How to add life to wooden chopping boards

Let’s look at some simple advice on how to keep your wooden cutting boards in good shape for years of great cooking to come.

“No one is born a great cook. One learns by doing,” said the legendary Julia Child in her book My Life in France. Speaking of great chefs, one of the things they care a great deal about is the cutting board. More often than not, a professional chef will use a wooden cutting board. More often than not, he or she will make sure it is cared for. And while a good chef’s knife is often the sexier choice for most favourite kitchen implement, the truth is a good knife is nothing without a good board to use it on. Well, on that complimentary and complementary note, let’s look at some simple advice on how to keep your wooden cutting boards in good shape for years of great cooking to come.

Featured above: Wooden Cutting Boards (Left | Right) by Relix

For starters, here is everything we’re about to dish out to you in a nutshell: Oil your wooden boards and utensils regularly and they’ll never warp or crack.

Why wood makes the cut:

Wood is great for kitchen prep that’s very fruit and vegetable-centric. Wood is great because it’s most knife-friendly and it looks classy. On these parameters it’s streets ahead of plastic. Furthermore, wooden boards, if well-cared for, can last for years. In fact, wooden boards only get more beautiful with time and can often be used as homey, rustic, and gorgeous serving stations for food.

Tip time: A mixture of mineral oil and beeswax is a good combination to plump for when it comes to a sure-shot way to add life to a wooden cutting board.

Featured above: Wooden Cutting Boards (Left | Right) by Poppadum Art

What kind of oil:

The oil you use for your wooden cutting boards and utensils should be food grade. It should have a long shelf life. And it should not go rancid easily. Mineral oil is an inexpensive and popular choice. There are also cutting board creams and oils available that you can consider.

How and how often:

Like much to do with food and drink, wooden cutting boards need to be kept clean. Daily maintenance is a good thing. And often a good scrub with hot soapy water after using is all you’ll need to do. Just remember, DO NOT soak your boards or any other wooden utensils in water or they’ll crack and warp!

Sometimes, as a precaution against bacterial contamination, it’s helpful to use a very weak bleach solution or hydrogen peroxide to clean your boards after it’s been used for cutting raw meat. And if you can’t get hold of that, a lime will do the trick just as well.

How often you use your boards and wooden spoons determines the number of times you need to oil your boards and other wooden utensils. Oiling helps maintain the surface and keeps them from drying out. Doing this once a month is what we would recommend.

The Maintenance Manual:

Before you start oiling, be sure your boards are very clean. A scrub with lemon and salt is usually enough prep for oiling. The board or boards should also be bone dry before oiling. A clean soft cloth or a paper towel is good for oiling. The oil should be left to soak for at least 5 or 6 hours (overnight is ideal). A quick wipe before using an oiled board helps take off any excess oil.

Note: To buy a wooden cutting board for your kitchen, do check out our collection here.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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