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I have a secret to tell you …
Would you be surprised if I told you that up until a few months ago, I never used a wooden cutting board in my kitchen?
Yes. Yes, it’s true.
All those years wasted using plastic and other funky materials as a cutting surface. I had no idea what I was missing out on!
You’re probably wondering why I never used wood, considering how much time I spend in the kitchen cooking and developing recipes. Well, for the longest time, I didn’t think that wood could be sanitized properly. I worked in a restaurant for almost a decade, the last part of which I was the lead chef. All we ever had was plastic cutting boards, and I think it was just a habit that extended out in my life, post-restaurant.
Enter the Wooden Boards
Earlier this summer, I had decided it was time to get rid of the plastic cutting boards and switch to wood. I was slowly moving in that direction, and then I happened to read a post from Common Sense Homesteading, where she discusses Why Wooden Cutting Boards Are Best. That post solidified in my mind that I needed to make the switch. And I am oh so very happy that I did.
I love, love, love my wooden cutting boards. I seriously have no idea how I lived without them for so long. Recently, my sweet aunt passed away, and one of the items that my mother made sure I received was her wooden cutting board. This cutting board had been made by their father (my grandfather) and is probably 60+ years old. Not only does this cutting board remind me fondly of my aunt, but I never got a chance to meet my grandfather, so this cutting board is a way for me to connect with my heritage. Whenever I use it, I feel connected to my family. A little piece of history in my own kitchen and something to remind me of the happy times and conversations spent with my aunt.
But, didn’t I say boards?
Yes! I did! Keep reading!
Proteak Cutting Board Review
I am super excited that I now have more than one wooden cutting board! Last month, I was lucky enough to receive a cutting board from Proteak Renewable Forestry to review. To make the FTC happy, I need to let you know that I received this cutting board free of charge from Proteak and was not paid to write this review, nor was I under any obligation to post a positive review in exchange for the board. All opinions shared in this review are my own.
Now, moving on.
Proteak generously sent me this AMAZING cutting board to test out (see pic above). It is their Rectangle End Grain Cutting Board with Hand Grips and Juice Canal in the 16″ x 12″ x 2″ size.
What is Teak?
Whenever I told my mom that I was looking to switch to wood, she suggested that I look into teak cutting boards. There’s a reason for that. Teak is a super durable hardwood that is known to be water resistant. Teak has been used for boat building for over 150 years due to its natural ability to resist water damage. It is also used in exterior construction, furniture, and a variety of other wood working applications (both indoor and outdoor). The natural oils in teak make it termite and pest resistant, and it is durable even when not treated with oils or varnishes. For culinary applications, teak is a great choice for cutting boards because of its water resistance, durability, and high oil content (which acts like a natural antimicrobial). (source)
Who is Proteak Renewable Forestry?
Proteak was founded in 2000 when the company started to plant teak trees on some reclaimed ranch land in the state of Nayarit (which is about 3 hours northeast of Puerto Vallarta). They selected this area for to its quality soil and annual precipitation trends, both of which mimic Southeast Asia, which is known to be teak’s best growing habitat. Because the conditions in this area are ideal, it allows the company to cultivate their trees without the use of irrigation or fertilizers. This yields a green product without any harmful effects on the surrounding ecosystem.
Environmental and social sustainability have been cornerstones of Proteak’s guiding philosophy since day one. Shortly after cultivation began, Proteak was awarded a Forestry Management Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), affirming Proteak’s dedication to ecologically sound forestry techniques. In addition, Proteak seeks to stimulate the agricultural community by providing quality jobs with fair wages for workers in a traditionally low-income area of Mexico. Proteak now holds some of the largest teak plantations in Mexico and one of the largest in the western hemisphere. With over eight thousand acres under cultivation, Proteak is positioned to be the most reliable source of sustainable plantation teak and teak wood products for years to come. (source).
Proteak offers a wide range of cutting boards for the kitchen (all of which are GORGEOUS), but they also offer building materials (countertops, decking, and flooring), furniture, and other items. I am drooling over this teak countertop. Wow! Those are going on my “someday when we remodel our kitchen” list.
Their items are not only pretty to look at, they are built to stand the test of time. The wood is gentle on your knives, meaning you’ll spend less time sharpening and more time cooking. All of their wooden cutting boards are made from their organically grown teak grown sustainable plantations and are not treated with any chemicals or anything harmful. As long as you take care of your board, this should be an item that can be passed along to your kids. The board does have a slight “woody” odor at first, but it quickly dissipates once you start using it.
How Do I Like My Board?
I love it.
This board is not only gorgeous, it is a monster! Solid and durable. This baby does not move as you’re chopping, something that I always hated about plastic cutting boards. It stays put, just because it is so heavy. It weighs in at a whopping 10 pounds!
Not only have I enjoyed using it in the kitchen for all of my chopping needs, it also makes a lovely addition to the decor of my kitchen. Besides the beauty of the board, my favorite feature is the hand grips in the sides. Those grips make it so much easier when moving the board around the kitchen and are also handy when you’re washing the board.
Now that I have had time to use this board, it makes me wonder why I was so afraid of wood all this time. My main fear was the sanitation issue. I just never thought that I could get wood clean enough. But, now that I have used it, I know that was an unfounded fear. First of all, wood, all by itself, has natural antimicrobial properties, something I learned about in the Common Sense Homesteading post that I mentioned earlier. And, couple that with the fact that I use coconut oil to condition the board and coconut oil itself has natural antimicrobial properties, I think I’m pretty safe. No one’s died yet. 😉
Taking care of the wooden boards is much easier than I expected. Proteak has a great section on their site on how to care for your teak products. It really is easy. All I do is scrub the board with hot water and gentle soap when I’m done using it. I dry it thoroughly and then I let it air dry completely before storing it. I have an open metal rack in my kitchen, so I let it dry on the metal rack to ensure that the air can circulate completely. Every week or so, I rub the whole board down with some coconut oil and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. I wipe off the excess oil with a dry towel and voilà! Done.
If you need a little more disinfecting power, you can use some full strength white vinegar. For an even bigger germ-killing hit, you can follow up with 3% hydrogen peroxide. All you do is wipe the surface with the vinegar, then follow with wiping the surface with the peroxide. I keep a spray bottle of each handy for disinfecting in the kitchen. I just spray it on, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wipe it off completely. If you end up with any tough odors, you can use some salt, baking soda, or some lemon on the board and it should kick any pesky odors to the curb.
All in all, I am so very pleased with this product and I have to give Proteak a BIG THANK YOU for sending me a board to review. I am completely sold on wooden cutting boards and