How to avoid transferring flavors and odors on a wooden cutting board

"I enjoyed the cutting tutorials.  My question is that after cutting garlic and switching to strawberries how do you clean the cutting board so that the strawberries don't taste like garlic?  Or switching between food types in general.  Meats, veggies, etc."     Donna

That is a great question!  First, a well-maintained hardwood cutting board will not absorb odors or stains if it is used properly. To maintain, every month (more if it is used heavily) the board needs to be rubbed down with food-grade mineral oil, or a special oil made specifically for cutting boards.  Put a good coat on the board, (including the ends), let it sit overnight, then wipe dry in the morning.  Flip over and do the other side the next evening.  This will keep the board from drying out, making it more susceptible to odors and stains.  During and after each use the board should be scraped with a stainless steel bench scraper to remove liquid and any bits of food.  Wash it with very mild dish detergent and water, then dry thoroughly. If you feel the need to sanitize, Quaternary ammonium is the best choice for wood, just don't leave it sitting on the board for very long.  Wipe the sanitizer (properly diluted, of course) over the board, let it sit for a minute, the wipe away and dry. 

Some no-no's:  Do not let liquids sit on the board, they will soak in and cause the wood fibers to swell, weakening the board. Don't wait to clean the board, do it immediately.  Don't cut in one spot all the time.  Turn it around and flip it over frequently to avoid uneven wear.  

I do not cut raw meats, poultry or fish directly on my wooden cutting board.  I use a polypropylene board.  That way I can thoroughly wash and sanitize it in the sink and avoid potential cross-contamination to other foods I prep on my wooden board.  Theoretically, raw proteins can be prepped on a wooden cutting board if it is properly maintained.  I just choose to be ultra-safe and use a poly board.

Hope this helps!


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