces of furniture, and therefore, they help to reduce wastage.

Pros:

- Softer woods are kind to knives, so you won’t have to sharpen or replace them too often.

- Cutting boards made from harder woods have self-healing properties. They don’t get scratched as easily as plastic boards.

- They are long-lasting if cared for well with regular oiling to prevent the board from staining and warping.

Cons:

- Wooden boards can’t be washed in the dishwasher as the board will absorb water when soaked in it for a long time. 

- These boards need extra care when cleaning as you cannot soak them in the sink along with your dishes, or they will absorb water, causing the material to rot. You need to wash the board immediately after use, avoiding harsh detergents, and drain it upright so that any accumulated water seeps out of the board.

- Cutting boards made of wood can get stained unless you oil the surface frequently to form a water and resistant layer on the surface.

Consult an interior designer for recommendations on  where to get a good-quality wooden cutting board.

Glass

Although not commonly used, tempered glass cutting boards are another option. You can find them in colourful stained or decorated designs.

Pros:

- Compared to materials such as wood, bamboo and plastic, these boards are highly resistant to scratches, making them hygienic and less prone to bacteria.

- They are relatively easy to clean and don’t require additional care unlike other materials such as wood.

Cons:

- Safety is one of the primary concerns about using glass cutting boards. The smooth surface of these boards makes them slippery, posing the danger of shifting while you work. This can be solved by having rubber stoppers at the bottom of the board. However, even while chopping, the knife can slip on the surface, increasing the risk of getting cut while you work.

- The contact of your knife on the surface causes a squeaky noise, comparable to that of chalk on a blackboard, which can grate your nerves if you are sensitive to this kind of sound.

- Glass boards also damage your knives, making them lose their sharpness quickly. This means you will need to sharpen or replace them more often.

- If the board accidentally slips off the counter, it can shatter to pieces and pose a risk of injury.

Natural stone

Natural stone, such as granite and marble, is a non-porous material. Due to this, these chopping boards are extremely durable and resistant.

Pros:

- Since the surface doesn’t get scratched, bacteria and germs cannot penetrate the surface of a marble cutting board.

- They are easy to clean and don’t need additional care compared to other materials like wood.

- They look natural and are beautiful.

Cons:

- The hardness of the surface affects the sharpness of knives, and you will need to repair your knives regularly to keep them in working condition.

- The smooth surface can cause knives to slip while you are working, posing a hazard in the kitchen.

- The action of chopping, which causes the metal of the knife to touch the hard stone, can be noisy.

Get ideas on how to plan your kitchen to incorporate all the important aspects.

Stainless steel

This is the most-favoured material in professional kitchens because it is very hygienic and easy to clean. However, stainless steel has its disadvantages.

Pros:

- Stainless steel brings a lovely modern look to the kitchen. It’s a good option to consider, especially if you want it to match the stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen.

- As mentioned earlier, a board made of steel is easy to clean, resistant to scratches and therefore, high on hygiene.

Cons:

- Like with other non-porous and hard materials, stainless-steel can shorten the life span of your kitchen knives. You will need to sharpen them more frequently.

- When chopping, the sound of metal clashing against metal can irritate those who have a low tolerance for unpleasant noises.

After analysing the merits and demerits of all the types of chopping boards, which one should you use? We recommend wood as it is a sustainable material that is durable. Of course, it requires a bit of extra attention, but if you care for it, it is the best type of cutting board to use in your kitchen in terms of safety, health and sustainability.

In India, you can find wooden cutting boards made of several types of wood, including neem, mango, teak, acacia and sheesham. The prices vary depending on the type of wood and the thickness of the board. Generally, you can find good-quality wooden chopping boards in the price range of INR 500 to INR 1200.

Contact one of the professionals on homify to get a handmade wooden chopping board designed for your kitchen.

What type of cutting board do you prefer in your kitchen? Let us know in the comments.
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