Friday, October 01, 2004

Tip: Use Wood Cutting Boards!

Your knives will love you for it, and last longer, too. Even inexpensive wood cutting boards can last a lifetime (well, a long time, anyway), and they may be more sanitary than the plastic ones anyway!

Ok, Ok, I know. All the photos so far show an acrylic board. What can I say? I hadn’t been following my own advice for the past few months, and my wooden boards were in a state of benign neglect when I started this adventure. I’m fixin’ it, I’m fixin’ it . . .

To insure that your wooden board will last a lifetime (or two), you'll need to prepare it properly, and care for it - but that's not hard to do. When you buy a new board, stop at your local pharmacy and pick up a pint of mineral oil.

Then, remember the old Yankee adage:

Oil your board
once a day for the first week
once a week for the first month
once a month for the first year
once a year forever after.

Personally, I try to oil my boards every few months, but if you do the first year properly, even just once a year will be enough thereafter. I have one small cutting board that I paid $3.95 for in a discount store about 25 years ago. It's got some dings and scratches, but I'd call it 'good as new.'

Oil your boards . . .

As for cleaning your cutting boards, the arguments continue. Do a google on ‘salmonella cutting board clean’ or the like and you’ll see what I mean. Or, for a pretty good summary, check out: Cutting through the cutting board brouhaha

I give my wood boards a thorough rinse under hot water after each use (particularly after mincing garlic or onion or chopping jalapenos or the like), and then scrub them dry with a paper towel or clean dishtowel. Every few uses, I’ll give them a good soaping scrub. And, I never cut meat on my wooden boards - for that job, I use plastic and run them through the dishwasher to clean up.

But if you can't resist the urge to soak your wooden boards in industrial strength disinfectant, regardless of the scientific data, then by all means, buy your mineral oil by the gallon and oil your boards at least weekly. You'll be amazed at the abuse a wooden board can survive with even just a little care.

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