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End Grain Cutting Boards disinfection

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If you are interested in saving your board usability we recommend you to treat the board with mineral oil. This procedure is advised to prevent mold, growth of bacteria and odor absorbing. We do warn you – use only mineral oil but vegetable one due to its rancidification.
To treat the board with oil just pour and rub it on all surfaces with soft cloth. Please, do not be afraid of overflowing – wood cannot soak up more oil than it able to soak up. Then dry the exessess with cloth.

It is possible to improve the board with adding beeswax on oil. The beeswax for a long time is used to make wood smooth, soft, waterproofing and more durable.
To get a composition take 4 parts of oil and 1 part of beeswax.

There is two ways to mix ingredients:

- Heat the oil in bain marie then add beeswax chips
- Put the mixture in the microwave to 30-45 sec

Then rub up the mix.

Unlike with pure oil, cooling it fills in each pore and split, achieving smooth, firm and durable surface that yield to polishing with cloth.

Making a point – the composition could be heated and used as effective as before.

It is necessary to treat with oil (or mixture) the board at least 3 times with 5-6 hour interval – the oil should soak in. The treating procedure is recommended to repeat monthly.
Let’s get acquainted with another ways of care:

  1. Vinegar - strong white vinegar can be used to disinfect your cutting board keeping it free of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus. It is mostly advised to people with chemical allergy.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide – use 3 percent solution to rub the board after treating it with vinegar.
  3. Bleach – if you need to disinfect the wood cutting board you can do so by mixing a diluted bleach solution. Prepare a mixture of 1 litre of water and one cup bleach. Wipe the cutting surface down with your bleach solution then rinse off.  Immediately wipe the board off and set it upright to dry. Any bacteria will not survive in dryness.
  4. Salt and Backing Soda - spread Salt or Baking Soda over the cutting surface of the board. Allow it to stand on the board to a couple of minutes before brushing off and rinsing.
  5. Lemon juice – rub the board with the juice. In a few minutes wipe, wash and rub the board with dry cloth. This way neutralizes strong odors like onion, garlic, fish etc.

Stability of wood

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Shrinkage and swelling happens under moisture changes.

Shrinkage is the process of reducing the size and volume of the wood due to reduced amount of water in it. Shrinkage of wood caused by content of water in the dry air, and there is process of returning to the environment of the adsorbed water from the cell walls of the wood. Thickness and size of the cell walls reduce because of disappearance of the absorbed water. Excessive shrinkage of the board may be the cause of the occurrence of cracks; shrinkage of a one side may be the reason of bending the cutting board.

Swelling is the process of increasing in size and in volume of wood due to increasing water in the wood, which depends on content of water in moist air or water.

We use 8% moisture level wood in End Grain Cutting boards manufacturing.  Under air moisture increasing wood moisture increase too, and swelling occurs; shrinkage occurs under moisture reducing. Different wood species react differently to moisture changes.

Averages changes of wood characteristics when the wood moisture from 8 to 9% and vice versa

Wood species

Averages changes of wood characteristics, %

Walnut

0,20

Ash

0,22

Birch

0,24

Oak

0,25

Maple

0,30

Beech

0,32

 

Wood moisture changes are less than air moisture changes.

The table below shows that, for example, when moisture changes from 50 to 40% at a temperature of 20 ° C (68 ° F), wood moisture reduction is 1.5%. Temperature has a much lower impact on the wood moisture. For example, increase in temperature from 20 ° C (68 ° F), to 30 ° C (86 ° F) at a relative moisture 50%, reduce the total moisture content of 0.4%.

 

The change in the wood moisture content in %, depending on the climatic conditions according to Calvert (the numbers in the table indicate the wood moisture content)

Atmosphere relative

Temperature

 humidity %

10°C (50°F)

15°C (59°F)

20°C (68°F)

25°C (77°F)

30°C (86°F)

35°C (95°F)

40°C (104°F)

90

21,1

21,0

21,0

20,8

20,0

19,8

19,3

85

18,1

18,0

18,0

17,9

17,5

17,1

16,9

80

16,2

16,0

16,0

15,8

15,5

15,1

14,9

75

14,7

14,5

14,3

14,0

13,9

13,5

13,2

70

13,2

13,1

13,0

12,8

12,4

12,1

11,8

65

12,0

12,0

11,8

11,5

11,2

11,0

10,7

60

11,0

10,9

10,8

10,5

10,3

10,0

9,7

55

10,1

10,0

9,9

9,7

9,4

9,1

8,8

50

9,4

9,2

9,0

8,9

8,6

8,4

8,0

45

8,6

8,4

8,3

8,1

7,9

7,5

7,1

40

7,8

7,7

7,5

7,3

7,0

6,6

6,3

 

