Cleaning and Seasoning of Wooden Bowls
It seems there is a lot of erroneous thought out there that wooden kitchen items can not be cleaned and that they can not be made with a food safe finish. Wooden kitchen ware has been used for centuries with success and to some extent that should speak for itself. In the past we may not have required the level of cleanliness expected now and humans have developed all kinds of coating products that are quite possibly not food safe. I have addressed cleaning and seasoning of wooden products on my website in the questions section but I will repeat them here.
After each use wash the item in warm soapy water. Rinse well and then dry with a clean cloth. This in not much different from regular dish washing although the water will not be as hot. Do not soak the item. Do not put the item in the Microwave after washing or when preparing food. The wooden bowl, board or utensil will lose some of it’s finish but it should withstand a few washes before something is applied to maintain it.
There are a some products that are readily available like Beeswax polish which are ideal for maintenance. You can also head for the medicine cabinet for that bottle of mineral oil and use that although it may retain a bit of a film which can transfer to another surface so buff it well. Do not use the food oils from your kitchen. Olive, Canola and others are the things you just cleaned off in the washing process. These oils can go rancid over time. These oils also stop the wood from breathing and will cause it to distort or crack over time.
When the bowl or cutting board is made it will have a finish applied. The finishes listed here are known to be food safe. These would also be available to the homeowner.
There is a point to be made that most finished when fully cured are food safe but that is for another writing directed at the maker of wooden items.
- Pure Tung oil: It comes from the nut of china wood trees. It is used as a blend in many finishes. Pure is the key word here. It has good water-resistance.
- Raw linseed oil: made from flax seeds. It has to be raw Not boiled! What is called boiled these day probably has driers in it. The FDA list it as a food additive. It has good water resistance.
- Walnut oil: Pressed from walnuts. Its fairly easy to find. Walnut oil dries and will not go rancid Easy to apply not as water resistant as the tung or raw linseed.
- Beeswax: Obviously from the honey bee. It is usually mixed with mineral oil for wooden bowls and boards to make a more waterproof and easily applied finish.You can find it in good hardware locations.
- Mineral oil: Mineral oil has already been mentioned, although derived from petroleum it is colorless, odorless and inert. It is sold as a laxative. It is easy to apply and can be used frequently as the item is washed. Buff it well.