Care of food preparation/cutting boards
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The manufacturer of my new board recommends Mineral (or Butcher Block) Oil, but I'm having trouble finding any in the small town where I live. I've heard that it's not a good idea to use any ordinary cooking oil because of eventual rancidity and the possibility of bacteria build-up.
A forum recommends walnut oil, as it doesn't go rancid. Not good for nut allergies though.
You can read what they said here:
I have seen the woodwork forum site, but would like to hear from LT people who have actually used various oils on their own cutting boards; have they found one that's better than another perhaps.
Since my initial post I have found a supplier of 'food-safe' mineral oil, and one of their outlets is an antique shop that's not far away. They'll probably charge me an arm and a leg.
Butchers I've worked with sprinkle flour on their blocks as a sort of sighting mask and scrub with a wire brush until the flour can't be seen.
Every few days they sprinkle salt on their blocks and leave it overnight.
Of course, being butchers' blocks they get plenty of oil/fat during everyday use.
Here's what I do: scrape stuck on bits with a dull knife, wipe clean with a cloth damped with hot water, air dry.
If it's been used for bloody meat or fish: after wiping, cover the surface in lemon juice (e.g. rub it with half a lemon) then rub with salt to form a paste. Wipe off with a damp cloth. Leave to air dry.
Last time I started a new one I scrubbed all over with a plastic scourer with a little dish soap and hot water, simply to remove any packing gunk.
If mine is really stained I would do this last one again.
I've seen wire pads (wire wool?) used (never done it myself) by someone after doing serious meat/fish hacking at home, presumably to get into the deep crevices. Sounds like a version of what Jim has seen.
What is it supposed to do? Doesn't it mess up the storage area?
The oil protects the wood, keeping it from drying and cracking, plus adding some waterproofing, too.
Unfinished wood soaks up the oil like a sponge. It won't leave residue; if it does, you're using way, way too much.
The usual routine is to oil new wood once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, then once a year thereafter. (I might get through the first week before I start forgetting to do it.)
You can get fancy wood oils at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond, but in the "olden days," I just used mineral oil from the drugstore.
Having read post no. 7 I think I'll head for the antique place here as they seem to have a monopoly on the supply of this elusive unguent.
Jim has, as usual, enlightened me with his arcane knowledge, and Kev has reinforced my own belief in the cleansing power of lemon and salt.
The 'Anything Culinary' in the group's title beguiled me, but the 'Book Group' part engendered doubt. Am I doing the wrong thing?
I would say you've done nothing at all wrong.