Maintain What You Have: Why You Need to Take Care of Your Cutting Board

  In tough economic times, it is more important than ever to take proper care of your wooden cutting board. 

  To this you might say, "But Jonathan, you handcraft all your cutting boards out of solid wood! That should be enough. Right?" 


  How the cutting board is made is only half the battle. How you treat it once you start using it will determine how long it will last.

  You see, wood is a porous material, meaning it has pores that can catch and trap stuff in them. If those pores are filled with the wrong things, it can make your cutting board unsafe to use, creating a rancid situation, negatively effecting your health over time. Plus, the wood could rot prematurely, making your cutting board completely useless.  

  The key to prolonging the life of your wooden cutting board is regular oiling. Just like the engine oil in your car needs to be changed every 3,000 miles, your cutting board will need to be oiled once a month on average. I say 'on average' because this frequency should be adjusted depending on how often you use your cutting board. 

  Also, what you oil your cutting board with is critical (engine oil is NOT recommended here). You have to have something that is safe for direct food contact, and all oils are not created equal. 

  Many of my customers have mentioned that they use olive oil on their cutting boards. While this is okay for a board that is used and washed regularly, there is still a danger of the board becoming rancid over time. Any olive oil that stays in the pores of the wood for too long will cause the cutting board to become rancid. You can tell this is happening when the board starts to smell funny and your food begins to taste weird. 

  As for me, I like to use a food grade mineral oil, preferably Howard's Cutting Board Oil. This oil is designed specifically for wooden cutting boards, and it is shelf-stable (meaning it will not become rancid). I oil all of the cutting boards and charcuterie boards I make with this food grade mineral oil. It gets down deep into the pores of the wood to not only prevent the board from rotting, but to also prevent food juices from getting into the wood. 

  It doesn't take much effort to oil your board. Just pour a little oil on the board, rub it in with your hand or a paper towel, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, buff off any extra oil that is sitting on the surface of the board. That's it! 

  Better still, this cutting board oil doesn't cost much. A 12 ounce bottle of Howard's Cutting Board Oil only costs $10, and it's enough to oil a standard-size cutting board for an entire year (a 16 inch by 12 inch cutting board uses approximately 1 ounce of oil per oiling)! Compare that to spending over $50 to replace a rancid cutting board every year. Talk about big savings! 

  So remember, when times are tough, it's less expensive to properly care for what you have versus having to replace it. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention (or, in this case, cutting board oil) is better than a pound of cure. 

  For more information and tips on caring for your cutting board, check out my previous blog post here.

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