YOUR BOARD AND LOOKING AFTER IT.
Firstly don’t worry that your board will change over time.
The first board I made is 27 years old now and the tree it is made from was about 150 years old - so it’s doing well.
It’s made from a single piece of wood as all “house of oog” boards are. It’s in almost daily use (apart from when we go on holiday or on the increasingly rare times we eat out).
I think it is even more beautiful now than it was on the first day I made it.
Why our board is good
Why it is still beautiful is really simple. It has never been:-
1. Put in the dishwasher
2. Exposed to extreme heat
3. Exposed to extreme cold
5. Left in water for any length of time.
6. Not loved
Avoiding all of the above gives your board a good chance to last even more than a lifetime.
Woods are really beautiful both to look at and to touch. They have their own natural oils and are always unique. Every board is the only one of its kind – that I find amazing.
Wood has its own natural oils. Using strong detergent or bleach will slowly remove and dry out these oils in your board over time. However it is a practical object and needs to be cleaned so this is unavoidable but not irreversible.
Simply prep food whilst looking lovingly at your board. Do your fantastic cooking and then place your board over the sink and wipe down using warm soapy water, it is fine to use a sponge or cloth. Surface dry with a tea towel and stand to air dry.
If it has dried-on food or a heavy stain like beetroot, coffee, wine etc. you can use a spray kitchen surface cleaner or on deep stains a mild spray bleach cleaner. Rinse off and do as above.
Its important to know that the wood does suffer from more intense cleaners and scrubbing so it is best to clean the board straight after use and as gently as possible.
People ask if our boards will stay the same and the answer is no unless you never use them and hang them on the wall. They will however age really well if looked after.
Many boards on the high street or online are coated with a plastic varnish! These boards seem very easy to clean and easy to wipe at first. They are for a while until the plastic coat is cut into and detergent water can penetrate and not dry easily with the result the board can split or warp. It also has the disadvantage that by coating the board with a plastic the wood itself can no-longer be oiled and reinvigorated.
This is why we oil our boards. In the long run they have the potential to last a lifetime or longer.
Oiling and care
All our boards are given 3-6 coats (depending on the wood type) of a food-safe white mineral oil over the course of a few weeks before they leave us. It sounds a lot but the wood loves it and it really doesn’t take long. Probably less than 30 seconds.
Once you have your board this is something the wood will still benefit from. It’s best to oil your board when it is clean and dry.
You can use a white food-safe mineral oil or (as I do at home) an olive oil.
Pour a spoon size spot of oil on your board and use kitchen towel to spread and work in the oil. Leave to absorb for 5-15 mins. Then wipe off any excess of oil. If your board soaks up the oil immediately it might be a sign that the board has dried out a bit too much and would benefit being fed with oil a little more often.
Olive oil has never let me down but I do use my board a lot. Some people say that it can go off and smell. I have no personal experience of this happening and wonder what oil they are using. However this might be because my board is getting used /washed /oiled/used /washed/oiled as necessary.
If for whatever reason you don’t use your board frequently it might be better to use a white mineral oil which you can find in any good hardware shop, kitchen shop or online.