Ok, so not the most exciting thing to think about, but if you stop to think about how much use your chopping boards gets and that most of the food you eat comes in contact with them, it's definitely worth making sure they are cleaned and looked after properly right?!
What about using plastic so you can throw them in the dishwasher? Surely that is sanitary enough, right? Wrong! There is a misconception that plastic chopping boards are cleaner and more germ free than wooden ones. Plastic chopping boards end up with more grooves from cutting than wooden boards and, surprisingly, even throwing them in the dishwasher, does not clean out what ends up in these grooves. (See http://www.foodsafety.company/2017/02/plastic-vs-wood-chopping-boards.html for more scientific information).
Now, the wood your board is made out of does play a part in how sanitary it is. Hard wood is by the far the best way to go, avoid any types of soft wood as these result in more grooves from cutting which provide a breading ground for bacteria. Soft woods contain more moisture which adds to this process. However, hard woods don't contain as much moisture so the bacteria dies off when the board dries out. Who knew, there was so much to learn about chopping boards?!
After chopping onions and garlic on wooden chopping boards, it can take quite an effort to get rid of the smell, if ever! We have a designated chopping board for garlic and onions, but even if it's not cleaned and deodorised properly, it can leave the cupboard smelling not so nice.
Ok, so how do we keep this crucial kitchen item clean, deodorised and safe for us and our families?
• Use a seperate chopping board for raw meats
• Thoroughly clean with a scrubbing brush, (not a kitchen cloth) hot water, and a natural dishwashing liquid. Kitchen cloths don't get into all the grooves that have been created by knives, you need a scrubbing brush to make sure you get all the nasties out.
• Deoderise - simply use a cut lemon and some table salt to rub over your board.
• Oiling - keeping your board oiled prevents water seeping in, retains it's nice natural look, and plugs the grooves to prevent bacteria build up. It is recommended to do this every couple of months.
Take a look at the video below to see how to make your own wooden chopping board oil.