Wood or Plastic?
Firstly, sustainable wooden cutting and serving boards are more environmentally friendly than plastic boards. We only use certified sustainable and ethical hardwoods in the making of all our products.
Hardwoods are fine-grained. The capillary action of those grains pulls down fluid, trapping bacteria, which are killed off as the board dries after cleaning. Conversely, softwoods have larger grains, leading to the wood splitting apart more easily and grooves being formed in which bacteria can thrive.
Hardwoods (we primarily use ash, beech and walnut) are more robust than plastic, hence, there is less tendency of severe scratching and scoring. Although a plastic cutting board has a nonporous surface when new, once it is knife-scarred or has a broken surface it becomes exceptionally difficult to clean and inevitably must be thrown out. On the other hand, if hardwood becomes scored or scratched, the damaged surface of the board can be re-planed using sandpaper. Wood is long lasting and a high quality wooden chopping board will last years.
There have been many tests conducted on whether plastic boards are safer from contamination than wood. Most tests suggest that wood can actually be safer because bacteria multiplies more readily on plastic as opposed to wood surfaces. The fine porous surface of hardwoods generates unfavourable conditions for microorganisms as opposed to smooth plastic cutting surfaces on which they thrive. Additionally, wood produces antimicrobial components, a characteristic that inhibits or limits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
Unlike plastic, which tends to dull knife blades, wooden cutting boards cause less wear on knives. And, although softwoods are more forgiving towards your knives, their open-grained nature poses a greater food safety risk than dense hardwoods.
Whether you choose to use wood or plastic it is essential to keep your boards in good condition.
Caring for your Wooden Board
Caulfield Country Boards pieces are designed and crafted to last you a lifetime. Wooden kitchenware and serveware do require some maintenance, but it is easy and it is worth it. To keep your wooden boards, spoons and utensils in tip top condition follow these helpful tips.
Wood is a natural material, which is prone to movement subject to its environment. We design and engineer our boards to remain level and intact, however, if your board is exposed to conditions differing from its usual environment (such as excess moisture, insufficient moisture or excessive temperature variation) it may begin to crack or warp.
Following each use, wash down your wooden board with hot, soapy water. Please do not soak or dishwash as this may lead to warping and/or cracking.
If you do notice your board beginning to warp, turn it onto the opposite side for storage and usage and this should coax it back to an even level.
After washing, wipe your board dry with a cloth and leave standing upright to dry thoroughly before storing, as damp boards will support bacterial growth.
To sanitise your wooden board spread coarse salt generously across the surface and scrub with half a lemon. Alternatively, neat white vinegar can be used. Cover the board in the vinegar solution and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
All of our boards are treated with a food grade, odourless, colourless, tasteless, antibacterial polyurethane oil at the end stage of production. This is a hard-setting oil, which seals the grain and discourages movement of the wood. We recommend that you re-oil your boards and wooden utensils monthly depending on usage. When your board needs to be oiled you will know because it will look dried out and thirsty!
Prior to oiling we advise that you clean your wooden boards and utensils and allow them to thoroughly dry. We recommend using a mixture of beeswax and food grade mineral oil (this is colourless, odourless and tasteless and therefore will not spoil subsequent food that comes into contact with the wood). Using a clean cloth, apply the oil in an even layer over the wooden surfaces and leave to soak in for a few hours. Remove any excess oil until the board does not feel damp or sticky. Apply an even layer of beeswax and rub into the grain of the wood until smooth.
Following these simple steps will preserve the hygiene, as well as lengthen the lifespan, of your wooden boards and kitchen utensils. We have created a care package, containing mineral oil, beeswax, emery paper and sandpaper, for your convenience.