All cutting boards should be seasoned before use. This will preserve your cutting board and extend its useful life. Store-bought cutting boards may be pretreated so that only regular maintenance is needed. Homemade cutting boards should always be cured before they are used in the kitchen. A cutting board which is properly cured and maintained can last a very long time.
Why you should cure a homemade wooden cutting board
Cutting boards are not varnished. Varnish should never come into contact with food. Wood which is not varnished will dry out over time if it is not cured and maintained. Dry wood will shrink and crack. Seasoning a homemade cutting board will prevent it from drying out.
Food particles can stain a cutting board. Odors from these food particles can seep into the pores of the wood. Seasoning a cutting board before use will keep food particles out of the pores of the wood. This prevents staining and odors.
The first seasoning
To cure a homemade cutting board, clean the cutting board. Then apply a coating of warm oil to every part of the cutting board.
The best oils to season a cutting board are mineral oil, walnut oil, and linseed oil. These oils are safe for contact with food. Do not use walnut oil if anyone in the family has a nut allergy.
Do not use cooking oil to season a homemade cutting board. Cooking oil turns rancid over time.
Warm 1/8 cup of oil over the stove or in the microwave. Warm oil penetrates deeper into the pores of the wood than cold oil.
Apply the oil to the cutting board with a clean soft cloth. Soak a corner of the cloth in the oil and rub in the direction of the wood grain. Dip the clothin the oil again and apply oil to a new area. Repeat over the entire surface and all edges of the cutting board.
The first seasoning will need several coats of oil. Allow the cutting board to sit for half an hour between each coat. Continue to apply oil until excess oil remains on the surface of the cutting board. Wipe off the excess oil. Allow the cutting board to dry overnight.
For extra protection, add an equal amount of paraffin wax to the remaining mineral oil. Warm the mixture until the wax melts. Stir the mixture together. Use it to apply a final coat to the cutting board.
You should season your homemade cutting board after each washing. This seasoning will not take as long as the first time. You can use the wax-oil mixture for these seasonings.
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