Wooden spoons have long been popular in the kitchen (maybe because they can double as a switch in a pinch) but you have to take care of yours or they will become dried out and crack, especially if they are washed in the dishwasher.
Wooden spoons naturally repel bacteria, are sturdy enough for any kitchen job, and yet won’t scratch your non-stick cookware. Seasoning your spoons before using helps ensure the utensil’s longevity.
Prepare to be Prepared
After removing your spoons from the package, wash them with soap and water and air dry until spoons are just slightly damp. Before seasoning, sand, using medium-grit sandpaper, removing any rough or uneven spots, ensuring that the spoons are as smooth as possible.
Next sanitize spoons prior to putting them into service to know you will be starting right. In a pot or tall plastic cup, mixing white vinegar with water 1:5 then immerse the spoon (or spoons) completely, and soak for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water and laying out to dry completely, which can take several days. It’s worth the work.
Segregate the Savory and the Sweet
Depending on the type of foods you will be using your spoon for — savory or sweet – dictates the seasoning method. Spoons for savory foods will be seasoned with salt while spoons designated for sweet foods will get seasoned with sugar.
Place two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil in a saucepan, adding two tablespoons of salt for savory or two tablespoons of sugar for sweet. Over a low heat, stir the oil just until the salt or sugar is dissolved and cool slightly. If you will be using your spoons for whatever comes your way, just leave out the salt and sugar.
Using a paper towel, coat the spoon or spoons with oil then place in a 350-degree oven for two minutes; remove the spoons from the oven and allow to cool completely.
An interesting note: do not wash with soap or use wooden spoons on raw eggs or meat, but, if you do, re-season to eliminate any suds or bacteria. For general cleaning simply rinse in warm water and/or use a clean scrub brush, similar to cleaning your cast iron pans.
If you are attached to your wooden spoons, as I am, seasoning and proper care mean you can expect them to endure for decades of faithful use. Another option for oiling up your wooden spoons is to spread on a generous layer of food-grade mineral oil, rub it in with a cloth and repeat until fully penetrated. This works with cutting boards also.
There is some speculation regarding using mineral oil rather than other kinds of cooking oil. Some experts say olive and other oils, including coconut may go bad whereas mineral oil will not. The jury is divided 50/50 on this issue, so you decide which to use. In my opinion, if you use mineral oil then you are not rolling the dice and may find out the hard way that the critics were right.