How to Care for Wooden Spoons and Other Utensils
As some of the best tools you’ll find in the kitchen, many home cooks ask how to care for wooden kitchen utensils. If treated well, wooden spoons, spatulas, chopping boards, and the rest, can last for years. And, they can be used for all types of cooking. Whilst they require a different type of care than modern metal utensils, they prove time and time again to be some of the best.
Are Wooden Utensils Hygienic?
Did you know that wood is naturally more anti-bacterial than any other man-made object? And even though wooden implements are no longer a living entity, the properties of wood are still the same and it will not grow bacteria or mold.
Having said that, wood is porous and can therefore crack – it is these cracks that increase the chance of food getting stuck in between and creating rotting and odor.
So, knowing how to care for your wooden spoons and utensils will keep the kitchen tools looking good and ensure they’re safe to use.
An additional bonus that comes with using wooden utensils is that they are ideal for using on non-stick cooking pans and won’t scratch the coating like metal utensils.
Whilst wooden spoons and utensils are naturally hygienic they are also more delicate when washed.
How to Sanitize And Wash Your Wooden Utensils
Neither wooden spoons nor any other wooden kitchen utensils should be put into a dishwasher. Whilst it won’t destroy them immediately, they won’t last long and may split and warp. Simple hand washing is the best way.
Don’t soak wooden spoons in water for longer than a couple of minutes. To wash them properly, use hot soapy water with the same washing liquid you use for everything else. Then rinse them thoroughly and dry them with a towel straight away. If you leave your wooden utensils to air dry moisture could accumulate in the wood and create mold, so always dry them.
When Wooden Utensils Are Looking Dry
Over time the mineral oils they initially treat wooden utensils will disappear and they may start to look dry or begin to feel rough. When this is the case, consider giving them a gentle sanding, to smooth out any rough edges and remove any stains. Fine grit sandpaper should do the job.
Once smoothed, rub them with mineral oil or a beeswax compound. This will create a neutral surface that won’t allow bacteria to remain. Don’t use food-based oil like vegetable or olive oil, because these can turn rancid. If you want to make your own homemade oil it’s easy to create, all you need is ½ ounce of beeswax and 2 ounces of walnut or coconut oil.
The important thing is to saturate the wooden utensils thoroughly and let them sit overnight, then rub away the excess. Repeat this any time your spoons look dull, and you’ll keep the wood from absorbing any foodstuffs.
Choosing the right spoon to begin with will help reduce the amount of effort you need to put into keeping your wooden utensils in tip-top condition. High-quality wood, like durable bamboo, beech, or maple, is one of the best choices that will help you avoid these problems and ensure your wooden utensils will stand the test of time.
When The Wood Is Stained
Highly pigmented foods, such as tomato sauce or berries, will stain your wooden utensils and chopping boards. This does not mean they aren’t safe to use, they’re just stained and this will eventually fade.
However, wooden spoons and utensils can absorb strong smells from flavors such as garlic. To reduce the smell simply slice a lemon in half and rub the cut side onto the wooden surface. This will neutralize the smell.
Keep Away From Metal
Never leave your wooden spoons or kitchen utensils in contact with iron if they are wet. If you do, it’s likely they will get a black stain which will not come out! This includes tinned cans and saucepans as well as cast iron skillets and similar.
If you treat your wooden spoons and utensils as outlined above, then there is no kitchen tool that is better and they win hands down. Not only that, but they’re one of the most inexpensive tools you can buy – so what are you waiting for?