Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How-to: Maintain Wooden Cutting Boards and Wood-handled Knives

One of the topics I haven't touched on much is that of maintenance and because I want this blog to be an all-encompassing 'How-to' on being a Home Butcher, I'd like to start with the essentials - The cutting board and the knife. 

It's hard to beat the beauty of a wooden cutting board but many of the ingredients you're likely to use are rather harsh on them; onions especially. A good friend of mine has a saying that really affected me the first time I heard it - "Regular maintenance is mankind's only defense against entropy." This... mentality... has made an impact on a lot of what I do, and I'm rarely bored because of it. 
The most readily available product to help preserve your cutting boards is Food Grade Mineral Oil. It's relatively inexpensive and can be found at any restaurant supply companies, and certainly online. If I recall correctly, this container was $7.99. Grab a clean kitchen towel and a clean tupperware and soak with the oil. 

I keep the towel saturated with some excess oil in the bottom of the container. 

To put it quite simply, all you're going to be doing is wringing out the towel like you would any other and wiping down the surface. Wipe down all the sides and let the oil soak in for ~10 minutes. Once the oil soaks into the board, apply another coat. 

While marveling at the sheen of your (easily maintained) cutting board, take out your wooden handles cutlery and treat the handles in the same fashion as the cutting board. 

The two knives on the left are both Forschner chef knives that I found for $1.99 a piece at a thrift store today (Jan. 11). I know. I couldn't believe it either. The edges were in decent shape and I could tell they had never been sharpened which told me two things two things; These knives are fairly old because they still have the "Forschner: stamp on the blade, instead of today's "Victorinox" and that these knives were pretty gently used. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway - I was stoked to find these. 

It took less than 15 minutes to oil the cutting boards and these handles. Resetting the bevels and sharpening my new knives took much longer, but I couldn't be more excited to have them.

The next few weeks should see multiple new posts. Most excitingly will be an introduction to French Sausage Making. Also, in the next few days I will have some mighty-exciting news for you all, so STAY TUNED!