And Make your own DIY wooden utensil butter
Few things are equally as traditional and functional as a wooden spoon. If you would have looked in my kitchen drawers even 1 year ago, you would not have been able to find a single solitary wooden spoon or wooden kitchen utensil anywhere. The only exception was a beat up cutting board made by my grandfather decades ago that never got used and a new large cutting board purchased from a local artisan that also rarely got used because I figured it would take too much time to clean it up and put it away when I was done. Plus, it is big and heavy! I have changed my ways, let’s see if you feel the same. Here are my top reasons to use wooden spoons and other wood kitchen utensils. I’ll also show you how to make your own DIY wooden utensil butter to keep your wooden kitchen tools happy for years to come.
They are beautiful and functional! Don’t get me wrong, I do like the look of stainless steel tools too but there is something about wood that is just on another level. It’s warm and comforting without the cold feel of its metal cousins. And what’s more, my wooden spoon would never do harm to my beloved cast iron skillets (or your other nonstick cookware by the way).
Yes, a wooden spoon can easily go from one cooking job to the next with just a simple washing and drying in between. It doesn’t matter where you store it; tuck it in a drawer with other kitchen tools or proudly display your timeless and super useful art piece right on your countertop. Either way, it will be beautiful and will make onlookers curious about your kitchen prowess.
Your workhorse in the kitchen; a wooden spoon can find a way to help you in preparing, cooking, and serving any meal, any day. Don’t shy away from reaching for your wooden flipper to make the pancakes (your wooden spoon can mix the batter) or flip those delicate eggs. You may be surprised at how well it works (my husband was)! Then later in the day, use that same spoon to stir and simmer your spaghetti sauce and that flipper can come in handy to serve up some freshly toasted garlic bread or maybe a cobbler for dessert. Have you seen a wooden spaghetti server?? Although it may not be as versatile as my spoon or my flipper, the spaghetti spoon is definitely on my wish list.
Wood is strong and will not bend under the pressure of a heavy stir. But remember, as I mentioned before, even though they’re super tough, they won’t hurt your favorite pot or pan. I bet you can’t say that about your plastic, stainless utensil. It’s true that silicon won’t damage your cookware but they can be prone to bending (ask me how I know) and if the silicone coating gets cut somehow, the cheap metal underneath will begin to rust and that rust will get into your food, YUCK!
In case that isn’t reason enough to switch to wooden utensils, did you know that wood has antibacterial properties and can actually be a more sanitary option?? Let’s discuss.
What about harboring bacteria? Is cooking with a wooden tool sanitary?
Actually, wood is one of the oldest materials kitchen tools were made from because wood has antibacterial properties. As a living organism, trees are able to fight off many different bacteria and diseases and fortunately for us, the wood retains many of those same properties after the tree has been harvested. Keep your wooden kitchen utensil clean, dry, and free from damage or cracks and it is actually quite safe to use.
At one point in recent-ish history, a group of health and safety experts employed by the US Department of Agriculture recommended the use of plastic cutting boards as a safer alternative to the traditional wooden boards. However, according to the scientific study conducted by Dean O. Cliver Ph. D., the wooden chopping boards he tested far outperformed the plastic versions from a bacterial safety perspective. Most inexpensive plastic cutting boards are subject to becoming marred or scarred after regular use making them difficult to clean.
The study was carried out at the University of Wisconsin and included a wide variety of wood and plastic cutting boards made from various source materials. What was most interesting about the study was that they introduced three of the most common bacteria responsible for causing food poisoning; E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria; and here is what they found.
The bacteria introduced to the wooden cutting boards simply died off after a few minutes. Actually, 99.9% was eradicated after about 3 minutes on the wooden chopping board and was completely gone when left to sit overnight. The plastic cutting boards appeared to have very little effect on reducing the level of bacteria present on their surface.
At the conclusion of the study, they did indicate that the best species of wood for their antibacterial properties seem to be pine and oak with maple and some other varieties also being effective.
So go ahead, ditch the plastic and use the “good board”.
Take care of these pieces of functional art and they will be with you for years to come. The good news is, they are easy to care for and maintain!
After each use, simply wash with warm soapy water (I actually don’t always use soap either) and pat dry with a towel. If something is stuck on, simply scrub with a nylon scrubber or scrap with a plastic, nylon, or wood scraper (also on my wish list). When it starts to look dry, simply butter it up with this DIY wooden utensil butter! A single batch of this wood tool butter is quick and easy to make and will last you a long time. Here’s the recipe:
DIY Wooden Utensil Butter
- wide mouth jar (pint jar is plenty big enough for this)
- 3 Tablespoons of beeswax pellets
- 10 Tablespoons of coconut oil
- Place a folded towel or trivet in the bottom of a medium pot.
