Yeah, the title sounds a bit like click bait, sorry - it isn't. So, really … have you ever wondered what goes into cutting board oil/paste/butter? These treatments are sold at a premium and all use the same basic ingredients that are readily available and really inexpensive.
Before we get into how to make your secret sauce, let's talk about why you need to treat your cutting board. All wood naturally has a fairly high level of moisture, which is why the wood needs to be (kiln) dried for fairly long periods of time before being used. As the wood loses it's moisture content, the fibres contract (causing cupping, bowing and warping); wood will also absorb moisture in humid seasons and lose some of that moisture again in hot, dry seasons.
You have probably figured out where I'm going with this by now. Kitchens have a lot of fluids going about and unprotected wood will absorb whatever liquid you throw at it; some of these liquids will invariably be organic in nature - leaving these to soak into your cutting board, can be a health risk. Repeated soaking and drying of the wood can also cause it to crack.
As the saying goes: oil and water don't mix. As you apply oil to the cutting board, the oil is absorbed into the fibres of the wood, preventing other fluids from penetrating the surface. It is therefore good practise to clean your cutting board as often as you use it and treat it frequently to help protect the board against fluid/moisture.
A good cutting board is also an expensive item and it is therefore worth taking a few minutes to maintain the board and ensure prolonged use.
So let's get into the how …
You will need:
- Technical oil (3 or 4 parts by weight). This is also called mineral oil or liquid paraffin.
- Beeswax (1 part by weight).
- A large pot and a glass bowl slightly bigger than the pot.
- You're going to double boil your mix, so fill the pot with enough water to not touch the bottom of the glass bowl which you'll place inside the pot, leaving it suspended from the rim of the pot. Some also use a slow cooker for this, but I'll only advise this if you're planning on making a very large mix.
- Add your beeswax and oil to the bowl in a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 (I do 1:4) beeswax:oil. I have found that grating or breaking the beeswax into small pieces is best … that or you can buy the beeswax as granules, but I get mine in big blocks from people who farm the stuff - it also has a nice "natural" hue to it.
- Bring the water to the boil and place the glass bowl in the pot.
- Heat the mix until the wax melts and you are able to mix the two components.
- Take off the boil and let it cool down a little, just enough not to burn yourself while maintaining the mix's liquid state.
- Pour the liquid into a glass container and let it cool down completely before covering - your cutting board treatment will have a Vaseline like consistency.
Treating your cutting board:
- Apply the treatment royally to your cutting board with a soft cloth (like cheesecloth); you will notice that it softens and just about melts.
- Allow the oil to be absorbed into the wood and buff off the excess. This process shouldn't take much longer than 10 minutes.
- That's it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This recipe is cheap, easy to make and really an effective way to preserve your cutting boards. It is also perfectly food safe. Enjoy and, if you found this article helpful, please favorite or leave a comment below or go like/follow me on Instagram.