What You Should Do With Your Cutting Board Before Using A Knife

As one of the most important kitchen tools, cutting boards are essential for chopping, dicing, julienning, and more. Though you might be tempted to pull any old board from your kitchen cabinet and start hacking away at produce and proteins, there are a few things you should do with your cutting board before even touching a knife.

It might seem silly, but the type of chopping board (wood, plastic, composite, bamboo, granite) you use can impact the sharpness of your knives and plays a role in keeping bacteria away. Dense wooden boards made from maple, cherry, beech, or walnut are most popular, given that they're durable, gentle on knives, and have smaller spores for bacteria to hide in, reports Simply Recipes. That said, shape (rectangular, circular, novelty) and features (handles, grooves, reversibility) can also factor into choosing the right chopping board.

Regardless of the material, starting with a clean cutting board is vital. Aside from composite chopping boards, Allrecipes recommends hand-washing all other boards in a warm, soapy solution and immediately drying to avoid any potential warping. Once the board is sparkling, there's one more thing you need to do before using it.

Stabilize that board!

It's common for things to go awry in the kitchen — especially when sharp knives are part of the equation. However, as Royal Craft Wood suggests, one way to avoid slicing something that you didn't intend to slice is to stabilize the board. Rather than live in fear, you can minimize the risk of cutting board injuries by preventing slipping and sliding entirely.

According to Cook's Illustrated, the best way to steady your cutting boards is to invest in slip-free mats or clip-on feet that can be attached directly to your board. Typically made of rubber or foam, they work to anchor down cutting boards in a quick and effective way. Cheap and easy to store, mats are particularly advantageous, as they can be flexible and easy to clean. 

If you happen to be in a pinch, there is a quick and easy solution that can also prove useful. Los Angeles Times suggests dampening some paper towels or a kitchen towel and placing it directly under your cutting board to prevent it from sliding. Make cuts and nicks a thing of the past!