by Lindsay Woodland
A chopping board is one of the most basic pieces of equipment in the kitchen. Chopping boards, also known as cutting boards and butcher blocks, protect your countertops from scratches and your knives from excessive dulling. Cutting boards are also much more sanitary than chopping your ingredients on the countertop or a paper plate or napkin. Used properly, a chopping board can also be a tremendous help in preparing your meals.
Wash and dry. Prepare the chopping board for use by ensuring that it is clean and dry. Plastic cutting boards may be put in the dishwasher, but wood cutting boards should be washed by hand and towel dried. Most people buy one chopping board for beef, chicken, fish and vegetables. If you have a wood chopping board, you may also want to oil the board to help create a patina and avoid scratches.
Safety tips. Place the chopping board on your counter and check to see if it stays securely in place or slides around. If the chopping board moves when you push it, place a damp paper towel or an antiskid mat underneath the board.
Slice and dice. Place items to be chopped in the center of the cutting board and use your favorite knife to slice, dice or julienne. As you chop, use your knife to slide chopped food to the edge of the board, leaving space in the middle to chop more ingredients. If your chopping block is large, you can quickly chop everything you need for a full meal on one board and create separate piles of different ingredients around the perimeter of the board.
Tips and techniques. If your chopping board is a made of a thin, flexible material like silicone, you can lift it with the ingredients in place, bend in the sides and use the board as a funnel to pour chopped ingredients into a cooking vessel. For stiff boards, use your hands and the flat side of your knife to transfer ingredients from the chopping board into a bowl or onto the stove.