When you are the chef in your family, you take pride in the kitchen utensils and tools that make your cooking experience more fun. For some people that experience is especially fun when they use wooden cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards provide a great cutting surface and come in many different and beautiful designs and styles. From the whimsical wooden cheese board to the massive wooden cutting board that hangs over the edge of the counter, each wooden board holds its own appeal. When you have one of these special boards, however, you want to make sure that you keep it clean and in good condition. Follow the tips below to help you do just that.
First Things First
When you get a new wooden cutting board, the first thing you should do is protect its surface. That means giving it a protective coating of oil to protect it from staining and moisture damage. Unlike vegetable and olive oil, mineral oil is the best oil to use, as it will protect the cutting board without creating a soft, bacteria laden surface. Apply a small amount of mineral oil to a soft rag and rub it into the board. Wipe off any excess oil and repeat the process a couple of times. It is important to start the board off with proper protection and coatings of mineral oil will do just that.
Instead of putting your wooden cutting board in the dishwasher, the better option is to wash it in warm, soapy water as you would any other utensil or cutting surface. Be especially mindful of scrubbing off germs and bacteria leftover from cutting meat on the board. It is best to have two separate cutting boards; one for meats and one for fruits and vegetables. This helps prevent cross-contamination and helps to keep your family safer from salmonella and e.coli bacteria. Any mild dishwashing liquid is fine to use on your protected board, but be careful not to let your board soak in the water. Washing and rinsing are fine, but submerging the board for long period of time can result in the board warping or rotting.
After each washing, check your wooden cutting board for cracks, splits, holes and other small areas where bacteria can hide. Over the life of the cutting board, the wood will eventually have marks and scrapes. While you may have a sentimental attachment to your favorite wooden cutting board, when it becomes pocked and scarred, it is best to retire it from kitchen use. If you cannot bear to throw it away, use it as decoration or for some other purpose. You do not want to chance your family's health by keeping around a board that can very easily harbor bacteria and is very difficult to clean.
A wooden cutting board is a great asset to your kitchen. With the proper care and maintenance, your wooden cutting board can last for a long time.