By Erin Huffstetler | 08/19/2016 | 10 Comments
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I’m pretty picky when it comes to wooden spoons, so when I find one that feels right in my hand, I try to take care of it. That goes double for my great grandmother’s wooden spoon. It brings back happy memories every time I use it.
So, I clean my wooden spoons with soap and water, just like you’d expect, but I also condition them. Because when you think about it, wooden spoons take a lot of abuse. They’re subjected to heat, plunged into all sorts of foods and then further submerged in water when you go to wash them. Pretty much everything you shouldn’t do to wood. All of that abuse leaves wooden spoons dried out and stained, and eventually causes them to split.
Whenever my wooden spoons start to feel dry, I apply some of my homemade wooden spoon butter. It’s a paste that I make from mineral oil and beeswax, and it’s just the thing to feed thirsty wood. I used to just use mineral oil, but the beeswax forms a protective coating that keeps water out and food stains at bay, so now I use the two in combination. My wooden spoon butter is food-safe and fragrance-free, and it brings out the natural beauty of the wood.
Want to make a batch so you can try it? Here are the instructions.
How to Make Wooden Spoon Butter
What You’ll Need
Beeswax (I prefer pellets because there’s no chopping required)
Food-grade mineral oil (look for it in the first aid section or with the stomach remedies)
Jars (wide-mouth jars work best)
A kitchen scale
A melting pot
This wooden spoon butter recipe can be scaled to make as much or as little as you’d like. Just stick to the ratio of five parts mineral oil to one part beeswax (by weight). I usually use 20 oz. of mineral oil and 4 oz of beeswax. That’s enough for (9) 4 oz jars or (4.5) 8 oz. jars. Enough to set some aside for gifts.
What You Do:
Measure out your mineral oil. All measurements are by weight, not volume.
Measure out your beeswax.
Combine the mineral oil and beeswax in your melting pot, and melt over medium/medium high heat in a double boiler. You can use any heat-safe container as your melting pot. It doesn’t have to be an official melting pot, like mine. And your double boiler doesn’t have to be fancy either. It can be your melting pot sitting inside a pot of water. You just don’t want to melt wax over direct heat. It’s flammable stuff, and should always be heated indirectly.
While you’re waiting for your wax to melt, prepare your jars. I stuck a piece of wax paper under my jars to catch spills.
Once the wax is melted, stir your wax and mineral oil, so that the two are well combined. Then, pour the mixture into your jars, and allow them to cool completely before using.
To use your wooden spoon butter, just scoop some out of the jar with your fingers, and rub it into your wooden spoons. Allow your spoons to sit overnight, so they have time to absorb the butter. Then, wipe off the excess in the morning.
Reapply your wood butter any time your spoons start to feel dry.
This wood butter can also be used to condition cutting boards, butcher blocks, rolling pins and wooden salad bowls, and it works well as a lotion, too.
A Word About the Ingredients
Some people don’t like to use mineral oil because it’s a man-made oil, but it’s the only oil you should consider applying to your wooden spoons because it won’t go rancid, like other oils. And it doesn’t pose an allergy risk for most people. I’ve seen wood butters made with walnut oil or other nut oils, and with all the nut allergies today, I just think it’s best to stick to a nut-free formula.
Want Me to Make You Some Wood Butter?