I love my old wooden cutting board. I know plastic is much easier to sanitize and plastic boards come in all the jazzy colors of the rainbow; but for me, nothing compares to the feeling I get when I pull out my big wooden board and giant chef’s knife. Anyone who sees those two items on the kitchen counter knows something good is on the way.
I use one side of my board for fruit and bread and the other side for veggies, onions, garlic, etc. There’s nothing ickier than diving into a gorgeous fruit salad that whispers mmmm…garlicy goodness..on the back end of each bite you swallow, and dedicating sides solves that problem.
Even used for fruit, veggies, and breads only, my wooden board occasionally needs some tender loving care. Although I spray the board down with pure white vinegar and rinse well after each use to sanitize; the board can still hold pungent odors and the wood can become dry and brittle.
About once a month or so, here are the steps I follow to keep a clean, fresh, and well conditioned board.
To Deodorize Your Wooden Cutting Board
First, scrub both sides of the board with coarse salt and lemon juice. You can see by the picture that there’s no need to use the pretty lemons you’ve got set aside for something yummy. The sad, spotted ones forgotten on the bottom of the crisper drawer work very well as long as they’re still fresh and juicy inside.
Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of salt on your board and use half a lemon as a scrubber – moving in a circular motion all over your board until it’s covered in juicy, salty goodness. Repeat on second side.
Let the lemon juice and salt sit on the board for five minutes or so and rinse both sides well with hot water.
Dry your board with clean paper towel.
Allow the board to dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next step.
To Condition Your Seasoned Wooden Cutting Board
Conditioning your board will prevent it from drying out and cracking.
Don’t use olive oil, canola oil, etc. Vegetable based oils will turn rancid.
Don’t leave your board dripping in oil; but don’t skimp either.
Happy cook or not, safety is safety; and I always use plastic boards for cutting meat (cooked or uncooked) and cheese. I can toss them into the dishwasher and never worry that I missed a belly busting bug.