cutting board

Debates about whether wood or plastic cutting boards reign supreme rage among gourmet chefs and home cooks alike. (Anyone get the Iron Chef reference, eh, eh?)

Whether you’re a wooden board aficionado or pro-plastic, you gotta get your cutting boards clean. You don’t want bacteria milling around the area where you chop veggies, fruits and meats. And all you eco-cleaners out there know that a dose of bleach is not the answer.

Unlike plastic cutting boards, you can’t toss a wooden cutting board into the dishwasher. The high temperatures in dishwashers can distort wooden cutting boards or even crack them. So how the heck do you get a wooden cutting board clean?

Simple. It only takes two natural ingredients to disinfect wood cutting boards. You probably even already have them in your green cleaning arsenal. Find out how to sanitize a wood cutting board, eco-style.

Ingredients:

Coarse Salt
Lemon

Directions:

1. Sprinkle a layer of coarse salt, such as Kosher salt, over your wood cutting board.

2. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze one half of the lemon over the board.

3. Use a scrub brush and a little elbow grease to scour the board for a few minutes. You could also use the lemon half to scrub the board, squeezing out the juice as you go. The acid in the lemon juice will disinfect the board and the abrasive action of the salt will get rid of any tiny food remnants or stains that still cling to the board. If you chop foods on both sides of the board, be sure to clean them both.

4. Thoroughly rinse the board with hot water.

5. Make sure the board dries in an upright position. Excess moisture can quickly turn your wooden chopping accessory into a bacteria cafeteria. Allowing the board to dry in a vertical position will ensure that moisture leaves the board.

Break out this cleaning method on your board about once a week. For everyday use, wash your board with a mild soap or a solution of one part vinegar and one part water. The vinegar will disinfect the board and remove any lingering odors from foods, such as the delicious, but potent onions and garlic.

To prolong the life of your cutting board, oil it every so often with beeswax, or walnut or almond oil. Constant cleaning will strip natural oils from the board, which can cause it to crack. So oil it up.

image: Sarah Ross photography