\\One Platter, One Job
First of all, it’s important to know that cross contamination is real and potentially dangerous, especially for boards that are being used as cutting boards and not just as serving platters. To illustrate, if you cut raw meat on a board, and then proceed to cut up some pineapples on the same board, there is a risk of getting bacteria from the raw meat unto the pineapple and this could be harmful.
Note that this is an issue if you are cutting AND serving on the same platter. If you are only serving cooked meals on your platter, there’s nothing to worry about. As such, it is advisable to have more than one platter for your different food needs.
We have developed a diverse platter family with different platter sizes and shapes that would be great for a diverse set of needs - cutting vs serving, vegetables and fruits vs meat, etc. In addition, our S\\B platters are treated and polished on both sides and as such, you can choose to dedicate one side to cutting and food prep, and the other side to serving. Visit our online store to check out the S\\B Food Platter range!
\\ Clean and Sanitize Right
Secondly, treat your wooden platters as you would treat your skin - wash it right, dry it right, moisturise it right and watch it glow.
Wash your platters by hand with warm, soapy water. Constant contact with heat and water can damage your wooden platter and cause it to bend and crack. Thus, using dishwashers are not advisable. Not only will it be difficult to chop/serve food on a warped board, but cracks in the wood are a breeding ground for bacteria, mould and other microbes that feed on trapped food particles and water.
If the platter has been exposed to raw meat, you can sanitise the platter after it has been washed by making a solution of one teaspoon of vinegar and 4 teaspoons of water and leave to dry.
It is also worth noting that you should sanitise your kitchen sponge/rag/brush after you’ve used it to scrub your platter to avoid the risk of contaminating the next thing you wash. Or better yet, keep a separate kitchen sponge/rag/brush for your wooden platters.
\\ Drying it Completely
Air drying your wooden platters thoroughly is essential to keeping them food safe. Bacteria need moisture to grow, and you really don’t want to give them a welcoming environment. After washing, you can pat dry with a paper towel and let them air dry completely in a well ventilated part of your kitchen.
As mentioned before, extreme heat causes wood to bend so placing your wooden platter in direct sunlight for a long period of time can disfigure your platter. The outer sides of wood, the sapwood (usually the lighter parts of a piece of wood), looses moisture faster than the centre of the wood, the heartwood (conversely, usually the darker parts of a piece of wood). However, don’t panic if you start to see your wooden platter bending. You can wrap the wooden platter in a damp towel and place heavy weights such as a stack of books on the bent spot. Leave it to sit for 2 - 3 days. This method is effective because whilst the wooden board is being expanded by the water, the weight is bending it back into place.
As mentioned earlier, treat your wooden platters like you would treat your skin and we all know how important the process of moisturising is. Depending on how often you use your wooden platters (which should be always), re-oiling your platters at least every other week is best practice. It makes the surface of the platter more knife-friendly. By oiling your platters, you are also extending the life of the wooden platter by preventing it from cracking.
The other reason to regularly oil your wooden platter is sanitation. Oiling your wooden platters creates a barrier which prevents bacteria harbouring liquids from soaking into the wood. Avoid using vegetable oils as they will stain the wood and cause bad odour. Any other oil will eventually go rancid.
Food Safe Mineral Oil is recommended as a good option to oil your wooden platters. We have some mineral oil available so remember to grab a bottle or two when you get your S\\B platter.
Watch out for a separate post with recommendations on oils that are safe to use and those that should be avoided.
\\ Dealing with stains and smells
If your platter begins to give off a bad odour, one of the easiest tricks is to sprinkle fresh lemon juice across the surface of the wooden platter. This gets rid of the stains and odour as the ascorbic acid reacts and removes the bacteria and fats and other soluble materials that cause the door and stains.
\\ Removing Tough Stains
Baking soda is an effective tool to remove stubborn stains from your wooden platter. Sprinkle baking soda over the stained spot and rub with a sponge, cloth or brush which has been dipped in hot water.
Scratch marks and cutting marks left by knives can be repaired with sanding. Sanding should be included in a good wood platter case routine, just like oiling. Do not wait for the cut marks to get too deep, you can get yourself some smooth sand paper to sand your platters regularly to get it looking as good as new. We would recommend anything above 150 grit.
When the platters have accumulated a lot of deep grooves from repeated use, you probably need to replace it. This is because the deeper cuts caused by knives can harbour pathogens and give more area for trapping moisture and giving bacteria a place to proliferate.
Practise these tender loving care ideas on your S\\B platters to keep yourself and and your S\\B platter safe, fresh and glowing. Let us know if you have any further tips, questions or comments!