Without butter a dinner roll isn't complete. The same "butter rule" applies to wooden kitchen utensils and surfaces. All of your wooden spoons, cutting boards and bowls should be treated regularly with a food safe finish for protection and durability.
What is wood butter?
Wood butter is simply a fun term for a food safe wood finish. The purpose is to repel water and reduce the risk of cracking by adding back natural moisture (like chap stick). Due to the fact that spoons are used for eating or cooking you cannot finish the wood with traditional furniture finishes since they tend to be toxic for human consumption.
What is it made of?
Two ingredients make up wood butter: beeswax and oil. The beeswax applies the water repellant function that was mentioned above and the oil moisturizes the wood. While any food safe oil can be used they are not all ideal. Olive or walnut oil can go rancid in wood so I prefer to use either mineral or coconut oil; plus the coconut oil has the bonus of smelling great!
How often should you apply?
Application depends on the amount of use the spoon receives. The more you use and wash the spoon the more often you should apply wood butter. As a general rule, it is best to treat all of your wood kitchen tools every 6 months. Maybe you could plan a Saturday morning twice a year to get out all your cutting boards and utensils and apply a healthy coat of wood butter.
How do you apply wood butter?
Using a microfiber cloth or paper towel swipe a fair amount of butter from the tin and onto the spoon. Spread the butter over the entire utensil. The goal here is to coat the spoon in butter not polish it deep into the grain. Lightly wipe off any excess and allow the spoon to sit over night. The next day give the spoon a final rub with the cloth to clean off any residual butter residue.
What else should you do to take care of a wood spoon?
- Hand wash in hot, soapy water as quickly after use as possible, rinse well and allow to air dry.
- As your spoon begins to show wear (gets fuzzy or rough) sand with a fine grit sandpaper - 220 or higher.
- Rub wood butter onto your spoon and let it sit overnight before wiping off the excess.
If you are a DIY-er you can easily make some wood butter, just be prepared to get wax everywhere! For the rest of you head over to my store and just buy some (this will save you some time and frustration).