Let's say you've just treated yourself or someone you know to personalised chopping board like the one below:
What's the best way to keep it looking amazing and performing at it's best? Fortunately the answer to this easy, proper regular maintenance and cleaning - that's what we will be talking about today.
To help keep your bamboo or wooden chopping board (and utensils) in top condition there are a few simple steps that you'll want to follow, these tips will help to maximise the life of your chopping board and utensils, allowing you to enjoy many years of use...and as a bonus, a well looked after chopping board helps reduce wear on your knife blades!
We'll categorise these tips into the two key areas of conditioning and cleaning.
Conditioning your bamboo or wooden chopping board helps add a level of water resistance, minimising the amount of juices and water that can be absorbed when in use - which helps to reduce the chance of any odours occurring.
While it's never possible to completely avoid the chance of warping or splitting, conditioned wooden kitchen utensils and chopping boards are far less likely to split or warp and suffer from wobbling when you chop on it. Splitting is bad both aesthetically and from a hygiene perspective because the cracks provide a place for moisture and food residues to get into, increasing the chances of bacteria.
What should I condition my bamboo chopping board and wooden utensils with?
When it comes to conditioning options there are two we recommend and have found to work particularly well, but other options obviously exist and you can research these online.
Firstly, to avoid rancidity becoming a problem, we recommend you avoid cooking oil to condition your cutting boards and utensils. When rancidity occurs you'd certainly know it, the smell it not pleasant!
So, what's the answer then?
- Food Grade Mineral Oil - Mineral oil is often recommended by chefs, it's easy to apply and will not go rancid... Just make sure you don't use industrial mineral oil, this is not food safe - the product you buy should always been food grade and can often be found in your local grocery store.
- Beeswax and Food Grade Mineral Oil Board Cream - this is what we use, the combined beeswax and mineral oil provides a a shinier and more waterproof coating than straight mineral oil, it also lasts longer. We feel it's right to give our products the best possible start in life, which is why we choose to use board cream. You can buy beeswax and mineral oil board cream online, again make sure it's food grade, or you can make it yourself (instructions here), please be careful when doing this.
How often should I condition my chopping board and utensils?
We recommend you condition your board with either beeswax and mineral oil cream, or just mineral oil on a regular basis. This doesn't mean you need to set a reminder in your calendar and do it on a regimented schedule every two week, the frequency needed will vary based on the usage of your board and utensils.
As a rule of thumb, we try to do it twice a quarter, or whenever they start to look dry and slightly lighter (compared with that rich darker colouring of the woodgrain you enjoy after conditioning). You may find yourself needing to oil your boards a bit more in the winter, when the central heating is on this can cause them to dry out a bit faster.
All of the chopping boards and kitchen utensils we sell are conditioned with our luxury beeswax polish.
How should I apply the oil or board cream?
This is the fun part, you'll need:
- a clean dry cloth
- a clean dry bamboo or wooden chopping board (or wooden kitchen utensil)
- A conditioner produce - either mineral oil or board cream
- Pour the oil - you'll find the board will absorb a decent amount so you may need to do this more than once.
- Rub the oil in - using your clean cloth, rub the oil in a circular fashion - all over the board, both sides, the edges, inside the handle - all the nooks and crannies to ensure everything is covered.
- Let is cure - ideally overnight, this provides enough time for the board to soak up all the all.
- Clean up - using a lint free cloth, now is time to wipe down the board again, removing any remaining residue - it should feel nice and smooth, with a little shine now.
- Additional step for board cream - reapply board cream once more, then buff and clean to a shine.
Bonus - Works for Wooden Spoons and Utensils too!
When you oil your wooden or bamboo chopping boards, give a thought to your wooden kitchen utensils too, they enjoy some care too. Follow the same application process as your chopping boards and you'll enjoy years of use from your utensils too, it helps avoid the 'furry spoon' problem where water gets absorbed and your spoon starts to feel shredded!
Cleaning and Additional Care Tips
The easiest way to think about how to clean and care for your personalised chopping board is to follow this list of do's and don'ts:
- Wash your chopping board by hand, this can be a quick wipe if you've cut something dry like bread - otherwise give it a good wash with soap, rinsing and drying afterwards.
- Wipe your board clean dry after washing, then leave it out to air dry before putting away.
- Leave your chopping board dirty for too long, particularly with sticky residues on it that are likely to soak in
- Ever leave your chopping board to soak, this can cause it to warp and crack. It is ok to submerge it in water while washing though.
- Put bamboo or wooden chopping boards, or utensils, in the dishwasher. This is like soaking your board, while applying excessive heat at the same time, and is very likely to cause permanent damage to the board (splitting or warping).
- Use harsh concentrated cleaners either.
Extra Care Tips:
If you are trying to remove particularly stubborn stains, baking soda is your friend - sprinkle and rub in with a warm damp cloth, rinsing away any excess. It's also ok to use an abrasive scratching pad if needed.
To help revive a smelly board (garlics anyone?!?), rub a cut lemon over the surface and wipe off the board, this makes it nice and fresh!