The Nifty Wooden Spoon & A Little TLC Will Go A Long Way

Wooden spoons have been an essential tool utilized around hearth and home for centuries. Even today they can still be found in nearly every kitchen…but did you know they can thrive for decades with just a little TLC?

My utensil crock is always stuffed with a few and I couldn’t do without them, they are my go-to for nearly every mixing job. Over the years I’ve noticed something: handmade ones are far superior to what you can buy at the average home goods store.

As the saying goes: the higher the cost, the higher the quality. Why not take good care of these little gems so they last longer!

Here’s a sheet of quick tips to get the most out of these practical helpers whether they’re from the dollar store or from the local craftsman (general cleaning, seasoning, removing odors, etc.).

At the bottom of the page I’ve listed a few nifty ways they can be useful around the house (some may even surprise you).

Quick Tips For Care & Use

Cooking: Ideal utensils for non-stick cookware since they won’t damage or scratch the surface. Also terrific for stirring bubbling hot sauces, stews, deep frying, stir fries, etc. (because the heat won’t travel up the handle) and of course for general mixing.

Aren’t they bacteria traps or unsafe for food? With proper care, they’re no more dangerous than other material. Wood is naturally anti-bacterial, so unless you notice any deep splits or cracks (enough that they’re harboring food for who knows how long), they’re perfectly fine.

General cleaning: Simply wash in warm, soapy water (using your regular liquid dish detergent), rinse well then wipe or allow to air dry.

Can they be washed in the dishwasher? Sure! But they will break down quicker over time (may even warp) and will need replacing more frequently. I’ll stick them in the dishwasher if they’re my cheaper quality ones. If you have a favorite, good-quality spoon that can’t easily be replaced…stick with hand washing. Another tip: avoid letting them sit in dirty dishwater, wash them soon after use.

To sanitize: Immerse in very warm soapy water, scrub, rinse then soak in a 50/50 vinegar and water solution for about 5 minutes. Rinse, pat with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture then allow to air dry.

How to season: Wipe it generously with warmed olive oil (a paper towel works fine for this) then pop it in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes (350 degrees). Optional: Add a generous pinch of salt if you plan on using it for cooking, or a generous pinch of sugar if you’ll be setting it aside for baking. Can’t be bothered with the heating process? Mineral or almond oil are good alternatives, allow to sit for 24 hours before using. To encourage the oil to really soak in and work its magic, generously cover in plastic wrap and leave overnight. You could also soak in a salt water solution for a few hours, pat dry then apply oil.

Why do this? It helps seal and nurture the wood so it lasts longer. Is it necessary? No.

Odor buster: Sweeten it by soaking in a baking soda/water solution (a couple tablespoons of baking soda per 2 cups of warm water should do it). Leave for about 15 or 20 minutes and rinse well. You could also make a bicarb and water paste then rub it into the wood, leave for about 45 minutes to an hour then rinse off.

When to chuck them: When they start to split, crack or develop slivers, these gaps can trap food.

How to get rid of stains or roughness? Try rubbing out trouble spots with a piece of sandpaper. You can also try soaking in vinegar and water for about an hour before sanding.

Helpers Around The House

We know wooden spoons are great for cooking and mixing ingredients, here are a few other nifty ways they are beneficial around the home:

  • Test temperature when frying: Dip the end into the hot oil and tiny bubbles will form on the tip when it’s hot enough for frying.
  • Seamstress assistant: The handle is just the right size to press open small seams.
  • In the garden: Mark the desired depth at the end of the handle then use it as a guide when planting seeds (press into soil to desired depth).
  • Duct tape saver: Keep a stash of duct tape at your fingertips at all times by wrapping the handle several times with the tape…just pull off the amount you need as you need it.
  • Homemaker Tool: The long handle is a clever way to push sheets under the mattress.
  • Making cookie rolls: After baking, roll each hot cookie around the handle (see goodhousekeeping.com for a recipe).
  • Perfect Pasta: If you leave one in the pan while pasta boils, it will prevent the pasta from sticking together (shared by Karen in the comment section of the Pasta Pleasers page).
  • In the kitchen: Place one across the top of a boiling pot and it will help prevent messy boilovers. Source: Lifehacker.

If you’d like to get yourself something good quality and artisan-made, check out Etsy.com. I’ve picked up a few good keepers there myself! Another good place to try is the local Farmers Market or handicraft events.

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Comments

    • Susan
    Reply

    Also good for a smack on the bottom to a recalcitrant toddler ;D

      • Megan D
      Reply

      My mom’s nickname for the wooden spoon was “Paddy Wacker” 🙂

        • Crystal from Mississauga (Toronto's little sister!)
        Reply

        We used to have one in a drawer with “Kid Tamer” on the handle, mom used to spank me on the palm with it…I still don’t like wooden spoons today! 🙁

        • chloe williams
        Reply

        so was mine

          • SamiJo
          Reply

          One of my aunties had this wooden paddle that she’d painted red & had my uncle drill 9 holes in it. This auntie’s son & I were more like siblings than cousins, so of course we got into LOTS of trouble & were the 2 who were most familiar w/that paddle; hwr, her oldest daughter, son, & I could get pretty rowdy too. Her son & I used to get busted for slipping off to the local pool hall, which of course incl’d a couple well-played (*cough ‘hustled*) games of pool. Somehow, just as we’d thought we had gotten away w/our $20 win, we’d get busted. Not only did we lose our cash, we’d lose a few layers of skin. Only improvement as teens was that we lived in bayou area of Louisiana & would slip off to New Orleans & the French Quarter for weekends of bars, jazz & blues clubs, lots of drinking, sleeping in the car, & by the time we rolled out in the mornings (more like mid-day) there was brunch/lunch at Cafe du Monde for beignets & cafe au lait. ??Thankfully, the butt-whipping didn’t occur until we showed up back home looking like we’d slept in our clothes & camped out in the car for 2 nights smelling like a cross btw a brewery & distillery filled w/lots of tobacco & caught on fire. ?????LMAO! Some of the best times in my life were spent w/my cousin(s) & friends doing crazy stuff like that. Oh I was paranoid when my kids came along. Thankfully they were much more responsible than I was.

    • Ruth
    Reply

    The Dermatologist suggested to an elderly woman who lives alone that she put lotion on the back of a wooden spoon and use it to rub the lotion on her back.

    • kelly
    Reply

    When a wooden spoon looses its rubber spatula, or is no longer viable for kitchen use, one is left with a wooden stick which can be used many ways in the laundry room. Use to push around uneven loads, scraping mud (always allow to dry completely beforehand) from shoes or clothes, lifting articles of clothing with yucky stuff, use with dirty cloth diapers, use to reach articles of clothing stuck between washer and/or dryer….many uses.

    • Jane
    Reply

    My niece makes something she calls “spoon butter” – it’s a mixture of bees wax (grated) and coconut oil. Put the coconut oil and beeswax (3to 4 parts coconut oil to 1 part beeswax) in a container (she uses a glass heat resistant dish like pyrex) place in a pan with water and heat on low till water is hot and oils melt. Stir to combine and let cool. It will solidify. Cover and store in a dark place. Use this to slather onto wooden spoons, wood bowls and cutting boards (clean ones). Let set overnight then buff with a soft absorbent cloth. Your wood spoons will look so nice! She stores this in small jelly jars and they look very pretty – it evens softens your hands!

    • gary
    Reply

    also known as knuckle buster

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