Wooden Kitchen Tools: Extend The Shelf Life Using These 6 Hacks
Image Credit: Zulay Kitchen

In a kitchen that uses various kinds of cooking tools for various purposes, having wooden spoons and bowls are largely to do with the lowered risk of damaging sensitive metal pans or pots, as well as to give your food an aesthetic edge. For example, tossing and serving up a salad in a large wooden bowl or setting up a snack platter on a charcuterie board enhance the dining and hosting experience immensely. That said, as beautiful and polished these tools might seem when you first begin to collect them, wooden cooking tools require as much care and attention as a cast iron skillet would need.

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Hand Washing

Avoid using a dishwasher or harsh soaps to clean wooden utensils, as the chemicals and high water pressure can damage the wood, causing it to crack or warp. Instead, hand wash them with mild soap and warm water, making sure dry them immediately afterward.

Regular Oiling

Wooden utensils like spoons, spatulas and bowls – when oiled periodically, helps prevent them from drying out and cracking. Using a food-safe mineral oil or a specialized wood conditioner that can be easily sourced online, keeps the wood hydrated. Apply the oil with a soft cloth, and let it soak in for a few hours or overnight, before rinsing thoroughly and drying before putting it away. 

Avoid Soaking

One of the key rules of owning wooding kitchen tools is that they should not be left to soak in water for extended periods; since prolonged exposure to water can lead to swelling, warping and the development of mould. While cleaning wooden utensils, opt for a soft sponge or cloth instead of abrasive metal pads, that might scratch and damage the wood’s surface, making it increasingly susceptible to stains and bacterial growth.

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Refrain Heat Application

Wooden utensils should be kept away from direct heat sources, such as stovetops and ovens as excessive heat can cause the wood to dry out, crack or even catch fire. Store your bowls, platters, cooking spoons and ladles in a cool, dry place to maintain their integrity and grain quality. Avoid exposing your wooden tools to direct sunlight as well, which might also lead to fading patches of polish on them. 

Rotate Utensils

If you have a set of wooden utensils, rotate their use to distribute wear and tear evenly – use cooking spoons by taking turns for a week or two before switching to an alternate set. What this helps prevent is for one utensil from becoming overly worn while others remain in good condition. If you notice any rough spots, nicks or splinters on your wooden utensils, gently sand them out with fine-grit sandpaper along the grain, from time to time, when not in active use.

Proper Storage

It is important to store wooden utensils in an upright position in order to promote air circulation and prevent the build-up of moisture. A utensil crock or a designated drawer with dividers can help keep them organized and in good condition if your kitchen does not have provisions above the counter to place them at a spot where air-drying is easy.