Wood has some advantages over plastic in that it is somewhat self-healing; shallow cuts in the wood will close up on their own. Wood also has natural anti-septic properties.
Hardwoods with tightly grained wood and small pores are best for wooden cutting boards. Good hardness and tight grain help reduce scoring of the cutting surface and absorption of liquid and dirt into the surface. Red oak, even though a hardwood, has large pores which retain dirt even after washing. This makes it a poor choice for cutting-board material.
Teak’s tight grains and natural coloration make it a highly attractive cutting-board material, both for aesthetic and durability purposes. Teak, a tropical wood, contains tectoquinones, components of natural oily resins that repel moisture, fungi, warping, rot and microbes. Wooden boards can also be refinished with sanding and a reapplication of oil and wax.
Wood boards need to be cared for with an edible mineral oil to avoid warping, and should not be left in puddles of liquid. Ideally, they should be suspended freely while drying. Care must be taken when selecting wood, especially tropical hardwood, for use as a cutting board, as some species contain toxins or allergens.
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