A few years ago, I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful wooden chopping board from my work. Immediately I realised I was now holding the new cornerstone of our kitchen- a piece that would become inherent to our every day family life.
The kitchen is well and truly the centre of my home- it always has been. My mother is an incredible cook, whose culinary skills are remarked on by everyone who eats her offerings. My partner is also a chef, and the kitchen (any kitchen) is his Mecca. These beautiful gifted wooden chopping boards now take pride of place in our kitchen, and are used more times a day than I could possibly count. They are so much hardier than their plastic alternatives, and are undeniably beautiful.
What to Look For in a Wooden Chopping Board
Even if I hadn’t been gifted these stunning items, a quality wooden board was already on the ‘to-buy’ list. So, if I was to purchase one today, what would I be looking for?
My ideal wooden chopping board would need to:
- be ethically sourced from a well-managed supply chain and forestry
- be thick enough to last for years
- be made of an appropriate wood- maple, walnut, red gum and Tasmanian oak are all good options.
- be kiln-dried to prevent warping in the future.
Whichever board you go for, don’t hesitate to invest in a good one if you have the budget available. With love and attention, your board will last for year to come.
Cleaning Your Wooden Chopping Board
Like any investment piece, your wooden chopping board needs care to make sure it lasts the distance.
As the board has so much contact with your family’s food, it’s vital that this natural grain isn’t exposed to any toxic chemicals. Luckily…we have lemons!
Side note: lemon season is well and truly upon us here in Melbourne- the other day my partner called me incredibly excited at how many fruits were ready to burst from the tree in the backyard. Yes, these are the things we phone each other about. Anyway, while the first citrusy things that spring to mind may be lemon cheesecake, or perhaps a lemon slice, there are plenty of domestic uses for these little bundles… such as cleaning your beautiful wooden board! In particular, lemons are brilliant at diffusing the smell of onion or garlic!
I’m a stickler for non toxic cleaning in our home, and a naturally clean chopping board is a must! This one surface comes into contact with so many of our food items… which then end up in our mouths! So, how do you go about naturally cleaning your beautiful board?
First thing, and what I would argue is the most important step, is to make yourself a large steaming cup of tea. English Breakfast, green or botanical- it doesn’t matter, but the bigger the better! A spot of cleaning is always made more enjoyable with a warm brew near by.
Now, give your board a good clean in running water. It is important to not leave the board to soak, as wood can crack when left in a wet environment. Towel off the board, and allow to dry out.
Once the board has dried, you have the option of wiping it down with vinegar for an extra thorough clean. This can be a good idea if it’s been a while between scrubbings. If you decide to do this, use a clean cloth to vigorously rub a few tablespoons of vinegar over your board. Rinse with running water again, and allow to dry completely.
Next, sprinkle your board with coarse sea salt…
… then take one of those gorgeous lemons, and slice in half.
Generously squeeze the lemon juice on to the salted board, and then take the lemon half and work the salt and lemon juice into the wood grain. The more elbow grease, the better!
It’s a great idea to let the salt and lemon work their magic overnight. The salt works as an abrasive to lift any existing stains from the woodgrain, while the lemon is antibacterial and will kill any nasties living in the upper surface of the board.
The next morning, rinse thoroughly again with running water and allow to air dry. I like to stand my board upright while drying to let the fresh air thoroughly circulate around every side.
And that’s it! Your board will be as fresh as new, and ready to prepare your family’s next delicious meal. I recommend cleansing your board this with this method every week or so to prevent stains or bacteria building up.