Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Operation Nesting: Wood Butter & Wood Kitchen Utensils

I try very hard to limit the plastic in my life. In my kitchen, I don't own anything plastic except for a few utensils. For the most part, I try to use glass, metal, ceramic, or wood.

The problem with using wood in the kitchen is that it becomes dry and weathered as it is exposed to water and heat. I have a large array of wooden utensils (and yes, I do somehow use them all), and some of them, particularly the older ones I've had since we got married nearly 3 years ago, have really started to dry-out and show wear.
The 5 bamboo utensils on the left seem not to dry out as quickly as other types of wood utensils
 So I realized a while ago that I needed to put together some sort of wood conditioner to keep my utensils in good shape. Of course, I kept putting the project off, and that is how this project ended up as part of Operation Nesting.

Many recipes for wood butter include the use of mineral oil. Since this is a petroleum product, I didn't feel comfortable using it on utensils that I use to prepare food. Instead, I decided to use coconut oil (other suggestions included jojoba oil and olive oil) and beeswax.
 Whatever oil you choose to use, the oil to beeswax ratio is 4:1. So I used 1 cup coconut oil and approx 1/4 cup beeswax. I grated the beeswax first before adding it to the coconut oil and melting it down. I used the microwave to melt the ingredients together, but you can also use a double boiler if you have one.
Grated beeswax
Coconut oil and beeswax melted together
Pour the mixture into a storage container or jar for future use and store it out of sunlight. It will eventually harden into a buttery consistancy

You can use this wood butter on pretty much any wood product to condition and moisturize. I used it to condition my wooden utensils today, and plan to use it on several other projects in the future.

To recondition my utensils, I lightly sanded the ones that had that "fuzzy feeling" that dry wood utensils get.

 Then I rubbed a small amount of wood butter into the utensils, wiping off the excess after a few minutes of letting the utensils "soak" in the wood butter. 

The results were great! Take a look at the "before" and "after" of some of the utensils who needed this TLC the most
So that means we can cross off one of the items on the Operation Nesting  list.


  1. I have both of those ingredients, and I think I will make some butter to use on my wooden comb...I just slathered oil on it the last time it looked dry. I am still at home, so I don't have any wooden cooking utensils, but I am pleased to fill this info away for future use.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I was just washing a wooden utensil of mine and was thinking about how rough it felt... I will definitely have to try this!

  3. Wow, the butter worked great! Would you mind sharing why you try not to use plastic?

    1. My aversion to plastic stems from my mother, actually, who has always been careful with the amount of plastic she exposes our food to. Plastic can leech into food and drinks, so I try to buy food that isn't packaged in plastic (that is a tricky one) and I use very little plastic in my kitchen. I buy my meat at meat counters where they use paper to wrap purchases rather than plastic and styrofoam. Most adults have traces of plastic compound build-up in their bodies, particularly BPA. Here's a good article that talks about it (and there is plenty more information out there if you care to research it): http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-plastics-do-to-your-body.html
      I just try to live as close to nature as possible (and practical), and plastic is just not natural.


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