Thursday, April 21, 2011

Caring for Butcher Block

This beautiful Chilean Cherry Hardwood cutting board was a Christmas gift that I hadn't used, because I was afraid I was going to ruin it.  I knew wood cutting boards required extra maintenance and I just hadn't had time to research it.  It turns out that with a little prep work, these cutting boards are actually very durable.

Step 1:  Before using your board, the wood needs to be treated and preserved.  I bought a food safe mineral oil made specifically for butcher blocks, for around $8.00 at my local home improvement store.  It is a little pricey, but you use such a small amount, that the oil will last a long time.  The oil should be odorless, tasteless, and colorless, so as to not compete with the food you will be preparing on the board.  I followed the directions on the bottle to apply 3 thin coats of oil with a soft rag, waiting at least 20 minutes in between each application.
The oil brought out the wonderful wood grain and cherry color of the wood. 
Step 2:  Allow the three coats to dry, and remove any excess. 

Step 3:  The board is ready to use.  To clean the board, hand wash with hot soapy water.  You can also use half a lemon, sprinkled with salt as a scouring pad to remove stains.  Every year, apply another coat of oil to maintain the board.

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