Cook Better: Butcher Block Cutting Boards for Quick and Easy Chopping
A great cutting board can last a lifetime.
Wood—firm, sturdy, reliable wood—has been a staple of the kitchen for generations, and there are plenty of reasons why. A high-quality wood butcher block cutting board can last a lifetime with proper care, while also providing a perfect environment for chopping, dicing, slicing and mincing.
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Let’s talk grain. When you look at a plank of wood, there are six sides—two of each type. There’s the broad, flat side, like a paddle; there’s the edge, which goes the entire length of the plank; and there’s the end, the short sides that go widthwise. These are referred to as “face grain,” “edge grain” and “end grain.” End grain is the highest quality, and typically the most expensive. Face grain is at the lowest end of the spectrum, and edge grain falls somewhere in the middle.
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Edge grain, a good starting point for a cutting board, stacks planks of wood on their side, cutting them lengthwise. The thin strips of wood are then glued together to form the board. They’re lightweight, which makes them easy to transport, and quite durable compared with face grain boards, which have a tendency to split.
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End grain is the priciest of all, and for good reason. Wood is made up almost of many threads, angling in one direction downwards. So when you slice with your knife, those threads part, making an end grain board incredibly gentle on your knife, while remaining super strong.
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