Teflon, silicone, and random plastic-y kitchen gadgets…
They do nothing for me… Nothin’.
Give me a good cast iron skillet and a wooden spoon and I’ll be one happy gal.
Lately, I’ve been hunting antique stores when I’m in need of new kitchen tools. Potato mashers with worn wooden handles, tarnished silver serving spoons, vintage carbon steel knives with lots of patina, and bowls with chippy edges bring a bit of extra warmth to my homestead kitchen. They seem to carry a special energy with them, and as I stir, and mix, and mash, I can’t help but wonder who gripped the handles before I did and what sort of families they fed.
Back in my ultra-frugal newlywed days, I was all about the cheapest kitchen tools I could find. But not anymore. These days, I’d rather invest in high-quality tools that last, not Made in China non-stick pans that scratch and warp after a few uses and plastic spoons that snap under a load. I’m not a fan of our culture’s throwaway mentality so I’m happy to pay more for quality items that will last a lifetime. My kitchen holds my cherished wooden spoons from Old World Kitchen, a stack of wooden cutting boards I’ve grabbed on sale here and there, chipped enamel bowls from the antique stores, and my battle-worn cast iron skillets hanging proudly on the wall, just to name a few.
Tools like cast iron, stoneware, copper, and wood get better with age. Heritage-style tools generally require minimal care, and with just a bit of consideration, they can be enjoyed by generations and avoid the landfill like their cheap-o counterparts. And hey– here’s a fun fact: although I’ve used wooden cutting boards for years, I always assumed they were less safe than plastic boards. However, I recently stumbled across a research study at UC Davis confirming the exact opposite.
The study showed that plastic boards tend to hold onto bacteria more stubbornly than their wooden counterparts, especially once they become scarred with knife cuts. Safe to say, I feel incredibly validated in my wooden cutting board choice. Take that, plastic.
Anyway, wooden kitchen tools don’t require much TLC, but they do appreciate a bit of moisturizing every now and then in the form of oil or spoon butter.
What is Spoon Butter?
Spoon or wood butter (also known as cutting board cream) is simply a mixture of oil and beeswax. It’s not something you eat, but rather use to moisturize and protect your wooden boards, spoons, and handles. (Have you noticed anything butter-related is always a good thing? There’s sweet cream butter, and whipped body butter, and now spoon butter… Hmmm…) Applying wood butter or cream to your kitchen untensils will prolong their lifespan and prevent cracking and splitting.
DIY Spoon Butter Ingredients
Many folks make their spoon butters and wood creams with mineral oil, but I’ve never been a fan of that stuff, so I opt for unrefined coconut oil instead. Walnut oil is another option, just be sure to skip things like olive oil or vegetable oil, since they have a tendency to go rancid. (And you really don’t want rancid spoons.)
I’m a fan of the little beeswax pellets or pastilles for many of my DIY recipes (they melt more quickly), but you can use chopped beeswax if that’s all you have. The measurements don’t have to be super-exact.
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Homemade Spoon Butter Recipe
You Will Need:
- 2 tablespoons beeswax pellets
- 6 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
Place the beeswax and coconut in a small glass jar and place the jar in a small saucepan filled 1/3 of the way with water.
Set on a burner over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until the beeswax is completely melted.
Let the mixture cool, then apply a generous layer to your wooden spoons, cutting boards, and any utensils with unpainted wooden handles. Rub the spoon butter into the wood and let it sit for several hours or overnight to give it a chance to soak in.
Repeat the process whenever your wooden spoons, utensils, or boards are looking dull and dry.
Your homemade spoon butter should keep for at least 4 months, if you don’t use it all before then!