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Wooden utensils and chopping boards are ubiquitous, classic, beautiful and versatile kitchen tools but they need to be properly cared for to avoid an early demise – oiling wooden utensils is a quick and easy way improve their longevity. It is very easy to let wooden utensils start to discolour, absorb odours, and crack or splinter if they are not looked after.

Regular oiling is one of the easiest ways to ensure your favourite wooden spoon or chopping board lasts you years, looking and performing at their best through hundreds of cooks and cleans. But there are some common pitfalls that you want to avoid, so lets take a look at why you should keep your wooden kitchen items oiled, and what oils to use and avoid, and why.

Why You Should Keep Wooden Utensils and Chopping Boards Oiled

Oiling your wooden kitchen items serves two main purposes.

  1. First, it prevents them from drying out and cracking. Wooden utensils and chopping boards are porous and can absorb moisture, which can cause them to expand and contract, leading to cracks and splinters over time. Oiling seals the pores, reducing the amount of moisture that can penetrate the wood, thus preventing cracking.
  2. Second, oiling adds a protective layer to the surface of the wood, preventing it from staining, warping, or becoming rough. Oil also helps to maintain the colour and natural beauty of the wood, giving it a warm, inviting appearance that will last for years to come.

What Oils to Use and Avoid

When it comes to oiling your wooden kitchen items, not all oils are created equal. Some oils are better suited for this purpose than others, and some should be avoided altogether.

Best oils for wooden kitchen utensils:

  • Mineral oil – a food-safe and odourless oil that is easy to find and inexpensive (we use Howard Cutting Board Oil at home, you could also check out the UK brand Furniture Clinic’s Cutting Board Oil or T&G Food Safe Wood Oil)
  • Walnut oil – a premium oil that is food-safe and adds a rich, nutty flavour to the wood. Doesn’t go rancid like other food-based oils but can leave a tacky feel (the The Cornish Chopping Board Company have an option that is combined with beeswax)
  • Linseed oil – another food-safe oil that is great for restoring the natural colour of the wood (make sure that it is classified as “food grade” before use)

Oils to Avoid:

  • Olive oil – can go rancid over time, reducing the longevity of your implements and boards
  • Vegetable oil – can also become rancid and cause the wood to stain
  • Furniture oils and any oil not classified as food grade – you might end up poisoning yourself!

Regularly oiling your wooden utensils and chopping boards is an easy way to keep them looking and performing their best. By using the right oil and avoiding those that are not suitable, you can ensure that your kitchen items will last for years to come. So, make it a habit to oil them regularly, and enjoy their beauty and functionality for a long time.

Well oiled chopping board

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