Although most of us have at least one in our kitchen, not everyone knows how to care for wood spoons. Rather than gleaming, our wood spoons start to look dull and dry, then shaggy, and then they splinter and crack while we’re cooking. But here’s the thing: these aren’t just great cooking tools, they’re economical, too… if you know how to care for wood spoons!
Wood spoons are made by cutting pieces of wood, a process which leaves shaggy and sometimes sharp edges. Manufacturers sand these down before sale, but every time the spoon gets wet — either through use or washing — the ends start poking up again. These ends will eventually hold onto stains and odors, and because they allow moisture to penetrate the interior of the spoon, the thing will eventually start cracking and fall apart. Of course, then you wind up buying new ones which will fall apart, too, if you don’t know how to care for wood spoons properly.
How To Care For Wood Spoons
1. Wash them properly. Wood spoons should never, ever go into the dishwasher or be immersed in water for longer than a couple of minutes. To properly wash a wood spoon, wash it in hot, soapy water as quickly after use as possible, rinse it well, and allow to air dry.
2. Re-sand fuzzy or rough spoons. If your spoons are rough and fuzzy, refurbish them by finely sanding them with a 320 grit sandpaper or a brand new steel wool pad. Rub with the grain until the surface is completely smooth, then rinse well with water and immediately pat dry.
3. Oil regularly. Oiling wood spoons not only moisturizes the wood but provides a protective barrier between the wood and your food. Obviously, then, you want to use a non-toxic oil. Many people choose to use mineral oil, but almond, walnut and olive oil work just as well. The important thing is to saturate the wood thoroughly with the oil and allow it to sit overnight, then rub away the excess oil.
4. Butter them up. For longer-lasting protection, make a homemade wood butter by melting beeswax then slowly stirring in an equal amount of mineral oil until the mixture is emulsified. Allow to cool and store it, using a spoonful as needed to moisturize your spoons and keep them looking good.
How often you’ll need to do these steps really depends on how often you use your wooden spoons and utensils. I wind up oiling mine every week or so, along with my wooden cutting boards. You’ll know when it’s time when the wood starts looking dry again and has lost its gleam.
Setting aside a few minutes at that point to care for your wooden spoons means you won’t have to replace them nearly as often, plus they’ll be more sanitary and look better in the utensil holder on your counter.
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