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How To Maintain Your Wooden Cutting Boards, Spoons

Your wooden kitchen equipment will smile at you if you follow two simple rules: do not soak and oil regularly.

  • wooden cutting board, before oiling

    Image 1 of 4

    Photo: Clara Moore

    Wooden cutting board, before oiling

  • wooden cutting board, after oiling

    Image 2 of 4

    Photo: Clara Moore

    Wooden cutting board, after oiling

  • wooden spoon, before oiling

    Image 3 of 4

    Photo: Clara Moore

    Wooden spoon, before oiling

  • wooden spoon, after oiling

    Image 4 of 4

    Photo: Clara Moore

    Wooden spoon, after oiling

One thing life has taught me is that some things really are made to last – and there are definitely some kitchen equipment I plan to have for my lifetime.

Our throw-away culture is destroying our minds into thinking that most of what we have is disposable. That means treat it rough, with American panache, and then dump it in the trash.

Well, I’m here to tell you that with a little cultivation, your things can remain functional for a long time. In specific, your wooden equipment will smile at you if you follow two simple rules: do not soak and oil regularly.

Why wood? I prefer wooden equipment for many reasons… They are aesthetically pleasing. They feel best to the touch. Unlike plastic, they don’t leach nasty chemicals and they don’t give bacteria a happy home to breed. They are easier on your pans and knives. They are heat resistant. And, they last a long time!

Why oiling? Wood is a natural substance that dries over time. When wood dries, it shrinks and becomes brittle – that’s why your cutting boards pull apart at the seams. Heating the wood and washing it with soap further dries it out. Regular oiling with proper food-grade oil keeps your wooden equipment soft, which keeps it from cracking, warping, splitting or splintering. This also helps them retain their color.

How to clean your wood. Soap is fine, some people like bleach, but I think it’s unnecessary since wood has natural anti-bacterial properties. Dry the wood immediately after soaping it. Never place wooden items in the dishwasher as this provides too much water and heat. Also, don’t leave them soaking because this will cause your equipment to soak up water and expand, leading to cracking and warping.

What kind of oil? You want to use a food-grade oil that is not prone to rancidity. (Olive oil does not work, because it goes rancid quickly.) Make your own by combining bees wax with mineral oil.

How to oil your wood. Now that your wooden spoon and cutting board are clean and dry, generously rub oil on with a soft cloth. Let to soak in for up to 24 hours. Then, wipe off the excess oil with a clean cloth and you’re done! Simple as that. Repeat once a month.

Clara Moore

Clara Moore is a chef from St. Louis finding her way in Seattle, one plate of food at a time. She lives in a cedar cabin in the woods and cooks at home a lot more now than ever before.

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