How to keep wooden cutting boards looking new
Wooden chopping boards are great in the kitchen – they are kinder to your knives than any other surface and they look good too. However they do require a bit of maintenance from time to time to stay in tip-top cutting shape.
Wood is naturally quite porous so without a protective finish it can absorb juices from your food, transferring colours and smells from one recipe to the next. If excess moisture builds up within the board it can warp and crack or rot from within. Seasoning your wooden board straight after you buy it and oiling it every now and then can prevent any of that from happening.
Use food-grade mineral oil (you can find it at a hardware store) to season your board. The first time you season it you should saturate it in oil. Pour on the oil and rub it in with a clean tea-towel or cloth. It should look like there is a thick oil slick on top of your board when you’ve finished rubbing but you’ll find that if you let the board rest for 10 minutes and come back it will have been absorbed. When you have a new board, you should repeat this process a couple of times just to make sure that there are no spots you have missed.
After the initial seasoning, you should maintain the oil on the surface of your board by reapplying a single thin layer and leaving overnight whenever the oil layer starts to wear thin. The best way to judge this is to sprinkle a few drops of water over your board with your fingertips. If the water beads on the surface this is a good indicator that your board is well-oiled. If not, it’s time to apply a layer of oil.
To clean away food particles and smells from your board scrub it with coarse salt and rub with half a lemon.