Is wooden spoon safe to use?
How are wooden spoons used for?
A wooden spoon is a utensil commonly used in food preparation.
Today, wooden spoons in western cultures are generally medium to large spoons used for mixing ingredients for cooking or baking. They may be flat or have a small dip in the middle.
They are still used for stirring many different kinds of food and beverages, especially soups and casseroles during preparation, although they tend to absorb strong smells such as onion and garlic. Wooden spoons are generally preferred for cooking because of their versatility
Wooden spoons can be treated to protect from cold liquid absorption with coconut or mineral oil. Edible drying oils such as hempseed oil, walnut oil, and flax oil are used to create a more durable finish.
What is good about wooden spoon?
Wooden spoons are superior to other materials:
- They won’t scratch the finish off nonstick surfaces or leave scars on delicate copper pans. That’s especially important for dishes that require a lot of stirring, like caramel, risotto, and candies.
- They’re “warm.” Wooden spoons plopped into a high-temp candy or other temperature-sensitive recipe won’t “shock” the mixtures and cause immediate crystallization. They also aren’t conductive, which means they won’t draw heat out of the dish—and they won’t burn your hand.
- They’re firm enough to stir thick, viscous stews or batters, and they can hold up against the pressure of scraping browned bits off the the bottoms of pans.
- They’re heat resistant. They won’t melt in hot syrups or when rested against a hot pan or stove eye. That doesn’t mean they won’t burn, of course, but even wooden spoons with burned bits are useable. They also don’t release chemicals when used in hot dishes as some plastics can.
- They’re recipe safe. Some metal utensils can react with acidic foods, like tomato sauces and lemon curds. Wooden spoons will not affect the flavor of foods, and they’re unlikely to absorb flavors too.
Is wooden spoon safe?
Yes, wooden spoons are safe to use in your kitchen.
Wood is porous, and it may draw in liquids and oils from the food you’re cooking. However, those liquids—and any bacteria hiding in them—do not return to the surface once they’re wicked into the wood’s cells. Those bacteria also do not multiply and eventually die.
The best way to eliminate bacteria from the surface of a spoon—wooden or otherwise—is to wash it after cooking with soap and hot water. Anything on the outside of the spoon will be rinsed away.
If you want, you can also use a diluted bleach solution to disinfect your wooden spoons. Restaurants employ this step, plus a high-temp dishwasher cycle, to eliminate bacteria on the surface of these versatile utensils. At home, however, this isn’t really necessary unless you just prefer to go the extra mile.
That said, even great things come with some caveats: Wooden spoons are durable, but they can crack, especially if you use them repeatedly in extremely hot dishes or wash them in a dishwasher. The drying cycle is particularly dangerous to wooden spoons.
Food can get stuck in those cracks and crevices, which can lead to bacterial growth you can’t easily wash or clean away. If your spoons start to show these signs of damage, it’s better to pitch them and start new.