If you want a complete set of kitchen utensils, then you need to have a wooden spoon to hand.
Now, there are a couple of good reasons why wood makes for such a reliably good material for cooking utensils. Nevertheless, not all types of wood are equally suitable for a cooking environment.
So, in this post, we dive into what types of non-toxic woods are safe enough to use for wooden spoons. You will also learn why wood makes for better cooking utensil material than metal.
And keep reading to find out the best (and safest) way to sterilize your wooden spoon.
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What Is The Best Type Of Non-Toxic Wood For Spoons And Cooking Utensils?
Some of the safest most non-toxic types of lumber come from trees that grow edible fruits.
So, when it comes to cooking utensils specifically, hardwoods such as Olive wood and Hard Maple are fantastic options.
These woods are non-toxic. And, in fact, the tree sap from Hard Maple is where Maple syrup famously comes from). Plus, these wood types are tough enough to handle the day-to-day of life in a kitchen.
Also, hardwood trees that don’t bare edible fruit — yet are naturally water-resistant, such as Teak wood — are also great for making long lasting wooden utensils.
Related Post: Acacia Vs Maple Cutting Boards (4 Key Pros And Cons)
Is Teak Wood Or Bamboo Better For Cooking Utensils?
Well, first off, Bamboo isn’t technically a type of wood. Instead, this is actually a type of grass. Still, the reason why Bamboo keeps getting thrown in with other wood types is due to its toughness.
What’s more, it is fairly water-resistant. But, Bamboo will fall apart within a few years if it is used for outdoor construction.
So, for this reason, you can use Bamboo for cooking utensils like Kitchen spoons and even cutting boards. But, when it comes to longevity, Bamboo simply doesn’t compare to Teak wood.
Teak wood is so durable and water-resistant, that this wood type can even be used for outdoor decking.
You see, Teak woods incredible water-resistance is due to the fact that Teak is a very oily hardwood. In fact, it is filled to the brim with it’s own wood preserving tree oils.
Teak tree oil, (which should not be confused with a wood finish called ‘Teak oil’), saturates the grain of this timber. And this saturation helps safe-guard Teak wood from decay and water-damage.
And this extra safeguarding characteristic is something that Bamboo simply does not have.
But Is It Really Safe To Use Wood As A Cooking Spoon? Are Wooden Spoons Safe?
Sawdust from most any type of wood — is a sensitizer. So, if you inhale it, it can cause respiratory problems. And, in some cases, it can even cause allergic skin reactions.
Nonetheless, in its natural solid state, most species of wood, are not harmful. And wood is a food safe surface, safe enough to come into direct contact with your food.
But Why Do Professional Chefs Use Wooden Spoons? Why Not Simply Use Metal Spoons Instead?
There are two very good reasons to use wood for a spoon;
1). Heat Transfer:
Wood doesn’t transfer heat like metal does. In fact, metal transfers heat so well that some recipes will specify that you only use a wooden spoon.
2). Scratches And Abrasions:
Some recipes require you scrape food, (such as fond), off the bottom of a pan. And in those cases, you definitely want to be using a wooden spoon to do so.
But, using a metal spoon will only end up scratching up your pan.
And What’s The Best Way To Take Care Of A Wooden Spoon?
Wooden utensils will need a regular application of mineral oil to safe guard them.
All of that soapy water, (when you wash your spoon), will dry out wood. And in the worst case scenario, that spoon will begin to splinter and crack.
But, pure 100% food grade mineral oil will prevent this from happening to your utensils. That’s why every 1-3 months, you should saturate your wooden spoon in food grade mineral oil.
And Is Food Grade Mineral Oil Safe to Use?
It’s a perfectly food safe oil finish. Which is why mineral oil is the go-to wood sealer for cutting boards, butcher blocks and wooden spoons.
You see, food grade mineral oil comes from petroleum distillate. Except, unlike some other petroleum-based products, food grade mineral oil is highly filtered and refined.
In fact, it is so well refined, that it’s even safe for human consumption. Which is why this oil can be widely found at local pharmacies, and is sold as a laxative.
And, when it comes to wood finishing, this non-drying oil finish will coat wood fibers. This, in turn, prevents water from soaking right down into timber.
What Is A Non-Drying Oil Finish? Non-drying oil finishes like mineral oil do not dry, cure or harden into a durable coat. While drying oil finishes, such as Linseed oil and Tung oil, will dry and cure into a hard coat.
But Don’t Wooden Spoons Hold Bacteria? When Should You Not Use Wooden Utensils For Cooking?
Well, if you regularly maintain your wooden spoon, there is no real reason not to have one.
Still, if your wooden spoon starts to form cracks, then little bits of food can get caught up in those splits. This can then provide the perfect environment for harmful microbes to grow on that food, right inside that wooden spoon.
Nonetheless, the best way to prevent wood from cracking is to keep it well maintained. And you do this by applying regular applications of a food grade wood finish such as mineral oil.
This food grade wood finish will prevent wood from drying out and splitting apart.
What If There Are Already Cracks Appearing? How Do I Sterilize My Wooden Spoon?
The best way to keep wooden spoons food safe, (other than regularly coating them with a water-repellent wood finish), is to sterilize them.
Now, a rinse with soapy water isn’t going to be enough to get the job of sterilization done.
Instead, the best way to sterilize wooden spoons is to give them a very light dusting with food grade Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2).
What Is Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide?
Well, full disclosure, food grade Hydrogen Peroxide is not consumable in large amounts. And ingesting high concentrations of this stuff can cause severe stomach problems.
But, Hydrogen Peroxide is a mild antiseptic. And, if you use a very small amount of it, it can cleanse wooden spoons of any bacteria, without posing a health risk to you.
As a result, Hydrogen Peroxide can be applied onto wooden surfaces that come into direct contact with food.
So, if you want to wholly sterilize your wooden spoon, use food grade Hydrogen Peroxide. But, always rigorously rinse those wooden spoons afterward, so that you remove as much of that H2O2 off as possible.
And, one of the best food grade Hydrogen Peroxide products on the market comes from Vaxxen Labs. Their odorless product does not contain any harmful chemical additives.
What’s more, this antiseptic can be used on not only spoons, but also food itself (such as for washing root vegetables).
To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…
- 1). Non-toxic woods tend to come from trees that produce edible fruits. So, timber such as Olive wood and Hard Maple make for great cooking utensils.
- 2). One of the most durable type of cooking utensil wood comes from Teak wood. Thanks to the oiliness of this wood, it is naturally water-repellent and resistant to rot and decay.
- 3). The best way to maintain wooden spoons is to regularly saturate that spoon with food grade mineral oil. This will prevent your wooden spoon from cracking and splitting.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution | WebMD.com