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Thread: Mineral oil for cutting boards

  1. #1
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    Question Mineral oil for cutting boards

    DBF has a fancy-pants new maple cutting board and I've admonished him to keep it oiled. What's the difference between pure mineral oil from the supermarket and the stuff sold in kitchenwares stores or labeled "butcher block oil" etc.? Is it just marketing?
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

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    The only thing that I pay attention to is if it's "food grade" or not -- safe to use on wood/bamboo that comes in contact with food. I've not seen mineral oil in the supermarket so I can't say how that compares with something labeled butcher block oil, but I buy mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and it's not expensive and is labeled as mineral oil. Perhaps the butcher block oil has other things in it? I could see a company adding citrus oil or something to make it "fancier."
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  3. #3
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    Mineral oil is sold as a laxative, so food grade would be a given. If what BBB sells is pure mineral oil, than I guess it's the same as the drug store variety. Thanks.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. #4
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    It's simply marketing. I just use the cheapo stuff form the drug store.
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    I use the cheap stuff to on mine. I've never had any problems.
    Stay-at-home mom scratch cooking for a child with a severe peanut and mustard allergy.

  6. #6
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    cheap drugstore stuff here as well.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    Mineral oil is sold as a laxative, so food grade would be a given. If what BBB sells is pure mineral oil, than I guess it's the same as the drug store variety. Thanks.
    Yup. I buy the cheapo stuff at Target, in the pharmacy aisle.

    And isn't it fun to buy a quart of laxative mineral oil? I had to buy mineral oil for my big cutting board on the same trip where I was buying toilet paper. Ummm; not a great idea. Felt like I wanted to explain "the oil's not for me."
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

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    Quote Originally Posted by testkitchen45 View Post
    Yup. I buy the cheapo stuff at Target, in the pharmacy aisle.

    And isn't it fun to buy a quart of laxative mineral oil? I had to buy mineral oil for my big cutting board on the same trip where I was buying toilet paper. Ummm; not a great idea. Felt like I wanted to explain "the oil's not for me."
    Drat! 6:30PM and just had my first laugh-out-loud of the day! Ooooh, that was funny!!
    I use mineral oil as eye-makeup remover; the thought of swallowing that stuff is truly sickening!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  9. #9
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    How often do you all oil your cutting boards? I've almost never oiled a board, am I not taking care of them right?
    ~~Life is a combination of magic and pasta. ~~ Federico Fellini

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randi R View Post
    How often do you all oil your cutting boards? I've almost never oiled a board, am I not taking care of them right?
    I rarely bother--I think it mostly depends on how distraught you will be if they die. For example, my parents have an extremely expensive butcher block--I would oil that. But given that I can replace my bamboo boards from Costco pretty easily it is not worth my time or effort. Also I rarely put them through the DW or use them harshly because I found that I could not get smells out of them to my satisfaction (we use a looooooot of garlic and onions) so I use plastic for aromatics anyway. So I don't exactly use my wooden boards very harshly. Cleaning after slicing bar cookies is not exactly tough on the wood.

    And FWIW I have been known to just use some olive oil.
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  11. #11
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    I think it depends, Randi. The short answer is Yes, if you're not oiling a wood cutting board you're not taking care of it. But as Laura says, it depends how attached you are to the board/how much it cost/how much you care. I have an old one I never oil, and while it's not a thing of beauty, it's fine and has lasted a long time.
    DBF's previous board was a fairly expensive one ($80?) and it lasted about a year and a half before falling apart. The thing looked PARCHED. It was his primary or only board and got washed regularly with hot soapy water - it really needed a "moisturizer". I so know the feeling.
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  12. #12
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    Good timing, I was shopping today for mineral oil and did not find any at Walmart or Winners. Will try the drug store.
    Helene

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  13. #13
    Apparently I have been one to severely neglect my wooden cutting boards, as I will admit, I have never oiled one. For the last few years I have been using glass and granite boards solely. But that seems to take a toll on the knives, so I am looking at a bamboo board...

    Interesting topic as I have another amateur chef friend whom uses nothing but bamboo and has been trying to convince me to get one. He does in fact treat it with mineral oil (from a hobby store). Not sure of the brand but he has a whole gallon jug and always has had it from what I recall.

    One thing Geoff does is heat the mineral oil slightly and then "paints" it on with a small paint brush.

    So does anyone else treat your bamboo board with warm (or any) oil. I only need a tiny poke to convince me to get another one (wood) and this time bamboo... Give me a tiny reason to. Thanks

    FoodTVFan

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    Quote Originally Posted by FoodTVFan View Post
    So does anyone else treat your bamboo board with warm (or any) oil. I only need a tiny poke to convince me to get another one (wood) and this time bamboo... Give me a tiny reason to. Thanks

    FoodTVFan
    OK; here's your reason. If you want a board that's big enough for a 14-pound brisket or a 26-pound turkey, with a decent juice groove, you'll probably have to buy a wooden one--and it'll cost enough that you'll want to oil it periodically. Does that help? We on the BB are always eager to egg each other on to new purchases . . .

    I have several Architec nonskid plastic 14x10 boards in various colors for everyday use, though. They go into the d/w. I wouldn't want wood for every day, but that's just me.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  15. #15
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    For years I had the greatest wooden chopping board. My husband took it off a dishwaher and rounded all the corners....it was probably maple and was wonderful. Decades later it began to split and my subsequent wooden boards each lasted only a couple of years.

    I purchased a bamboo board a year ago and I love using it...such a smooth slice. I am babying this one even though it wasn't overly expensive. I do use mineral oil regularily, but do not warm it because I never saw that in my research. I will look further into that.

    I also have a few plastic boards that I use for raw chicken and then I throw them in the dishwasher.

  16. #16
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    canice I'm convinced. We have a drawerful of junk cutting boards that I can't see wasting time on, but we do have a really nice bamboo one that I'd not like to see get ruined, so I'm off to get mineral oil!!
    ~~Life is a combination of magic and pasta. ~~ Federico Fellini

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