Restoring the shine of your wooden cutting boards and butcher blocks is easy and inexpensive! There are many products on the market that you can use that come in fancy packaging, but it’s easy to DIY your own. Keeping cutting boards conditioned prolongs their life and keeps them hygienic, so it’s good to have something on hand for regular use. This article shares three very easy recipes for treating your butcher boards when they have dried out, need refinishing, or repair.
Food grade mineral oil
Container – glass jars and old coffee cans work great
Flowerpot – to use as a bain-marie
Sanitized stirring rod – wooden ones work very well
Always Start with a spotlessly clean, super dry butcher board. Wash it with vinegar the night before and let it air dry while you sleep. The next morning, condition your board clean and dry using one of the following methods.
The first method it is not really a “recipe” at all. It is simply old food grade mineral oil. There are many different ideas about which oils go rancid and which oils are the best to use. In general, food grade mineral oil is considered the best oil to use on wood cutting surfaces. It’s odorless, colorless, inexpensive, and definitely won’t go rancid. You can easily find it at your local hardware store or pharmacy. To treat your butcher board with mineral oil, gently rub the hot oil over the wood and let it soak through. Heat your oil, not hot. If you’re like me and don’t have a “nuker,” just use a double boiler on the stove. Just be careful as the oil is obviously flammable. This is an excellent regular treatment to keep your board in shape.
The second recipe It’s for a creamy board oil or “Dream Cream” as I call it. This is a rich blend of mineral oil and beeswax. Adding beeswax to your oil increases its water resistance and adds a very slight shine to the finish. Paraffin can also be used. It is odorless and much less expensive; however, I personally prefer beeswax. This is a great treatment for a board that has become too dry or sanded to a new finish. The recipe calls for 9 parts food grade mineral oil to 1 part beeswax.
Measure out 1 part wax to 9 parts oil. There are wax beads available or you can shave chunks of wax from a block like I did.
Heat the oil and wax slowly until the oil is warm and the wax has melted. Be sure to stir and incorporate the wax as it melts.
Pour some of the melted product onto your butcher board and rub it in making sure you get all the surfaces, especially cut edges. Let it soak in before using the board to prepare food. The consistency of this recipe is a bit like hair gel after it cools down a bit and gets firmer as it cools. It will melt onto the board like butter as you apply it. It can be used hot or cold; However, I think it works better and faster in hot weather.
The third recipe It is for a “board wax” style of pasta. This is a rich ultra-fat blend of oil and beeswax. It is thick and waxy and offers great resistance to water once the wax has hardened. It can be polished to a smooth shine and looks beautiful. Use this recipe as a polishing paste or crack filler. Keeping the occasional cracks and knife marks filled prolongs the life of your board.
This recipe contains 4-5 parts food grade mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. Heat the oil and add the wax as indicated above. Rub it on the board. Allow the oil to soak in and the wax to harden before polishing and preparing food on it. If used warm, this wax will spread a thinner layer. If used cold, it is quite thick and doughy and will give you a thicker coating.
Your wood should be treated regularly to prevent it from drying out and cracking! The frequency of treatment and the type of butcher block oil you need to use depends on many variables; such as the weather and how often the board is used and washed. You will have to be the judge. These “recipes” will not only beautifully condition your butcher board, but will increase its shelf life. They will also be kept indefinitely. Once you’ve prepared a batch, it will be easy to take off the shelf and use year-round.