Although chef knives get all the attention when it comes to the most important kitchen gear, without wooden cutting boards, they wouldn't last long. These boards protect blades like nothing else while they get used as often as the knives. This means that you need to take care of your cutting boards as much as of your knives if you don’t want them to dry out and warp, and start developing deep cracks. And as a lot of professionals assure, nothing can do that better than thorough oiling once in a while. Now, let’s learn how to do this properly…
Maintaining a cutting board is a quick and easy task that will insure the hygiene and longevity of it. Remember to always wash your cutting board with soap and warm water and scrub well. The volume of water and mechanical scrubbing is more important than soap in flushing bacteria and other food particles off the board. After washing, you need to dry it thoroughly with a kitchen towel before putting it on a rack to dry off.
Here are some Don'ts:
- Put the board in the dishwasher. The heat and water will warp and splinter the wood.
- Dunk or let the board soak in water for too long. The wood will absorb water and potentially warp.
- Use bleach. This will stain the wood and/or excessively dry the wood.
- Put a wet board flat to dry. If the board dries on one side, it will cause the wood to warp.
How to oil your wooden cutting board
What you’ll need:
- Wooden cutting board, spoons, or other utensils
- Clean, soft cloth or paper towel
- Mineral oil or other food-grade oil
Choose the right oil. Never use vegetable oils because the majority of them will turn rancid, which can add an unwanted tinge of tartness to whatever you chop on the board and make the surface unpleasant for cutting. The oil you use for your wooden cutting boards and utensils should be food grade and not prone to rancidity. Choose Mineral Oil, which you can easily find bottles in most kitchen supply stores.
- Apply the oil to the freshly washed and thoroughly dried board, and with a clean cotton cloth, spread and rub it into the wood. Repeat that several times. Apply it to the wood rather than the cloth because you’ll use less. Make sure to do both sides as well as the edges, even if you only chop on one side of the board because wood needs to absorb liquids evenly—otherwise, it tends to warp.
- Leave the oil to soak in, overnight if possible, or for at least a few hours.
- Remove the excess using a dry, clean cloth or paper towel, buff off any remaining oil so that the board does not feel damp or sticky.
- Do this every month or when the board is dry to the touch.
In conclusion: As mentioned before if you want to protect your knives from going blunt, you need to also take care of your wood cutting boards. Board maintenance doesn't take much time but it’s crucial and the most important part is of course, oiling it. Try it and see how much difference it can make.