All You Need to Know about Proper Bamboo Cutting Board Care

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in Cookware

What type of cutting board treatment do you use on the cutting boards in your kitchen? Many people do not actually treat their cutting boards, and until recently, this was my mindset as well. Recently, I learned that you can seal the surface of your cutting board to protect it. 

This is called seasoning the cutting board, and it is imperative for bamboo cutting board care because it prevents blood, raw meat, and bacteria from getting into small cuts and abrasions that appear on the board from use.

What Are Cutting Boards Made Of

There are quite a few different materials that a cutting board can be made from, some of the more common options include:

  • Bamboo
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Silicone

How to Season a Cutting Board

Have you ever wondered how to treat a new cutting board? Well, when you have a wooden cutting board, the wood is not going to maintain the moisture that it had while it was alive, so over time, the board will dry out, which can lead to the wood warping or cracking. When you purchase a new cutting board, whether it is bamboo or wood, the first thing that you should do is season it. The steps to follow include:

Step One:

Lay out your cutting board, and then take the seasoning oil and pour about two tablespoons over the board. If the oil is not fully liquid, you can microwave it for just a few seconds to help liquefy it so that it spreads better across the surface of the cutting board. It is a good idea to start in one corner and move to the other side. Pour a little oil at a time onto the board, and always wipe in the direction of the grain. A handkerchief works well for spreading the oil.

Step Two:

Rub the oil into the cutting board until the majority of the oil absorbs into the wood. For the most part, you can continue rubbing with the grain, but you can also use a circular motion to make sure that the oil is spread evenly.

Step Three:

Repeat the steps because you will want to oil the cutting board twice to season it properly. When the cutting board is properly oiled, allow the board to sit and rest for six hours, and then wipe it to remove any excess oil on the surface.

How to Oil a Cutting Board

When your cutting board begins looking dry, you will want to add coconut oil to the cutting board. You will want to spread the oil on the board, just like you did when you originally seasoned it, but this time, you will only need to make one application.

To keep your cutting board in excellent condition, you will need to oil the board about once a month, even if you find that you are not using the cutting board a lot. This is because the air alone can dry out the wood, and cracks in the cutting board are a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.

Best Cutting Board Oils

There are a lot of different types of oil that you can use to season your cutting board. Many people prefer to use mineral oil for a cutting board, and if you use food grade mineral oil, this is a great option. It is an oil that is derived from petroleum that has no color, odor, or flavor. Be aware that not all mineral oil is safe for consumption.

While mineral oil is a good option, I prefer to use coconut oil on my cutting board. You want to choose a refractionated coconut oil so that the oil is distilled to give it a longer shelf life. You can also use beeswax to maintain your cutting board. It is a natural wax that will hydrate your cutting board, make it shine, and give it a waterproof surface.

Oils to Avoid

Walnut and tung oil are among those that you are going to want to avoid when you are caring for your cutting board because they are woods that come from nut trees, so cutting food on them could be a health issue for anyone that is allergic to nuts. Olive oil, corn oil, and other vegetable oils go rancid quickly, so you should never use these oils on the surface of your cutting board so that you do not add unwanted flavors or odors to the food that you are preparing.

When to Season a Cutting Board

Of course, you are going to want to season a cutting board when it is new, but after that initial seasoning, when should you season it again? I already stated that on average, it is ideal to season your cutting board about once a month, but some boards may need more or fewer treatments to be maintained. With that being said, there are a few tests that you can do to see if the board needs to be seasoned yet. These tests include:

  • Scanning the cutting board with your eyes and giving it a good examination – Drier parts of the board will look lighter, so if the coloration of the board is uneven, you may need to season it. You can also rub your hand along the board to see if any part of the cutting board feels dry. Of course, this is not scientific, but it won’t hurt the board to season it too soon.
  • Doing the water droplet test to see if the board is waterproof – All you need to do is pour a little bit of water onto the board. If the water beads up and stays on the board, it does not need to be treated right now. If the water is absorbed by the wood, then there is a good chance that blood can be absorbed as well, which means that it is time to season the cutting board.
  • Looking for stains and discolorations on the cutting board – If you have noticed that your cutting board is becoming discolored, that is a sign that the blood from the meat that you are preparing on the cutting board is soaking into the wood. If this is the case, you really need to season your board, especially if there is an odor accompanying the stains.

How to Clean a Bamboo Cutting Board

Wood cutting board care includes more than just seasoning the board; proper cleaning is also a necessity as well. Many people simply put their cutting board in the dishwasher to clean it, but the heat and the water that will be used to wash the cutting board in the dishwasher can easily cause the wood to warp and splinter. A cutting board needs to be washed by hand, but you will also need to ensure that it does not set in water at any point because this will warp the wood as well.

To properly wash your cutting board, you will need to scrub it with soap and warm water. Use a sponge or a dishcloth to wash down the board, and then dry it with a towel. The wood will continue to dry when it is stored, so make sure that it is in a rack where air can flow across both the front and the back of the cutting board.

How to Remove Stains and Smells from a Cutting Board

If your cutting board has stains or odors from not being appropriately seasoned, there are things that you can do to remove them. The best way to remove stains from a cutting board is to sprinkle some baking soda over the stain and scrub it with some hot water. I suggest using a sponge for this because the somewhat rough surface can get into the abrasions and cuts that are on the board with ease.

If you need to get rid of a rancid smell on your cutting board, then lemon juice will do the trick. All you need to do is cut a lemon in half, and run it along the surface of the cutting board. The acid that is present in the lemon will react with the bacteria on the cutting board that is causing the smell, and soon the cutting board will smell lemony fresh.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you learned a lot from my bamboo cutting board care guide. With proper care, a cutting board can last for years, if not decades. However, if you fail to clean your cutting board after using it and season the surface once a month, you will see the wood deteriorate before your eyes.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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