InThe Baking Soda Companion (Countryman Press, 2018), Suzy Scherr offers her favorite baking soda secrets to make your everyday life a little brighter. With 75 recipes for cooking, beauty, cleaning, and more, Scherr combines the best baking soda tips into one comprehensive household guide. The following excerpt is her baking soda hack for cleaning cutting boards.
Allow me to assume that if you are reading this page, then you are like most people. Meaning, you are a person who owns at least one cutting board. If your cutting board is made of plastic, skip to the next page to read why you should consider using a wooden one; meanwhile go ahead and toss your plastic board in the dishwasher, because that’s the easiest way to clean it. Boom. Done. And by the way, please, please, pleeeeeease do not use a glass, metal, or marble cutting board. Why? First of all: the sound of a knife on glass. Eeeeeeek. But also, those surfaces are way too hard on your knife blade. We’re talking about a one- way ticket to Dullsville. If, however, you are the lucky owner of a wooden cutting board, then we need to chat about the complicated relationship you’re involved in. You see, to keep a wooden board in good working order, you’ve got to give it a little extra love and attention. To clean and sanitize it, you can’t just chuck it into the dishwasher. That’ll crack and warp your board. But you can easily keep your board beautiful and clean— just follow these easy steps.
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup kosher salt
• 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda
• 1 to 2 tablespoons water
• Mineral oil or another food- grade oil that isn’t prone to rancidity
To keep your board clean on a daily basis:
1. In the center of your board, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of kosher salt, depending on the size— bigger boards need more salt. Add enough lemon juice to make a paste.
2. Using a sponge or cloth, scour the board thoroughly, then rinse with clean water.
Once a week:
1. Pour between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of baking soda (again depending on the cutting board’s size) onto your still- damp cutting board. Add enough water to make a paste.
2. Using a sponge or cloth, scour the board thoroughly. You may find that odors are released from the board during this step. If it stinks, you’re doing good work!
3. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with cloth or paper towels. Allow to air dry completely.
Every couple of weeks or whenever your board starts to look dry or otherwise unhappy:
1. Using a clean, soft cloth or paper towel, apply the mineral oil in an even layer over the wood. Allow the oil to soak in for at least a few hours, ideally overnight.
2. Remove the excess oil by rubbing it with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.
Why Wood Wins
For everyday use, a wooden cutting board is the friendliest kind of cutting board you’ll find. Not only is it prettier and gentler on your knife blade than other materials, but wood is actually the safest material as far as food- borne bacteria goes. It turns out, plastic cutting boards retain bacteria in the nicks and scars left behind by your knife blade— even after scrubbing and washing in the dishwasher. Sure, wood retains food- borne bacteria, too, even after hand washing with soapy hot water, but the difference is that it absorbs the bacteria inside and holds it there, where it simply can’t multiply and eventually dies. Studies have found that, even when a cootie- ridden wooden cutting board is sliced open with a sharp knife, the bacteria don’t come out. Wood (somehow) kills them! Best. Cutting. Board. Ever.
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Reprinted with permission fromThe Baking Soda Companion (2018), by Suzy Scherr and published by Countryman Press.