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A high-quality charcuterie board is an investment. We have created this guide to wooden charcuterie board care to provide you with the knowledge of proper storage, use, care and maintenance. This way, your premium board can bring an added touch of elegance to family events and intimate gatherings for generations to come. We will provide simple tips that anyone can use to keep their boards in great condition.
Wood products have a memory. Trees are round, so the issues that tend to affect wood products involve the finished product attempting to return to a round state. Because the wood is trying to return to a round state, it can behave in strange ways. This diagram below shows the various different ways that wood will bend in its return to its natural state. The good news is, most of these issues can be prevented or corrected simply and easily. The tips and tricks for wooden charcuterie board care apply to all types of wood.
Storing your boards properly is the first step to preventing issues. Proper storage techniques will preserve the finish of the board and ensure proper moisture control. Both of these factors are crucial to making sure your board stays in perfect shape.
Storage Tip #1 – Avoid extreme temperatures. Make sure that the board is not stored in a location where it will be exposed to very high or low temperatures. Storing boards above the oven or in the drawer under the broiler can expose the board to heat that could dry the wood out, causing the cell structure to change. This could lead to warping or cracking of your board. Prevent these types of issues by finding a moderate temperature area of your home to store your boards. Doing so will help to prevent warping.
Storage Tip #2 – Stand boards up, whenever possible. Storing wooden charcuterie boards upright ensures that both sides of the board have access to air. Many warping issues are the result of uneven moisture, where one side of a board gets air, while the other side has moisture trapped. This can happen very easily if boards are stored laying down flat. If you must store boards laying down flat, place them in an area where you can be certain no water will accumulate. This way, you will know that both sides of the board remain dry between uses.
Using Your Board
As wooden charcuterie boards have become more popular, people have expanded the idea to include additional items beyond the traditional meat and cheese. Commonly referred to as ‘Grazing Boards’ or ‘Grazing Platters’, creative folks have filled their boards with almost every food item that you can imagine. If your board is properly sealed and contains no dangerous chemicals, there is no limit to the types of food you can include in your boards.
As you can see from the photographs above, we love to create beautiful boards that include all sorts of foods. This lovely and vibrant breakfast board had waffles, pancakes, eggs, and even bacon along side the ‘traditional’ cured meats, fruits and cheeses.
Usage Tip #1 – Only place materials on the board that you are sure will not stain or saturate the board. You can test this out with a small area to see if it will affect your board. Generally, avoid placing anything that is known for staining directly on the board. Instead, place the ingredients in a ramekin or small bowl.
Usage Tip #2 – Use a garnish to act as an extra layer of protection. As you can see in the pictures above, we have strategically placed an added layer of lettuce below many of the foods. Not only does the lettuce look lovely, it also keeps those pesky blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from staining the board should they leak juice.
Usage Tip #3 – Avoid letting food sit for too long. Allowing the food to rest on the board for too long can introduce moisture that the board will absorb. Extended periods of moisture may lead to warping. In addition, leaving food sit for too long can allow some of the pigment to stain the board. Stains are practically impossible to remove without refinishing the board, so prevention is the key. To avoid these types of issues, make sure you clear your board of food in a timely manner.
I am taking the time to separate wooden charcuterie board care and maintenance into two separate categories. Care will cover the basics of keeping the board looking its best and preventing issues. Maintenance will cover fixes and solves should issues arise with your board.
Caring for your boards is simple, easy, and cheap. And as with most things, prevention is the key. If you are going to be using your boards often, a small amount of effort on the front end can avoid additional work later on.
Care Tip #1 – Wipe your boards down with a damp cloth after each use. Wiping the board down will remove any residual food from the board. In addition, this cleaning time provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate the condition of your board. During this wipe-down, take note of any rough spots, dull coloration, or staining so that you can remedy those issues later.
Care Tip #2 – Reapply Food Grade Mineral Oil monthly. This is a simple and easy process that will keep your board looking great. Mineral oil is odorless and tasteless. It is also very inexpensive. In addition, it is very stable at most temperatures, which means you won’t need special storage for it. Lastly, it has anti-bacterial qualities.
Care Tip #3 – Reapply beeswax as needed. There is no set schedule for reapplication of beeswax. Depending on how often you use your board, your beeswax coating may wear more quickly. Should you notice that your board has lost its water-repellent properties, it is time to reapply.
Here we will cover a few simple and easy tricks to correct common issues that arise from regular use of charcuterie boards. Most of these solutions require simple hand tools, but nothing specialized or dangerous.
Maintenance Tip #1 – Keep a few pieces of sand paper handy. I won’t get into all of the details, but keeping P80, P120, and P240 sandpaper on hand will allow you to resolve any rough spots on your board. Start with P80 coarse grit and hand sand any raised parts. Remove sawdust with a vacuum or blow it off of the board. Then move in with P120 and refine the finish a bit more. Remove any sawdust from the board again. Lastly, finish off with P240 grit sandpaper to restore that silky finish. Clear off all sawdust and apply Food Grade Mineral Oil and beeswax.
Maintenance Tip #2 – Keep Superglue handy. This tip is only applicable to the non-food contact surfaces of your board. Superglue is not FDA approved for food contact, so please do not use Superglue on an area of your board that may come in contact with food. If your board develops cracks, splits, gouges, or other surface defects, a liberal portion of Superglue can help to provide stability to the wood and seal out bacteria. In addition, Superglue dries clear and is water-resistant, so it should hold up to regular use.
- Avoid extreme temperatures
- Stand boards up, whenever possible
- Only place materials on the board that you are sure will not stain or saturate the board
- Use a garnish to act as an extra layer of protection
- Avoid letting food sit for too long
- Wipe your boards down with a damp cloth after each use
- Reapply Food Grade Mineral Oil monthly
- Reapply beeswax as needed
- Keep a few pieces of sand paper handy
- Keep Superglue handy
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