- Add a few inches of water and heat to simmer.
- To your jar, add the measured beeswax pellets and the coconut oil
- Place the jar with its contents into the hot water. Allow the ingredients to melt completely.
- Once the beeswax pellets and coconut oil are completely melted, remove the jar from the heat and give it a vigorous stir with the handle of a wooden spoon.
- Set your jar aside while it cools completely.
- That’s it! Now it’s ready to use
How to use your DIY Wooden Utensil Butter
Simply take a small dollop of your DIY wooden utensil butter on your fingertips and rub all over the surface of your wooden tool that has started to look a little dry. Make sure to give it several hours to soak in. The next time you plan to use your wooden tool, just remove any excess butter first.
Stains, Spotting, and Odors oh my!
When using a tool in the kitchen made from wood, I have to admit, there can be a few drawbacks. It’s true that a wooden kitchen utensil can stain and even retain some odor from some of your strongest smelling dishes. Sometimes, a wooden spoon may even become spotted or a bit rough to the touch. Have no fear, these are all easy to remedy.
Some foods are notorious for causing stains on nearly anything they touch (I’m looking at your tomato sauce!) but with regular use and a little time, most all of these stains will fade away with no special care or attention given. Odors too can be dealt with fairly easily by reserving one wooden spoon for your savory dishes and another for your sweet dishes. If you only have one spoon in your kitchen drawer however, you may have to extract the odor to prevent your peach cobbler from tasting like garlic.
To neutralize odors on your wooden kitchen utensils, simply rub the surface with the cut side of a halved lemon, wipe down with white vinegar, or rub with a paste made from baking soda and water. As for spotted stains or roughness, some light sanding may be in order to smooth the surface again. Try 1,000 grit or finer and your wooden spoon will be right as rain. Each of these methods could dry your tool right away or over time so be sure to keep that DIY Wooden Utensil Butter handy.
When is it time for a new wooden kitchen utensil?
It’s true that most wooden kitchen utensils if well cared for, will last for many years. However, if you have a wooden spoon, flipper, or cutting board that starts to crack or split, it’s time to replace it with a new one. Cracks are an obvious weakness in the armor where food can become lodged. While the wood does have antibacterial properties, it can’t remove rotting food from cracks or splits.
Sure, you could just run out to a big box store and grab any old wooden kitchen utensil and reap some of the benefits of owning it. However, I urge you to be more particular than that. Often times, mass manufacturers use wood pieces that are too small resulting in tools that are quite flat and 2-dimensional. Still useful but not as much so and not nearly as beautiful to look at. They also often use less desirable materials that can be subject to a shorter lifespan leading your to purchase more frequently.
So go ahead, treat yourself to a brand new hand crafted wooden utensil from an artisan who looks over each piece of wood before turning it on their lathe. These artists care about the products they are making and go to lengths to ensure that everything about the piece is beautiful and designed to last. My newest and favorite flipper came from a shop called Woodland Treasure on Etsy. Not only are the items in her shop beautiful and functional, but the owner is also super helpful if you have any questions or concerns. I highly recommend that you check out her offerings when it’s time to buy.
If you would prefer to buy something you can physically touch and hold in your hand first, then get out to a local craft fair and you may just find a neighbor from your community has just the thing you’ve been looking for. It sure does feel good to meet your own needs while supporting the fine work of a local artisan. Happy spooning!
Now that your wooden kitchen utensils are seasoned for another round, let’s use one of those wooden spoons to stir some Easy Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning!
Do you have a desire to live more of a homesteader type of lifestyle? Check out the Homestead Anywhere ebook collaboration between 15 creators like me.
Another great ingredient to have available for all that good scratch cooking? Make Buttermilk at Home.
Interested in reducing plastics in your home? Check out my post of Reasons to Use Wooden Spoons and Other Kitchen Utensils HERE.
If you like DIY projects for things you’ll actually use, learn how to make your own wood tool butter.
Are you starting to make moves toward simplifying your life? It can feel overwhelming. For some tips to get through it, check out my post Overcome overwhelm when simplifying your life.
Links in this post:
Wood vs plastic cutting board study highlights: https://www.rowandsons.co.uk/blog/myth-fact-antibacterial-properties-wood/
Woodland Treasure Etsy Shop: