Chopping Board Care
Oiling a wooden chopping/cutting board is a very important part of your board’s maintenance. Oiling is so easy and crucial to help your oak and wooden chopping boards to close cut marks, combat odors, prevent stains, and most importantly helps prevent the wood from cracking and absorbing moisture. It also makes it easier to wash off!
How to season a board
When you first receive your board it’s wise to follow the age old advice from the day when all boards were wooden boards.
Oil once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year.
This is the perfect start for any board. Once seasoned I oil my oak boards every month or when the board looks dry (it may look dull in colour and lighter in colour). Although, if you use your board more than normal domestic use you will need to oil more often. But remember, it is so easy to oil a board, and you can never over oil a board. Asa guide, I recommend oiling once a month after seasoned
What you will need
- a clean and dry cutting board
- cutting board oil (I use mineral oil and Howard’s board oil and conditioner)
- a clean rag
It is important to use the right oil on the board. Never use cooking oils because they can become rancid and sticky on the wood and generally unpleasant to work with. Mineral oil (which needs to be food safe Mineral oil) is highly recommended for board care, and is not expensive. With a little research you may find a wide range of food safe chopping board oils on the market, from natural oils, bees wax, to a blend of both. I highly recommend Howard’s board care oil.
- Start with a clean dry board (the dryer the board the more oil can be absorbed during oiling).
- Apply the oil. Using a clean, soft cloth or good quality paper towel, apply the oil in an even layer over the wood. I often finish by placing two wooden spoons on the worktop and placing the board on top so it’s raised slightly. This allows the oil to dry underneath. I then leave a thin pool of oil on the top of the board where the board get more use.
- Let it soak in… I tend to leave it over night
- Then wipe off the excess oil.
Mineral oil is a non-toxic, non-drying product that is colorless, odorless and flavorless. If you choose to use mineral oil please ensure that it is food-grade mineral oil. There are many different types of mineral oil, some are not safe for human consumption so please always look for food-safe oil (not to be confused with mineral oil used as lubricants for machinery or cars) that is safe and a popular choice for wooden kitchen items.
Beeswax is also a popular choice for cutting board maintenance. Its a natural wax produced in the bee hives of honey bees and has a variety of applications. Use beeswax to hydrate, shine, and waterproof a cutting board. Before use, always read the label to ensure it is safe to use on chopping boards or other food related items.
Other helpful tips
You can safely use baking soda to remove stubborn stains from a cutting board or butcher block. Sprinkle baking soda over the offensive spot and rub with a cloth, brush, or sponge dipped in hot water.
If your board begins to smell it’s not the end of the board, one of the oldest and easiest tricks is to use half a freshly cut lemon rub it across the entire board surface surface.
The acid in the lemon both reacts with and oxidizes organic material (bacteria and fats) that are the cause of smells and stains. The natural lemon oil also forces any soluble materials to be removed as well.