Just about every kitchen I know has wooden cooking utensils, cutting boards, and even cutlery and serving ware. They’re great! Wooden kitchen tools won’t break if you drop them, they don’t react with food acids, and they won’t scratch your pots and pans or dull your knives. However, they can dry out and crack, as well as absorb food colours and flavours if you don’t care for them properly. This is particularly important if you invest money in good quality cutting boards and ergonomic kitchen utensils (yes, those exist and they’re fantastic!).
The good news is that caring for all the wooden treasures of the kitchen variety is very easy. All they need is a little bit of oil from time to time to hydrate the wood and provide a seal against normal wear and tear. The trick is using the right oil. For kitchen use, you really want mineral oil: it doesn’t go rancid with time and is food-safe. I use a board cream, which is a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax. A little goes a long way and it provides deep conditioning for the wood and a great moisture seal.
You can find wood cream at William Sonoma throughout North America or check a good kitchenware store near you. Makers of quality cutting boards would often have their own mix or carry a brand they like. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even make your own using this awesome blogger’s instructions.
Once you’ve secured some wood conditioning cream, all you need to do is rub it in, let it sit overnight, wipe off the excess, and enjoy. I like to do this in the evening when I am finished with the kitchen. Get yourself a large baking sheet (or cover your counter with plastic), rub a generous amount of the wood cream into your board of kitchen utensils from all sides (you want some oil visible on the surface), and leave it overnight. In the morning, wipe off any excess and you’re good to go. You will notice that the wood is a deeper colour and there shouldn’t be any patches that feel rough to your skin.
Repeat this procedure at least once a year or whenever you notice the wood starting to dry out again.