My sister had a thing for spoons. You know, the little silver souvenir ones you see at gift shops everywhere but then you wonder who in the world buys them… My sister, that’s who. She had display shelves for them, and I think even inherited a couple old ones from my grandmother’s house. I say inherited from the house because I’m not sure I can picture my grandmother buying a souvenir spoon. Yes, I know she did take one vacation back during the 30s or early 40s. I have some pictures of that. But buying spoons. I don’t think so. But anyway, my sister loved spoons, tried to carve them out of wood, and was always drawn to them when she saw them in gift shops or craft stores.
I on the other hand, never really thought about spoons. Until recently when I realized I have not one, not two, but three containers with wooden spoons in them. And I actually prefer them to any other when cooking. I remember my mother having one big wooden spoon that was dyed kind of a grapey maroon color. She used to use it for cooking but also used it to stir dye. I have no idea what she dyed. I don’t remember anything being dyed.
But I do remember my little brother climbing up onto a stool one day to tip a pot sitting on the stove so he could look inside (I know, I know, child care was a totally different thing back in the 60s). He spilled an entire pot of red dye all over himself. A scary image when a mom hears a child scream and then sees him covered in red liquid. Thankfully it wasn’t hot and a quick plunge in the tub got most of it out of his blonde hair!
Caring for Wooden Spoons
But on to the topic at hand. I have an addiction to wooden spoons (and dish towels but that’s another post) and I have started to think about how they should be cared for. I know leaving them to sit in water isn’t a good thing. But there’s got to be more to it than that.
Some good points about wooden spoons:
- They’re nature’s antibacterial kitchen tool. Did you know that wooden cutting boards repel bacteria as well as plastic cutting boards?
- They’re the perfect tool for use in nonstick cookware since they won’t scratch
- They don’t heat up fast, so they’re great for stirring hot foods. They don’t heat up like metal and don’t melt like plastic
I know you’re not supposed to put wooden spoons in the dishwasher because the high temps can dry them out, but I do it. If you notice your wooden spoons getting cracked or splintered it’s time to replace them. Otherwise you’ll be working with tools that may have food particles lodged in those little crevices.
To keep wooden kitchen utensils in shape, consider a good rubdown with mineral oil or beeswax. Avoid food-based oils like olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, etc since those can get rancid and transfer bad flavors and even result in toxic compounds being created. Who wants that on their kitchen utensils?
Washing is best done with soap and scalding water or a weak bleach solution (not usually needed for regular home kitchen use) then patting the wooden spoons with a dry towel and letting them air dry before putting them away.
If you are using your spoon with raw meat, poultry or fish cleaning them thoroughly is extremely important, and you may want to risk the dishwasher to make sure you’ve really gotten the spoon clean.
But what about Bamboo Spoons?
OK, so I’m going to be honest. My truly favorite spoons are my slotted bamboo spoons. They’re easier to clean and seem to dry really fast, too. Most people agree that bamboo is environmentally friendly, eco-friendly, and sustainable without the use of pesticides. Cool!
Bamboo is also more durable than wood or plastic, is stain and odor resistant, and affordable. A simple wash with warm water, and a rub down with mineral oil or beeswax is all that’s needed to keep them clean. Simple, right? And bamboo is also biodegradable!
And most important of all, wooden spoons make you feel like you’re really cooking something good. They feel great, they look great, and there’s nothing like sipping a taste of pumpkin soup or chicken noodle soup from a wooden spoon on a winter day to make you feel warm and cozy.
“Sometimes the right set of wooden spoons are what separates a good kitchen from a great one.”NH Bowl & Board
Do you use wooden spoons in your kitchen?