The Best Way to Oil Wooden Spoons and Cutting Boards

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No kitchen is full with out a minimum of one wooden reducing board and a couple of wood spoons. Wood gained’t scratch your cookware, is of course antibacterial, and is as sturdy as it’s lovely — particularly if you happen to maintain it oiled. 

Yes, oiled! Did you recognize try to be oiling your wood-based kitchen workhorses? Well, now you do! Oiling commonly retains wooden from drying out, which causes the form of cracking and splintering that may relegate it to the trash. It additionally brings out the wooden’s pure grains (that attractive sample you see on the floor). However, there are tons of wooden oils and conditioners available on the market, so it’s arduous to know which one is finest.

Mineral oil has lengthy been the go-to for oiling wooden, however some folks don’t need to purchase petroleum merchandise, as they could possibly be potential carcinogens. There’s beeswax, however that doesn’t work for vegans. Linseed oil is a well-liked selection amongst woodworkers, however even food-grade linseed oil comes with warnings of spontaneous fires. Refractionated coconut oil is the most recent fashionable different to these three decisions, however how does it stack up? And then there’s creamy stuff known as board cream or conditioner. To discover out which one labored finest, I picked the preferred oil and conditioners in these classes and put them to the take a look at. 

I opted to use 5 new, untreated wood spoons as a result of I figured it might be higher to take a look at the sturdiness of the merchandise with one thing that will get used so closely each day. (I take advantage of my wood spoons rather a lot!) I figured, if one thing is sweet sufficient to maintain wood spoons conditioned, it’ll be adequate for a reducing board. I took “before” images and after making use of the remedy I labeled each with a Sharpie and tape so I might maintain them straight. I oiled each in accordance to the product’s directions and let all of them dry in a single day earlier than wiping off the surplus. I then used each solely over the course of every week, washing them by hand and noting how properly the oil or conditioner was holding up. 

Unfortunately, on the finish of 5 weeks my outcomes had been inconclusive. They all regarded about the identical. So, I handled them once more. This time, I let the oils and conditioners soak in and dry out for a full week earlier than making an attempt them once more. And this time, I carried out a extra straight-forward take a look at. I introduced a pot of water to a boil and dipped each in for a full minute. I figured it was comparable to utilizing the spoons to make soup or sauce and then hand-washing in sizzling water — something on the floor was going to get washed off. The query was: Had any of the oils or conditioners actually penetrated the wooden?

The reply: Yes. Some of the spoons regarded extra parched and worn out than others. Here’s how issues shook out. 

Oil Method: Howard Products Wax-It-All Food-Grade Wax

Ease of use: 3/5
Performance: 3/5
Price: 3/5 ($11.05 for 9 ounces)
Overall score: 3/5

I couldn’t discover a straight-up beeswax wooden conditioner, as the entire merchandise available on the market are combined with some quantity of mineral oil to maintain them from being rock strong. This product additionally contained carnauba wax, which is a well-liked ingredient in sweet coatings and gummy sweet, so I wasn’t frightened about utilizing it on my cooking utensils. Applying the wax was a slippery affair, like slathering your wood spoon in hair molding paste. It didn’t soak in, and after letting it sit and buffing off the surplus the floor nonetheless felt waxy. Even although I had excessive hopes it might present a troublesome barrier to the perils of the cooking pot, this wasn’t the case. After each assessments, this one persistently regarded essentially the most dried out.

Oil Method: Caron & Doucet Conditioning Oil and Wood Finishing Wax Bundle

Ease of use: 4/5
Performance: 3.5/5
Price: 2/5 ($24.99 for 8 ounces of oil and 3.5 ounces of wax)
Overall: 3/5

This option appears to circumvent the problems raised by different oils and conditioners. It doesn’t come from petroleum or bees, nor does it have a scary warning label. It’s utterly plant-based and infused with important oils, and I liked its rosemary scent. The oil soaked into the wooden properly. And the wooden conditioner, made with each refined and uncooked coconut oil in addition to rice bran wax, appeared like it might actually seal within the moisture. But it didn’t wow me. While the spoon did have a few of its conditioning left after the second take a look at, most likely due to the one-two punch of oil and conditioner, it was nonetheless on the dry facet, performing about the identical as mineral oil. Trouble is, it’s far dearer. Still, if you need to avoid petroleum merchandise, it is a strong selection.

Oil Method: Howard Products Cutting Board Oil

Ease of use: 3.5/5
Performance: 3.5/5
Price: 3/5 ($8.99 for 12 ounces)
Overall: 3.5/5

This food-grade mineral oil appeared to soak into the wooden properly, and the worth is reasonably priced (though it positively prices greater than a generic model of mineral oil). I’ve used mineral oil numerous occasions on my wooden instruments and reducing boards and it all the time appeared to carry out properly sufficient. This was no exception, though it was eye-opening simply how shortly it disappeared from the wooden as soon as I began paying consideration. After the second take a look at, I might see that the spoon nonetheless had some oil soaked into it, though it was positively drier than earlier than it was submerged. 

Oil Method: LinSheen Raw Linseed Oil

Ease of use: 4/5
Performance: 4/5
Price: 2/5 ($8.50 for 4 ounces)
Overall: 3.5/5

I actually had my hopes up for this one. It’s the selection of woodworkers and the outline mentioned this food-grade oil might even be used on decks. How might this not be the holy grail of wooden safety? It was supposed to “nourish and protect” and “penetrate deep into the grain.” In the tip, it barely carried out higher than the mineral oil and refractionated coconut oil. However, I might see a few areas the place moisture did appear locked in and darker than others, so perhaps with extra time and purposes it will actually get the job achieved, or perhaps its water resistance doesn’t maintain up properly to warmth. 

Oil Method: John Boos Butcher Block Board Cream

Ease of use: 4/5
Performance: 4.5/5
Price: 2/5 ($14.49 for five ounces)
Overall: 4.5/5 

Its worth is excessive — virtually $3 an oz — however that is the one product that actually delivered. I’ve to say, I didn’t count on this to be any completely different than the remaining. In reality, it’s made with principally the identical components as the opposite beeswax product I attempted. But this was a lot thinner and creamier and it actually did appear to soak into the wooden, not simply lay on high. In the primary take a look at, it appeared just like the spoon wasn’t fairly as dried out as the remaining. However, the outcomes of the second take a look at had been extra conclusive. The spoon nonetheless felt silky and oiled, even after a minute in boiling water, and it didn’t look almost as parched because the others . You’re supposed to use the John Boos Mystery Oil earlier than making use of the board cream, however I didn’t do that (though I feel the outcomes would’ve been even higher if I did!). In this case, although, you actually do get what you pay for. 

What do you utilize to maintain wood spoons and reducing boards from drying out? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

Danielle Centoni


Danielle Centoni is a James Beard Award-winning meals author, editor, recipe developer, and cookbook creator primarily based in Portland, Oregon. Her newest cookbook is “Fried Rice: 50 Ways to Stir Up The World’s Favorite Grain.”

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