CUTTING BOARD CARE: IT’S EASY!
We’ve all been there: we get a new kitchen implement and we vow that we’ll take good care of it. Then life gets in the way and our best intentions are left far behind. But caring for your cutting boards properly is surprisingly simple. And the rewards are enormous: your family stays safe from food-borne illness, the board stays looking sleek, and it lasts for many years to come.
SEASON BEFORE USING
You can get your cutting board off to a great start as soon as you bring it home by seasoning it. This step is important for many reasons.
Seasoning a new board will :
- Protect it from water and mold
- Give it a seal to resist absorbing smells and bacteria
- Help it resist stains
- Prevent cracking .
Mineral oil is the most popular choice for cutting board seasoning because it won’t go bad like cooking oils. An alternative to mineral oil would be fractionated coconut oil ( not to be mistaken with coconut oil)
Use Mevell Cutting Board Oil and apply a coat with a dry cloth. Let it sit for several hours, until the oil has soaked into the wood. Continue applying coats allowing for drying in between. You’ll know you’re done when the oil remains on the surface, indicating the inner parts are saturated. Once the oil has soaked in, apply a coat of conditioner. This provides a seal for the surface of the board, giving it maximum protection.
Wash the wood cutting boards by hand, no soaking, use mild detergent, rinse with hot water, wipe clean and let it dry upright. Avoid the dishwasher at all costs, a dishwasher simply isn’t effective for wooden kitchenware, especially for cutting boards.
The heat and water makes wood fibers swell and split and the board will end up warped. You also need to have a certain amount of pressure on the board when cleaning so you can reach any food particles ground into the surface by a knife. You may be tempted to soak the board, thinking it will help loosen food particles or remove stains and odors. But soaking doesn’t work for wood and is especially bad for cutting boards as it makes them warp and won’t do the trick for disinfecting.Use what you have: vinegar, sea salt, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide.
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. If you’ve been preparing raw meat or fish on the board, scrub with a scrubber dipped in vinegar. Sea salt is another effective cleaning product you may want to have around, as its grainy consistency helps scrub the board and remove particles. It also can be effective in removing stains.
You can even make a baking soda paste for another natural nontoxic cleaning agent. Some use a spray with a low percentage of hydrogen peroxide to help kill bacteria. You can create the spray and place the bottle with your other kitchen cleaning products for easy access.
STAINS AND SMELLS: LEMON-FRESH
After using vinegar and sea salt, clean the board with dish soap and a scrubber. Rinse with warm water, making sure all the soap is off. Lemon is a great natural deodorizer for nights you’ve been cutting fish, onions, or garlic. Just slice a lemon in half and rub its exposed surface over the board to eliminate odors.
After washing, disinfecting, and deodorizing, use a dry cloth to hand-dry the cutting board.
It’s important to take this step so the water left on the board from washing doesn’t soak in and make the board warp. It’s tempting to throw it in the dish rack to air dry, but taking the extra few seconds to dry by hand is a sound investment in the life of your cutting board.
Along with proper washing and drying, if you season and condition your board regularly, you’ll keep the board safe and beautiful while prolonging its life and your enjoyment. Twice a month, repeat the process you used when you first got your cutting board. Apply the oil and allow it to soak in. When you’re finished, apply a coat of conditioner and rub in with a clean dry cloth.
WHEN MORE IS NEEDED
What happens when we get busy and we neglect our boards? One of many wonderful features of wooden cutting boards it that they are forgiving. If you have deep cuts that are hard to keep clean, you can always do a thorough sanding of the board. Use the oil and conditioner to finish the surface. How about if your board gets warped? One trick is to soak the board with warm water and then put something heavy on top. Another is to iron the board using a towel and the iron’s steam setting.