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Any tips for seasoning wooden spoons? I found a couple different methods on the web but they vary quite a bit. What I've done so far is to sand the new spoons starting with 280, then 320, and finally 1000 grit sandpaper. Then I put it in water to raise the grain and sanded some more with 1000 grit. I repeated the last step 4 times and the spoon is nice and smooth. Is there a final step to season the spoon?

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I have never seasoned a spoon. Nor do I know anyone who has. –  hobodave Mar 27 '11 at 21:49
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I imagine you'll end up with a really nice spoon, you could probably eat with it without getting splinters. –  uncle brad Mar 28 '11 at 0:18

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I cannot imagine that sanding and buffing a wooden spoon would have any useful culinary applications, although I suppose it might feel smoother to the touch.

Generally when you season something wooden for food preparation, the purpose is to create a protective layer to avoid warping or impregnation.

If I really wanted to season a spoon, I would season it the same way as a wooden cutting board: Use a food-grade mineral oil and rub it in thoroughly with a cloth or paper towel, then repeat as necessary after it is dry.

Like hobodave, however, I have never done this nor heard of it being done. The cost of a wooden spoon is probably less than the cost of the mineral oil you'd need to season one. If your spoon starts to warp or take on strange odours, just buy a new one.

N.B. I can think of one exception, which is if the spoon takes on a fuzzy texture when you get it wet. In that case, sanding it would be done in the context of raising the grain. But once again, it's extremely rare that you'd need to do this with a cooking utensil - this is a far more common requirement for homemade (i.e. DIY) wood products.

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Why a mineral oil? Surely a vegetable oil would be more appropriate like flaxseed oil (linseed oil - a traditional wood rubbing oil in Europe etc) –  TFD Mar 28 '11 at 0:09
    
@TFD - Linseed won't go rancid. –  uncle brad Mar 28 '11 at 0:16
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@TFD: You have to be careful with linseed - if it's the boiled type then it's actually toxic. But any food-grade oil that won't go rancid is fine. The key phrase here is food-grade. –  Aaronut Mar 28 '11 at 1:39
    
Warp? They still work fine for stirring when they're warped ... it's cracked that you have to be careful with, as you can't clean out the crack. If it's a wooden spatula, you can cut it down, but that's about it. –  Joe Mar 28 '11 at 2:29
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@Joe: You're technically correct. Semantics - cracking is usually preceded by warping. Besides, a warped spoon can still stir but it might not do a very good job of actually holding anything, if that's what you need it for. –  Aaronut Mar 28 '11 at 23:26

As just an old Arkansas hillbilly that likes wooden products I've been making cook spoons and dishes/platters. I have used Walnut, Pecan, Hickory, and Cherry so far. I have found that the fruit woods have alot less "fuzzing" after washing but all need periodic attention. I've used bacon grease, olive oil, cooking oil, peanut oil and they all work about the same. I havn't tried the heating your oil approach (except for the bacon grease-more of a viscosity thing for me) The maintenance of your spoons and dishes is a labor of love for those who actually make the items...kind of the same reward a hunter gets from cleaning his/her guns.

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I am in favor myself of using a flaxseed oil to season the wood for a few reasons, 1) it is food safe 2) It is actually food 3) it is the ONLY edible drying oil that I am aware of (i.e. an oil that will dry out on its own when exposed to air.) and when I have used it on cast iron it IS TOUGH! It can take an accidental cycle in the dishwasher after it has a few layers! (Though I dont recommend it. Why start ALL OVER again?)

I am trying heating it to accelerate its drying effects as done on cast iron. 1 problem though. It thins on heating so all of the seasoning done thus far comes dripping out. I unfortunately have neither the right size container to hold at least 1/2 of the spoon or enough flaxseed oil to do it that way nor something heat proof up to 500-550 degrees. (which is the temperature for cast iron). If I did though I would surely do it. Flaxseeds durability has EASILY outperformed anything I have seen thus far.

Bon Appetit,

Tim Danielson

P.S. I just tried this. I found that at about 525-550 the wood I had (cherry wood) started to get burn marks (only in the areas where it contacted the pan). I found something that showed it could have been lowered to 450. I Since flaxseed apparently polymerizes at 450, I would try that. I heated it, pre seasoned on a cookie sheet, to 550. I believe 450-500 would be a better range than what I did and would have similar results.

"re: DougRisk

I think the basic premise is that by that temperature (and more so by the 450-500 deg temps called for in this seasoning process) any flaxseed oil is polymerized to an extent that it cannot go rancid.

When I tried out the method initially under Canter's instructions, I certainly didn't notice any rancid taste or smell. The problem was just that the seasoning was too slow to build and didn't form an especially great non-stick surface even after 7 coatings.

Permalink | Reply By cowboyardee on Sep 14, 2011 07:49 AM" @ http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807107

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Oh this is an FYI, this oil has been used for centuries by artists. To an oil painter they would refer to it as Linseed Oil! (I dont advise using linseed as it is not processed to the same food standards as the edible version, Flaxseed.) –  Tim Danielson Jun 8 '12 at 20:42

I seasoned a set of wooden utensils that I bought rough. Here's what I did:

  • Sand with progressively finer grits up to about 1000 grit
  • Wash VERY well to remove sawdust
  • Melt paraffin wax in a double boiler and repeatedly soak in the wax, allow wax to drip off and utensil to cool, and then soak again

Eventually this built up a nice layer of food-grade paraffin embedded into the utensils, which made them repel water and stains MUCH more effectively. Unfortunately, I much must confess that it would have been cheaper in time and money just to buy a set of properly finished utensils.

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Skip the mineral oil (petroleum product) and use something more culinary, like olive, coconut, flax seed, or beeswax (you need a heat gun or oven to force beeswax into the wood).

Olive oil go rancid? Sure. But it is safe and it doesn't smell impregnated in the wood. Not significantly, and it won't "off flavor" anything.

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Food grade mineral oils are especially sold for that, they are non toxic and they do not go rancid. –  nico Mar 13 '12 at 20:16

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