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Are wooden kitchen utensils safe?

Are wooden kitchen utensils safe

Wooden cookware has been in our kitchens for hundreds of years. They are one of the most environmentally friendly and heat resistant alternatives available. 

However, it is also true that they are more prone to storing bacteria. So you’re probably wondering if this is the best alternative for your kitchen. 

That’s why we’ve prepared this post to show you how safe wooden utensils are and why you should have them. 

We also leave you with a small guide so you can learn how to maintain them. 

Is it safe to cook with wooden spoons?

Cooking with wooden spoons is not only safe but also a preferred choice for many chefs and home cooks. Wooden spoons are gentle on cookware, preventing scratches on surfaces, especially on non-stick coatings. They are excellent for stirring and mixing a variety of ingredients without reacting chemically with acidic foods, unlike some metal utensils.

However, the safety of wooden spoons also depends on proper care and maintenance. Wood is porous, which means it can absorb moisture and harbor bacteria if not properly cleaned

To ensure safety, it’s essential to regularly clean and dry wooden spoons thoroughly after each use. Avoid soaking them in water for extended periods and occasionally treat them with mineral oil to preserve their integrity. This maintenance prevents cracking and splitting, where bacteria might grow.

What are the drawbacks of cooking with wooden spoons?

While wooden spoons are a popular choice in many kitchens, they come with certain drawbacks that are important to consider. Firstly, wooden spoons can be harder to clean than their metal or plastic counterparts

Due to their porous nature, they can absorb flavors, colors, and odors from foods, which can be difficult to remove completely. This absorption can lead to cross-contamination if the spoons are used for different types of foods without proper cleaning.

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Another drawback is durability. Wooden spoons can crack, warp, or split over time, especially if they are exposed to extreme temperatures or left soaking in water. These cracks and splits can harbor bacteria, making them a potential health hazard. Regular oiling and careful maintenance can extend their life, but they typically don’t last as long as metal or plastic utensils.

Additionally, wooden spoons are not ideal for all cooking tasks. For instance, they are not suitable for use in high-heat cooking, such as deep-frying, as they can scorch or even catch fire. They also can’t be used for scraping the bottom of pans with stuck-on food as effectively as metal utensils.

How to care for wooden spoons?

Proper care and maintenance of wooden spoons are crucial to extend their lifespan and ensure their safety in cooking. Here are some essential steps:

  • Cleaning after each use: after cooking, wash wooden spoons with warm, soapy water. Avoid using a dishwasher, as the intense heat and prolonged exposure to water can damage the wood. Instead, hand-wash them gently but thoroughly to remove any food particles.
  • Drying thoroughly: once washed, wooden spoons should be dried immediately. Leaving them wet or soaking in water can cause the wood to swell, warp, or crack. Stand them up in a drying rack or wipe them with a clean towel.
  • Regular oiling: to prevent drying and cracking, periodically treat your wooden spoons with a food-safe oil like mineral oil or beeswax. This process, known as seasoning, helps to create a protective barrier that repels water and stains. Simply apply a small amount of oil to the spoon and rub it in with a cloth, then let it sit for a few hours before wiping off any excess.
  • Avoiding extreme temperatures: don’t leave wooden spoons in pots while cooking, especially in hot oil or boiling water, as this can damage them. Also, avoid exposing them to extreme cold or heat outside of normal cooking use.
  • Storing properly: store wooden spoons in a dry place where they can stay clean and moisture-free. Avoid piling them tightly in drawers where they can get damaged.
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How to Care for Wooden Utensils

How to properly clean wooden spoons?

Cleaning wooden spoons properly is essential to maintain their hygiene and longevity. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Immediate cleaning: don’t let wooden spoons sit with food residue on them. Clean them immediately after use to prevent stains and odors from setting in.¡
  2. Rinse Thoroughly: After washing, rinse the spoon under running water to remove all soap residues. It’s crucial to ensure no soap is left on the wood as it can affect the taste of your food.
  3. Dry immediately: pat the spoon dry with a clean towel and then let it air dry completely before storing. Avoid leaving the spoon to soak in water or leaving it wet, as this can cause the wood to warp or crack.
  4. Disinfect occasionally: to disinfect, you can use a mild solution of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water). Wipe the spoon with the solution and then rinse it off. This helps to kill bacteria without damaging the wood.
  5. Remove tough stains: if your wooden spoon has developed stains or odors, make a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub it on the affected areas. Rinse and dry afterward.
  6. Avoid dishwasher: Never put wooden spoons in the dishwasher. The combination of prolonged soaking, high heat, and harsh detergents can cause the wood to crack and deteriorate.

The Best Way to Clean Wood Spoons

Ten reasons to cook with a wooden spoon

  1. Non-Reactive with Foods: Wooden spoons don’t react with acidic ingredients, unlike metal utensils, which can sometimes impart a metallic taste to food.
  2. Gentle on Cookware: They are soft and non-abrasive, making them ideal for use on non-stick surfaces without the risk of scratching or damaging the cookware.
  3. Heat Resistant: Wooden spoons don’t conduct heat as metal spoons do, so they stay cool to the touch even when left in a hot pot, reducing the risk of burns.
  4. Durable and Long-Lasting: When properly cared for, wooden spoons can last many years, often outlasting plastic or metal spoons.
  5. Eco-Friendly: Wood is a renewable resource, making wooden spoons a more environmentally friendly option compared to plastic utensils.
  6. Aesthetically Pleasing: Wooden spoons often have a classic, rustic look that adds a touch of elegance and tradition to any kitchen.
  7. Comfortable Grip: The natural texture of wood provides a comfortable, non-slip grip, making them easy to handle during cooking.
  8. Versatile in Use: They are suitable for a variety of cooking tasks, from stirring and mixing to sautéing and tasting.
  9. Won’t Alter Taste or Temperature: Wooden spoons won’t impart any flavor to your food, nor will they change the temperature of the dish you’re cooking.
  10. Safe for All Types of Ingredients: Since wood is non-reactive, it’s safe to use with all types of ingredients, including citrus, tomatoes, and other acidic foods, without any risk of chemical reaction.
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Meet the wooden kitchen utensils we have at Sylarb

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