35

7,0

6,9

6,7

6,4

6,2

5,8

5,5

30

6,2

6,1

5,9

5,6

5,3

5,0

4,7

25

5,4

5,3

5,0

4,8

4,5

4,2

3,8

When it is necessary to treat the board with mineral oil

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Time for next treatment of a board depends on many factors, but the main thing is moisture variations in the room. A board can stay untreated for months under small variations of moisture and nothing will happen. However, in wintertime heating season starts and air moisture greatly decrease. At this time, it is necessary to treat board with oil more often. There is no strict rule how often you should do it. Nevertheless, we can give you few advices.

- A board becomes noticeably brighter;

- Light spots starts to appear in some places of a board;

- To the touch board becomes “dry” and rough

- On the side face of a board microcracks appeared, which are invisible, but you can feel them with fingers;

- Water or liquid products does not stay on the surface of the board (as it should be), but it is absorbed inside the board.

All the signs are that it is time to good treatment of cutting board with mineral oil.

Cutting Boards Recomendations

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Most professional cooks use End Grain Cutting boards. Why? There are several reasons:

 

  1. The end surface of the wood is more firm and long-lived. Hardness of end surface is almost one and half times higher than hardness of side surface. For example, end grain hardness is 622 kgf/sm2; edge grain hardness is 521 kgf/sm2, face grain hardness is 463 kgf/sm2.
  2. When you use the End Grain Cutting board, knives stay sharp longer and need to sharpen rarer. Wood grains are perpendicular to a cutting face, and the blade of the knife as it move apart the grains. When you use an edge grain board, a knife just cut through grains, which leads to fast dulling of a knife. It is very important for professional cookers who have to sharpen knives several times every day.
  3. It is clear when you use a board many times, grains are cut through in several places and tiny piece of wood get in food. That is why all the ordinary boards are noticeably "cut through" in the center. However, a human stomach is not adapted to the digestion of cellulose.
  4. The End Grain Cutting Board less subject bacterial contamination, because after cutting grains "close" and oil coating protects against bacterial penetration inside the grains. Grains are cut through in an outer board and bacteria get inside the grains without problems. In general, wood boards are more hygienic than plastic or glass.

 Let us show you the difference – here we slashed a common board and end grain one using the same knife and putting the same effort. Then we treated the board with oil and got some macro-photos from one and the same distance and shooting angle.

Image 1. Cuts at an oak face grain cutting board

As you see a sharp knife made deep cuts in wood. Wood grains are completely cut up and in later use it will fall.

Image 2. Oak end grain cutting board

Cuts are still evident but less distinct because the knife doesn’t cut up grains passing over by them.

Then we treated each board with mineral oil.

Image 3. Oak face grain cutting board treated with oil

Image 3. Oak face grain cutting board treated with oil

After oil treating procedure cuts become more distinct than before treating. Cutted grains was oiled that made wood darker.

Image 4. Oak end grain cutting board treated with oil

Image 4. Oak end grain cutting board treated with oil

Here the cuts are almost imperceptible, because in this case a knife doesn’t cut the grains across but make cuts from the end of the grain. It oiled to a few millimeters deep whereas on face and edge grain cutting boards are covered with a thin oilslick that doesn’t permeate the wood. Grain is swelling and closing due to oil treating guarantees board’s hygiene and saves its unique layout.

The boards are made from high quality wood where moisture content is less than 8%. We use mainly hard wood like an oak, an ash, a walnut, a horn beech, a maple, a birch and small amounts of hard African and American wood species like padauk, sapele, makore, mahogany, amaranth, zebrano. We can make Pine End Grain Cutting Boards, but these boards are quite soft (a hardness of pine end surface is 2 times less than harness of oak) and it is better to use it with dry foodstuff like bread, cheese, etc.

The boards are treated by food grade mineral oil to prolong service life, to protect against bacteria and to make beautiful appearance of a board. Mineral oil is tasteless and odorless. We use analog of medical mineral oil – the liquid paraffin intended for ingestion. You can buy it in a pharmacy. Sunflower, olive, and other food grade oils cannot be used for treatment, because after a while they become bitter and will transmit this taste to foodstuff. Linseed oil is the only exception, but even it is worse than mineral oil.