The Last Word on Charcuterie Board Maintenance – Or How to Care for Your Wood Boards, Bowls & Utensils Properly
Caring for, maintaining and keeping your wood boards looking fresh and new is not difficult. A few steps of proper care and upkeep will keep your wood looking great.
Wood, like us, is a natural product. Over time it will show its age and may crack or split. Just like we might develop wrinkles or go grey. Embrace the changes, they add character – for wood and people.
First things first – never, under any circumstance, put your board or any wood product in the dishwasher. The temperature in your dishwasher gets extremely hot and will warp your board, destroy your bowl and ruin your spoon. There is no need to put it in the dishwasher – it will ruin it – guaranteed.
The no dishwasher rule goes for RusticWares charcuterie boards, your countertop cutting board, big butcher block, wood bowls, wood utensils. Anything wood – keep out!
Warm soapy water does just fine when cleaning you board. Don’t soak it overnight like you would a stubborn pan. If you have stuck on food just put some elbow grease in to it and scrub. You won’t hurt the wood and a little soap and water goes a long way.
If serving up a particularly oily nduja, juicy strawberry or vegetable swimming in an oily marinade it may cause staining or discoloration on the board. Do not worry – we got this.
After cleaning as best as you can with warm soapy water if it’s still not clean, then it’s time for lemon juice, salt and baking soda.
Sprinkle salt generously over the board. Cut a lemon in half and use the cut side down to work in the salt. If your lemon is a little tough and not giving up the juice, pop it in the microwave for 5 – 10 seconds and the juice will start flowing. Rub the salt and lemon juice mixture for a few minutes working in the salt all over.
Next add some baking soda to the board and repeat the process. Work it in to a lather and let it sit for a few minutes.
Next step is to rinse off. This should have done the trick – if not you can repeat until your board is nice and clean. Ultimately you may not be able to get every stain out of your board – but like grey hair and wrinkles, over time we all age. Let it go and embrace the natural beauty.
This process of salt, lemon and baking soda also works to remove odors from your board. If possible, after you rinse off the final mixture, dry it with a towel and let it bask in the sun. A little sunlight can be a powerful deodorizer.
Now that your board is nice and clean its time to nourish and enrich your board’s wood.
There are several products you can use to treat your wooden board – this is the method I prefer.
Board butter made from food grade mineral oil and beeswax. I will provide the instructions and amounts below to make it yourself or you can buy some from us here - https://www.rusticwares.com/collections/new-this-week/products/board-butter
Using a combination of mineral oil and beeswax will allow you to bring back the beautiful grain of your board, protect it from water and other spills, and nourish the wood to prevent drying and cracking.
Either product is fine on it’s own and may be more easily obtained. You can get food grade mineral at any local or big box hardware store and probably any place with a reputable kitchen dept.
There are several other products on the shelves at the big box stores that probably work just as well for treating and caring for your board. Just be sure to check that it is indeed food grade and follow the directions. Remember each of these steps can apply to your wood bowls and utensils as well.
Repairing Your Board
You may have a charcuterie board that you never cut on and use only for serving/display board. That is fine. I have a few pieces that I would never use a knife on – especially some of the more beautiful burl boards RusticWares carries.
For all of your other boards that take daily abuse from knives, scrubbing and every day banging around there are a few things to bring them back to their original glory.
A lot of this will depend on how deep the cuts on your board are and what types of tools you have access.
For heavy, deep cuts you are going to need a palm sander and several different coarse grits of sand paper. For minor cuts you should be able to tackle this with just some elbow grease and a fine grit sand paper. How coarse of sand paper depends on how deep the cut - but I would start off with 120 grit. This is a good overall grit that wont heavily scratch your board.
Either by hand or palm sander use the 120 grit to even your board out and remove the scratches. Even sanding in a Karate Kid circular wax-on, wax-off motion will produce the best results.
After 120 you can move to 220. This is a much finer grit sandpaper that will remove any scratches potentially left by the 120 and really give it a smooth feel. After the 120 wet your board down with water. This will raise the surface grains “hairs” in your board. This is a trick I do on every single board I make and really makes a difference.
Once your board is dry - go with the 320 grit. This will be your final grit and can really make a board month as silk. Once you are done with 320 you can add whatever wood protection you have to finish it off, bring out the grain and protect and nourish your board.
Board Butter Recipe
No matter the amount you are making you want a 4:1 ratio of oil to beeswax. This recipe will give you more than enough for yourself and even some to gift out to others.
3. Once beeswax is melted – remove both jars from heat source.4. Add the warm oil to the beeswax
5. Stir for complete consistency
Once you are done - let it harden for a few hours. Cut a swatch from an old cotton t-shirt or towel and start rubbing your wood. Worth the butter in to the wood so it feels like it is drinking it up and is nourished. I like to do this with all of my wood at the same time on a semi regular basis.
After it is all worked up - walk away and let it sit for a few minutes. Come back and wipe away any excess. Hang on to the cotton cloths used in this process for next time.
And there you have it - the final word on wood maintenance. Follow these instructions for happy, great looking wood.