How The Wrong Cutting Board Can Sabotage Your Cooking

No joke.

If you're not really all that into cooking, chances are a cutting board is the least of your concerns. As long as there's a surface to slice and dice on, that will suffice, right? Well, that's actually wrong. Not only is a cutting board essential for keeping a sanitary kitchen, but having the right one can seriously up your cooking experience.

As America's Test Kitchen attests, a bad board wastes time and creates more work for the cook. What you need is one that is big enough to work on, heavy enough to stay in place, and has handles of some sort that make it easy to ... well, handle. But most importantly, you want one that's easy on your kitchen knife.

Hard boards, like glass, can quickly dull the blade. (There's nothing worse in a kitchen than a knife with a dull blade -- it's ineffective and dangerous.) Boards that are too soft, like plastic, will easily get cuts that can trap food and breed bacteria. Bamboo boards are popular these days, but they are almost 20 percent harder than a wooden cutting board, which over time can take a toll on your knife blade. The best way to go is with wood.

If taken care of, wooden cutting boards treat you well in the kitchen and last for many years to come. For extra long life, look for an "edge-grain" board (as opposed to an "end-grain" board). It's less likely to absorb water, which can warp a board over time. America's Test Kitchen recommends the Proteak edge-grain cutting board, but it will set you back some cash. We recommend any quality wood cutting board, with a preference for edge grain over end grain.

Watch the video below for a full explanation of why cutting boards are so important -- and how they can up your cooking game.

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