7 Tips to Maintaining your Cutting Boards

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cutting Board

Cutting boards are in use almost daily at my house. I have different kinds that I use for different purposes. There’s polyethylene for chopping vegetables or slicing cheese, and wood and bamboo for carving meat. They are hardworking pieces of equipment in my farm kitchen.

Over the years I’ve owned many sizes and kinds of cutting boards, but none of them really lasted that long. They would discolor, become riddled with bacteria or just plain crack. Then I discovered I was not taking care of them properly.


Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to care for your cutting boards!


Who knew!

Proper care will help them last a long time, while not taking care of them will shorten their useful life, causing you to replace them long before you should have to.

Following these 7 simple tips will help you extend the life of any cutting board.

1. Avoid letting your wooden cutting board to become too dry. Super dry cutting boards can crack and break.

2. Don’t soak your cutting board or let it sit wet. Dampness can swell the wood and weaken boards that are made of multiple pieces. And, never put a wooden board in the dishwasher, that’s just a bad thing all around.

3. Wash and dry boards immediately after each use, especially when cutting meat, fish or poultry, so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to seep into the cut marks. Use warm soapy water, work it into a lather so it gets into all the crevasses, then rinse well and allow to air dry before putting it away.

4. Use the entire surface of the board for cutting, move around the board. Cutting in one spot can cause the board to wear unevenly.

5. Use both sides of the board so both work surfaces are used, evening out the wear.

6. Never use a razor-edged cleaver, it can chip or splinter the board, creating spaces for bacteria to take hold.

7. Season your wooden cutting boards periodically to keep them in good, usable condition, and from absorbing colors and odors from the foods you’re cutting.


How the heck do you season a cutting board?


It’s pretty easy and straight forward. Since I’m not a professional chef, that uses cutting boards all day long, I can get away with seasoning mine 2 or 3 times a year.

To start with, get yourself some food-safe mineral oil. I got mine at Wal-Mart. Then find yourself a clean soft cloth that can be dedicated to seasoning your boards. I bought a new flat cotton weave dish towel just for this purpose and store it on a lidded container.


Now—to season…


…pour on what looks like too much oil, and then rub it into the board using your cloth. Your board may look like it has a thick oil slick on it, but let it rest for about 5-minutes so the oil can soak in. You’ll be surprised at how fast a thirsty board will soak up the oil! I know I was.

Once you have oiled the top of all your cutting boards let them rest for several hours or overnight to the oil really soak in. You may need to reapply another layer if your board seems especially dry.

Now you can oil the other side (remember, you’ll be using both sides to even out the wear). When both sides are well-oiled you can stand them on one edge and let them air dry. I like to use a plate or platter rack for this part.

After your boards have been well seasoned, you can come up with your own schedule. I re-season mine in December, after the holidays and again in June, before the busy BBQ season begins.

To tell if your boards need to be freshened up, simply dribble a few drops of water onto the board. If it “beads” it is fine. If not, it’s time to re-season.

Keeping up a routine means you and your cutting boards will be well-oiled partners in the kitchen. How cool would that be? A kitchen partner!

With the right seasoning and care, a wooden cutting board can last for years, and may even become a family heirloom.

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