by Tricia Goss
Wooden spoons offer many benefits when used as preparation tools when cooking and baking. Wooden spoons are sturdy enough to mix even the thickest ingredients and yet gentle enough to avoid scraping your non-stick cookware. Wooden spoons have health benefits as well, since wood is naturally resistant to many types of bacteria. Before you use wooden spoons, you should season them according to the manner in which you intend to use them. This will help them last longer, repel odors and perform even better.
Clean your wooden spoons before you season them. Wash your wooden spoons with mild dish soap and warm water. Air-dry or towel-dry the wooden spoons until they are almost dry but still slightly damp.
Sand the wooden spoons. Use medium-grit sandpaper (between #80 and #60) to sand the spoons while they are still damp. Smooth down any splinters or rough edges you find in the wood. Making sure the wooden spoons are completely smooth before you season them will prevent food particles and liquids from collecting inside small crevices, causing harmful bacteria to grow.
Sanitize the wooden spoons before you season them. Mix one part white vinegar to five parts warm water in a dishpan, bowl or small pail and soak the wooden spoons in the mixture for several minutes. Rinse the spoons with warm water and allow them to dry completely. It may take two to three days for the spoons to completely dry.
Measure two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil into a small saucepan. If you plan to use your wooden spoons to cook savory foods, add 2 teaspoons of table salt to the oil. If you plan to use your wooden spoons for baking or sweet foods, measure 2 teaspoons of sugar into the oil. Stir the oil over low heat just until the salt or sugar dissolves. Allow the oil to cool slightly. (Omit the salt or sugar if you plan to use the wooden spoon for a variety of foods.)
Dip a paper towel into the oil mixture. Coat your wooden spoons with the oil and place them on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for two minutes. Remove the baking sheet and allow the spoons to cool completely before using them.
Rinse your seasoned spoons with warm water but not soap after using them.
In order to avoid bacterial contamination, you should re-season your wooden spoons any time they are used to touch raw meat or eggs, or if they are washed with soap.