Bamboo boards have risen to become a popular kitchen staple due to their eco-friendliness and durability. Unlike other cutting boards, bamboo is denser than hence its durability. With proper care and cleaning, you can lengthen the use of a bamboo cutting board for decades. In addition, the cutting board holds up against daily chopping whilst resisting deep gouges better than wood. It is worth noting that bamboo can suffer from splitting along its seams when not properly cared for.
Below are some tips on taking proper care of your bamboo cutting board. Read on to find out more.
How To Care For A Bamboo Cutting Board
a) Washing Your Bamboo Cutting Board
Kitchen hygiene is key to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs that result in causing food-borne diseases. This is especially essential if using the bamboo board to cut any raw meat.
It's important to learn how to wash your bamboo cutting board as it can help keep you and your family safe whilst also extending the lifetime of the board.
When it comes to bamboo cutting board care, though bamboo is durable, it should never be put in the dishwasher. The heat from the dishwasher can damage the protective oil coating on the board, causing it to warp. Additionally, bamboo cutting boards should never oversoak in the water while washing as this can cause them to warp.
The best way to wash your bamboo cutting board is after every use, and it should be hand washed in warm water with mild soap. Once washed, you can air dry or towel dry.
b) Disinfecting Your Bamboo Board
If using your bamboo cutting board for meat, it's essential to disinfect them after each use. You can do this by:
- Dissolving one part vinegar in five parts water
- Then use a sponge to scrub down the board
- Rinse and dry as normal
It's key to keep in mind that its good practice to reserve one board entirely for meats. You wouldn't want to run the risk of cross-contaminating your vegetables, especially if you eat them raw.
c) Removing Stubborn Stains & Odours
You may likely have noticed that your bamboo wood cutting boards suffer from vegetable stains, which may not pose a health hazard but can ruin the overall aesthetic of the bamboo.
To get rid of the stains, scrub coarse salt over the board's surface with a sponge, then rinse. You can also use baking soda. Avoid chemical agents to remove the food stains.
For the baking soda on the stain, create a paste, let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it away. Towel dry the board immediately after.
Odors occasionally ingrain themselves in the bamboo board. However, this can be solved by rubbing baking soda and water paste over the board before rinsing and drying.
d) How to Apply Cutting Board Oil and Board Cream
Before you can make your first cut, you need to drizzle your cutting board with mineral oil.
Ensure that your bamboo cutting board is completely dry, then apply the oil directly onto the surface of the board.
Be generous with the application, especially if it's a new board or the wood is dry. Essentially, you want the surface to be dripping wet on all sides. Its also recommended to use a small bar towel or a new paintbrush to spread the oil. You, however, want to try not to soak up the oil. Also, using your hands may not be ideal as it may lead to accidental splinters.
It's important to let the oil soak into the bamboo cutting board for as long as possible; at least a few hours or sit overnight if you can.
Once you've applied the oil, let the cutting sit on a wire rack or upright to dry. You can repeat the process twice more by restoring or seasoning an old, dry, or new bamboo cutting board. This helps ensure that your board is completely seasoned.
To apply board cream, it's best to wait till the board is dry after oiling or washing. Then, using a soft cloth, buff the cream/wax into the wood in a circular pattern, forming a thin coat. Repeat over the entire surface of the board and especially the sides. It's not necessary to let the wax soak into the board.
It's advisable to oil your cutting boards every month or when dry to the touch. Board cream should be applied at the same time as oiling. You can also repeat the process when your board looks discolored. After several treatments, your board will be more saturated with oil and can go longer between treatments.
- Why Use A Cutting Board Oil & Board Cream
Board oil is meant to penetrate the wood and saturate the wood fibers to stop any liquids ( blood/bacteria) and moisture from soaking into the board.
A well-oiled bamboo cutting board is likely to maintain the same shape since the wood fibers are saturated. It will not expand and shrink compared to a board that is completely dry and then exposed to water. This shrinking and expanding effect is often the main cause of warped cutting boards.
- How To Choose The Best Oil
It's not recommended to use traditional cooking oils to condition bamboo cutting boards. These tend to be less shelf-stable than mineral oils and pose a risk of turning stale with time. Instead, it's best to opt for food-grade mineral oil. It's also recommended to avoid natural oils like olive and walnut oil.
Mineral oil, also known as liquid paraffin, is a non-toxic, non-drying product extracted from petroleum that is colorless, odorless, and flavorless. You can pick up a bottle of mineral oil at the drugstore. The key term to look for is food-safe mineral oil as some oils are not safe for human consumption.
Beeswax is also a popular material for reducing board maintenance.
Some conditioning products sold for bamboo boards combine this food-grade mineral oil with natural waxes. It's a good option if looking to make your cutting board more water or stain-resistant. There are also more natural options to consider that don't have synthetic additives.
Coconut oil has also become popular for various purposes, especially in beauty multitude has grown to be extraordinarily popular for a multitude of purposes, especially in beauty, because it is high in saturated fat which is beneficial for skin health. In addition, food-grade coconut oil is good for your bamboo or wooden cutting board because it is highly resistant to rancidity.
e) Deodorize Your Cutting Board
Sometimes you may notices that despite giving your cutting a good wash, it still feels and looks not clean.
If your bamboo cutting board has a smell, an alternative to baking soda is deodorizing to restore its freshness.
Start by sprinkling some salt on the board and squeezing half of a lemon onto the board, rubbing it across the surface.
You can leave the lemon and salt mixture on the board for at least two hours to let the mixture penetrate the bamboo. The mixture will counteract any underlying smells and will help kill them off. After allowing the mixture to sit, you want to rinse your cutting board and towel dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel.
f) Store Properly
The challenge with bamboo is that it can easily retain moisture which results in faster deterioration. To prevent this, you can store your cutting board on the kitchen countertop. Ensure it is standing vertically; that way there's enough air circulation to keep your cutting board dry. This will prevent moisture and bacterial development on the damp board.
g) Restoring The Cutting Board Surface
If you begin to notice that your cutting board is looking rough, here are some ways you can restore it:
Using a sheet of fine sandpaper, rub it over the surface by going with the direction of the grain.
Once you've sanded as much as needed, you'll want to clean off any dust and wash the board with hot, soapy water. Allow the cutting board to dry completely before applying a coat of mineral oil. It's important to store it properly after restoring the surface.
Bamboo cutting boards tend to also suffer from warping over time. To fix a warped board, submerge it in warm water for a couple of hours. After removing it from the water, lay it on a flat surface and place a flat, heavy object on top. This can help restore the shape of the board.
h) When To Replace Your Cutting Board?
The steps above detail how to go about bamboo cutting board care. However, as with all products, there's a point where it cannot be fully restored. This is when you may need to consider a new cutting board.
The only danger with using an old cutting board is that the bamboo can splinter. Thus it can result in pieces getting into the food which is definitely something you want to avoid. It can also lead to several deep scratches or cuts, that can collect bacteria and pose a problem.