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I'm new to the cooking industry - yay for new pads - and I have a question about oiling wooden utensils (or wooden handles on pots, for that matter).

The instructions state these should be oiled and I found this handy link here: Olive wood cooking utensils: Seasoning, care, and maintenance?, but sadly, I'd already oiled them with olive oil. Oops.

My questions so far are;

1) Is this going to be an issue in the future or can I just apply mineral oil when I have it and blissfully ignore my previous mistake?

2) The instructions (that came with the pots) also state that I should oil the wood, let it sit for 24 hours and then oil it again. The time between my oiling sessions exceeds 24 hours. Is this an issue?

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  • Use "Food Grade" mineral oil. Many cooking oils will go rancid. Answer to (1)ignore previous mistake. (2)seasoning exceeding 24 hours is not an issue. Seasoning a pot or pan cooking surface uses cooking oils, wood handles should not need seasoning. Jan 10, 2015 at 17:24
  • If you have any kinds of insects in your home, they will be very attracted to your "oiled" items. If you do at times, be sure to store them in those tall, impact-resistant, air-tight, see-through canisters like they sell at Walmart; or at Least, store them in Ziploc type bags.
    – WestieJ
    Mar 22, 2015 at 4:45
  • @WestieJ I don't think that's really an issue with mineral oil. While it's food-safe, it's not food.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 22, 2015 at 5:29

2 Answers 2

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Olive oil tends to go rancid; as do most other "food oils" - [walnut oil is a "drying" oil" (and as such won't go rancid) but if you are "in the industry" it's one more possible source of an allergen (tree nuts) that you don't want in a professional kitchen (where you'd think - no tree nuts in this dish) - does work fine at home if that's not a concern.]

Scrubbing the handles down with a baking soda paste should tend to saponify (turn to soap) most of the olive oil. Or send them though the dish machine a few times, and otherwise scrub, soap, degrease; then rinse well, dry and re-oil.

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  • Even if the oil turns rancid with time, I don't see a problem with that. People tolerate well and even enjoy rancid smell in miniscule amounts, especially butyric acid smell, that's how "butter" toast and other foods are made. After you wash the board, the amount of oil left on it is not enough to produce the concentration of rancid smell which would be unpleasant.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 22, 2015 at 17:02
  • I have used "rancid oil wooden utensils" - I did not enjoy the experience, the smell of being near them or on my hands after handling them, or the flavor brought to things blessed by their contact - YMMV. "No salad oil on wood" has worked for me ever since.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 22, 2015 at 17:10
  • Thanks, Ecnerwal! I've tried this, and while my wood handles are still a darker colour than when I first purchased them - and a little burnt, I may have had them too close to the fire a few times.. - I've treated them and I am now in the process of keeping my fingers crossed, especially with the warmer weather ahead. :)
    – spoorlezer
    May 19, 2015 at 18:00
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I think the only mistake you've made is to use a more expensive oil than required!

The 24 hours is a minimum, so the answer to 2) is "no".

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  • ...and that olive oil could change the colour of the wood.
    – Stephie
    Jan 10, 2015 at 16:42
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    ... or that olive oil could go rancid.
    – Joe
    Jan 11, 2015 at 0:49
  • That is what worries me specifically, Joe. If it can go rancid, will simply 'painting over it' prevent this from happening or have I possibly ruined the material now?
    – spoorlezer
    Jan 12, 2015 at 11:45
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    I would imagine if you washed the handle a few dozen times with a mild soap, it would remove most of the oil. Basically simulate a month or two of cleaning in a day or two. Once it feels dry again, re-oil it with something that doesn't go rancid.
    – JSM
    Jan 16, 2015 at 23:42

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