In our family’s efforts to slowly wean ourselves from plastics in the house that come in contact with our food , we’re gradually switching things over to alternative materials such as stainless steel, glass and bamboo. We’re not trying to completely abstain from plastic because we don’t feel it’s realistic for us, but trying to do what we can, where we can.
So we’ve switched most of our cutting boards to bamboo. I keep a few sizes because I have different cutting jobs, and really hate getting a big board dirty for just a small job. I still keep my big plastic cutting board for meat jobs since I’ve always had a separate board for raw meat. I can easily clean it with a mild bleach solution and put it into the dishwasher. But with bamboo boards, it takes just a little extra special care, yet it’s so easy!
Bamboo is a biodegradable, sustainable product, made from easily forested bamboo that does not require special handling to grow. It doesn’t require a lot of pesticides and herbicides for its upkeep, and is easily grown anywhere. It requires less to grow in terms of land, man power and harvesting, and is a great alternative in the kitchen to wood. It’s antimicrobial, as durable as any wood product, yet light weight. It does not stain, and is not supposed to get waterlogged, though, just like with wood, I don’t soak it. I also do not put it in the dishwasher. It’s safe even for non-stick pans, enamel, and stainless steel.
How to care for your bamboo:
- Clean with hot water and a little dishwashing soap immediately after use. (I prefer Dr. Bronner’s)
- If you find that your food has dried, just use a plastic scraper, dobie pad or other soft scraper to remove the food particles.
- Rinse immediately and dry.
- If you are using bamboo with raw meat materials, you can use a very mild bleach solution to help disinfect it after use, then clean with the above steps.
- Periodically, you need to oil your bamboo, just like your other wood products in your kitchen, with coconut oil or food-grade mineral oil. I don’t recommend food grade oils like olive or canola as they can become rancid if you don’t use your bamboo or wood products often. Food grade mineral oils is available in most grocery stores. Just use a soft cloth and wipe your boards and utensils periodically.
That’s it. I was hesitant for the longest time because I felt like wood would be scary in my kitchen, but if properly cared for, it will last a very long time!
Bamboo cutting utensils are available anywhere kitchen wares are sold. What’s been your latest find for your kitchen?
Here are my favorite bamboo products:
This is an 18×12 sized board that is just about perfect for my workspace and most jobs. It is think and lightweight. If I need to work on something difficult, I will place a damp kitchen towel beneath it to help keep it in place. But for most day-to-day cutting, it’s fine the way it is.
I am still on the search for bamboo spoons and spatulas that I love. The set I have now has a rough edge to the spoon and spatula edge, making it a pain when I clean as my kitchen towel always gets caught in it. I find that I only use the regular spoon and spatula as getting things out of the slotted areas or holes can be a pain. I’m still searching for the perfect wood utensils for my cooking, but these will do in the meantime.
Photo Credit: William Brawley