Although most of us have at least one in our kitchen, not everyone knows how to care for wood spoons. Rather than gleaming like treasured furniture, our wood spoons start to look dull, then dry, 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!
The reason wood spoons splinter and crack has to do with the way they’re made. Wood spoons are crafted 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, through use or washing, the ends start poking up again. These ends will eventually hold onto stains and odors. Since the ends also allow moisture to penetrate the interior of the spoon, the spoon itself will eventually start cracking and fall apart.
Of course, then you wind up buying new ones which will also fall apart before long if you don’t learn how to care for wood spoons properly.
How To Care For Wood Spoons
1. Wash them by hand. 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 use hot, soapy water, rinse it well and dry it with a towel right away. Allowing wood spoons to air dry leaves them in contact with water too long.
2. Re-sand fuzzy or rough spoons. If your spoons are rough and fuzzy, refurbish them with a 320 grit sandpaper or a brand new steel wool pad. Rub along the grain until the surface is completely smooth, then rinse well with water and immediately towel dry.
3. Oil regularly. Oiling wood spoons moisturizes the wood and provides a protective barrier. Obviously, 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. Repeat this any time your spoons begin to look dull and you’ll keep the wood from absorbing food stains and odors.
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 then transfer to a jar and store it in a cool, dark place. Use 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 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.
Equipment you may need: