The butterboard craze is up and running. If this tasty practice hasn’t hit your TikTok feed yet, it’s pretty simple: people smear softened butter on cutting boards, topping that butter with herbs, flaky salt, honey, jam, and citrus zest, and serving it with toasted bread or crackers. Improved butter is nothing new, but this viral TikTok butterboard trend makes for a more photogenic take on the classic appetizer spread.
@cakeshak Butterboard meets Cheeseboard #fyp#foryoupage#foryou#butterboards#foodtok#butter#butterboard#cakeshak#charcuterieboard♬ CUFF IT – Beyoncé
No, a butter board isn’t likely to ruin your wooden cutting board, and honestly, I’m behind the social media phenomenon — certainly more than where cooking takes place(Please don’t do that.) But if you’re making a lot of buttering boards this fall, you’ll want to make sure you give your log or cutting board a thorough and proper clean after each use.
The good news is that it’s quick and easy to clean your favorite ash or maple cutting board and keep it in good condition, even if it’s regularly coated in oily butter and other toppings. Below is a guide to taking care of your best wooden blocks and boards so they last longer and look nicer.
Wooden or plastic cutting boards: which is better?
A lively conversation about plastic versus wooden cutting boards is not new, and there are valid arguments for both. Plastic panels are cheaper, lighter, and require almost no maintenance, but the case for wood is stronger if you ask me. For one thing, wooden boards are more hygienic. As early as 1993, a microbiologist discovered that wooden boards actually kill bacteria better than plastic. Further studies indicate that this may be because plastic panels are more susceptible to knife cuts, which serve as tiny homes for bacterial growth.
Apart from hygienic reasons, wooden panels are simply more beautiful to look at. I love watching them age over time and they do double duty as vessels for serving cheese and appetizers. Plastic cutting boards can also dull your knives faster, especially if you don’t sharpen the blades regularly.
I have a few of both types in my kitchen but am interested in my wooden cutting boards. While they inevitably age, they can and should last for decades if you care for them properly.
Wash and dry your wooden cutting board well
Like any cookware that comes into contact with food, your cutting board needs to be washed after use especially when saturated in butter. However, never clean it in the dishwasher or submerge it in the sink. That much water penetrates deep into the wood and makes it harder to dry. When water is trapped in a plank of wood or sits on it for an extended period of time, it’s the quickest way to mold or split it. Just scrape it as clean as possible with a plastic spatula and gently scrub with a sponge, warm water and some soap.
Next comes the important part. dry it instantly with a rag. Wipe it down until there is no visible moisture on the surface and it is dry to the touch. Try not to stuff it back in the closet either, as it’ll likely be pressing against the other boards and won’t dry as quickly or as completely.
Let it air dry on its side
This is the step that I suspect doomed my aforementioned cutting board. After you have washed and hand dried your board, it should be laid on its side, exposing both sides of the board to allow it to air dry the rest of the way.
If you wash your board and need more cutting, only wash the top and leave that side up to complete your prep. Even about 45 minutes with a wet board down can begin to damage the integrity of the wood.
Treat your board with mineral oil several times a month
Keeping a bottle of mineral oil on hand and using it a few times a month is another way to extend the life of your best boards. To treat your wooden cutting board, use a dry, clean rag and rub in enough oil to coat the board’s surface on all sides (not just the top and bottom).
Lay it on its side (just like drying) and let it sit for an hour. If it’s a new board or seems particularly dry, repeat after an hour with a second coat. And if it’s a particularly thick cutting board or butcher block, use at least two coats and rub vigorously to get the oil into the center.
I useas it is not very expensive and works well. In addition to your cutting boards, mineral oil can also be used to treat other woods in your kitchen and home, including spoons and spatulas, desks, dressers, crown molding, and floors.
Don’t use olive oil to treat a cutting board
You might think that any natural oil would do to treat a wooden plank. You are wrong. Cooking oils spoil and can cause bacteria and rot on or in the wood.
Lemon juice and salt to remove odors
Sometimes wooden boards smell like spicy foods, including garlic and onions. While these odors will likely dissipate eventually, they may permeate other foods in the meantime. To clean a smelly board, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the cutting board. Coat the board with kosher salt and rub vigorously to incorporate. Let sit for about an hour until the salt dries, then scrape off with a spatula or sturdy flat-ended metal spatula.
The best wood for cutting boards
Some woods are harder than others. While hardwoods like oak and olive last a little longer, they do more damage to your knife blades. Maple, beech, and acacia are popular woods for cutting boards. Bamboo – technically a tough grass – is different, as it’s tough, cheap to produce, and more environmentally friendly (renewable) than other woods.
A few cutting boards that I like
This is an excellent basic cutting board. Maple is tough enough to last for years if you care for it, yet light enough to handle with ease.
Camphor is a harder wood with beautiful grains, making this wood a favorite for serving food. Camphor also has aromatic oils that give it a nice natural smell.
This stately 20-inch acacia chopping board is lighter than it looks. The cut out wells are perfect for housing chopped ingredients as you move through recipe prep.
If you’re looking for a real showstopper out of a board and chopping block, set your eyes on the Stella Falone. It is made from West African ebony; the same wood that Taylor guitars are made of. In a spirit of leaving the earth better than they found it, founder Bob Taylor and his team have planted over 15,000 ebony trees in West Africa since 2016 – far more than they used to make guitars and cutting boards.