Every kitchen needs a good, sturdy, wood cutting board. Not only will it last you for ages — I have one I’ve been using for upwards of 30 years — but it also makes cooking a lot more fun when you aren’t worried that an old, warped, plastic cutting board could slip out from underneath you and cause you to cut yourself, or that it’s contaminating your food with bacteria from that raw chicken you cut up last week. (Of course, as any food-safety guru will tell you, it’s best if you have two good, sturdy boards — one for meat and one for everything else.)
I'm a fan of wooden cutting boards, which have been shown to be safer than plastic ones when it comes to harbouring nasty microbes and are certainly more sustainable. They’re also easier on your knives; marble cutting surfaces, for instance, can dull edges rapidly. Wooden cutting boards are also personalised, so once you buy one from Irish oak personalised gifts, you want to do everything you can to make it last.
Wooden boards are a must-have for every kitchen — they're better on your knives and last for decades. Have a look at our Chopping boards.
Caring for your wooden cutting board
Wooden cutting boards can be damaged if they are exposed to too much moisture or allowed to get very dry. A good oil finish is the best way to protect them from both extremes. Most chefs recommend a food-grade mineral oil, the main ingredient in most commercial "board oil" products. But mineral oil is petroleum based, and who wants to cut their hard-won organic produce on a petroleum-treated cutting board?
I like Olive oil, which is made from seed oils. You can also use a light natural cooking oil, such as coconut or walnut oil, neither of which will gum up the surface of the board as heavier vegetable oils may, or turn rancid. Rancid oil isn’t dangerous, but it can impart a nasty flavour to your food.
All of our boards are treated with Tung Oil to avoid any nut allergies.
Before you use a new board, apply a thin coat of whatever edible oil you choose to all sides of your board, rubbing in the direction of the grain using a clean rag. Apply as much oil as the wood will absorb, but don't leave any pooled on the surface. Then set the board in a warm place. After 12 to 24 hours, apply more oil in the same way and set the board out to warm again. Repeat until no more oil is absorbed, then wipe the board with a dry cloth and buff it until it shines.
From that point on, a few simple steps will help keep your wooden cutting board useful and attractive for a long time:
• Re-oil as needed. Whenever your board starts to look dull in places, apply a thin coat of oil to the entire clean, dry board, applying extra over any dull or worn areas, and wiping off any excess. A well-oiled board is easier to keep clean and is much less likely to soak up odours or liquids or to dry out and crack, so keep your board oil handy and use it regularly.
• Keep your knives sharp. You won't have to press down as hard and your cutting board will suffer fewer grooves. Avoid sawing your knife back and forth when it is in contact with the board — save the cleaver heroics for a butcher block. And vary where you cut on the board: If you always cut in the same spot, you will eventually cut a grove in it.
• Keep it dry. When cutting wet food, remove the food promptly when you’re finished, and dry the board so the moisture won't have a long time to soak in, which could make the wood swell (not a good idea if you want it to last).
• Clean your board as soon as you’re done with it. Never, ever, ever run a wooden cutting board through the dishwasher or let it soak in water! Brushes crumbs off or rinse the board under running water using a stiff (but not metal) brush to loosen stuck bits.and to clean engraving where applicable. Immediately dry the board with a towel. Use hot water and a little mild dishwashing soap to remove oily residues.
• Keep your vinegar handy. Wooden cutting boards have been shown to be naturally resistant to bacteria, but if you want extra protection, keep a spray bottle of vinegar on hand and lightly mist the cleaned board with that, or use a lemon/salt and scrub to a paste allowing it to sit for 10 minutes then wiping off any remaining moisture with a dry towel. I like to clean my butcher block right before bedtime, then let it dry overnight. The next morning, I make sure to seal it before I get it dirty again!
And voilà! You're Irish Oak Personalised board will last for years