John Boos Cutting Boards, Kitchen Islands, and Butcher Blocks
1) Periodically (once every several weeks, depending upon the use and household conditions), apply an even coat of mineral oil or Boos Mystery Oil to the work surface of your butcher block. Sponge on with a rag!
2) DO NOT allow moisture of any type to stand on the block for long periods of time. Moisture can cause the block to expand, the wood to soften, and affects the strength of the glued joints. Don't let fresh meat lay on the block longer than necessary, as blood can soak into the block. Be aware of brine from fish as well.
3) Use a good steel scraper or spatula several times a day, as necessary, to keep the cutting surface clean and sanitary. Do not use a steel brush on the cutting surface of your block.
4) DO NOT cut fish or fowl on the work surface of your butcher block, unless you have thoroughly followed the instructions in step #1...as the moisture barrier must be intact prior to cutting any type of fish, seafood, or fowl on the work surface of your butcher block. ALWAYS CLEAN THE BLOCK THOROUGHLY AFTER CUTTING FISH OR FOWL ON THE WORK SURFACE.
5) Be sure NEVER to cut continuously in the same place on the top of your block. Distribute your cutting over the entire work surface so that it will wear evenly. DON'T use a razor-edged cleaver. It will chip or splinter the wood and produce soft spots. Your cleaver should have dull sharpened edge for best results.
6) NEVER wash your block with harsh detergents of any type. DON'T wash your butcher's tools on your block.
7) At the conclusion of a day's work preparing meat or food on your butcher block, scraping the block will remove 75% of the moisture. After scraping, immediately dry thoroughly with an absorbent towel. This assures an odorless, clean cutting surface for the next day, and prevents premature quick deterioration of the work surface.
8) Maintain the same bevel on the edge of your block, as it had when you bought it. This prevents splitting or chipping of outside boards.
9) Your block, should be turned over periodically to allow even usage to both work surfaces.
Note: Butcher Block cutting boards are not dishwasher-safe! Remember, John Boos Mystery Oil is the best way to keep your Boos Block maintained for years to come!
How to maintain your John Boos Butcher Block
|End Checks||Separation of the joints along the end of top or block||Excessive dryness. Not oiled frequently enough.||Apply John Boos Mystery Oil to top of block and allow to soak in.|
|Splits||Separation of the joint along full length of top||Excessive dryness.||Proceed as above to seal split. If condition continues for an extended time period, contact your dealer.|
|Wind Shakes||Small portion of wood grain lifting up from table top.||Grain separation. Excessive dryness.||Clean and dry top. Apply portion of white glue to piece of paper. Slip paper under the shake and remove, leaving some glue for adhesion. Place heavy weight on area overnight, and let dry. Remove any excess glue using light sandpaper or fine steel wool. WORK ONLY WITH THE GRAIN, NOT AGAINST IT!|
|Warpage||Top cupping or bowing||Imbalance of moisture contact between top and bottom surfaces. Oiling only one surface.||Apply John Boos Mystery Oil liberally to concave side. If not corrected within 2 weeks, tape plastic (i.e.: plastic liners, dry cleaning wrap, etc.) to the convex side, and oil the reverse concave side every day. Top will adjust to new humidity and correct itself.|
|Rail Expansion||One rail raised above balance of top||Raised rail expanding at faster rate than others.||Continue oiling, as instructed for regular maintenance. Top will adjust to new humidity and correct itself.|
|Stains||Water spots, food stains, etc.||Allowing food to remain on table top too long. Needs paraffin or wax.||Use light sandpaper or fine steel wool on stain. Continue regular maintenance. Stain will dissipate in wood grain.|
|Damage||Nicks, gouges, dents, etc.||External environment||If top is oiled, simply sand and reoil. If top is lacquered, lightly sand and refinish with EZ-DO poly gel or another compatible finish (consult a local finishing store).|
|Mineral Streaks||Dark streaks in the wood||Natural discoloring of the wood due to mineral deposits in the tree.||No repair needed - Adds to individuality of your Butcher Block.|
Wood vs. Plastic
NEW STUDY SHOWS WOOD CUTTING BOARDS, NOT PLASTIC, ARE SAFER FOR FOOD PREPARATION
Despite the prevailing wisdom, bacteria die much more quickly on wood. For decades now, cooks in homes and restaurants have been urged to use plastic rather than wood cutting boards in the name of food safety. The fear is that disease causing bacteria – salmonella from raw chicken, for example – will soak into a cutting board and later contaminate other foods cut on the same surface and served uncooked, such as salad ingredients. It’s become an article of faith among “experts” that plastic cutting boards are safer than wood for food preparation because, as the thinking goes, plastic is less hospitable to bacteria. It seems reasonable, but it just ain’t so, according to two scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Food Research Institute.
Dean O. Cliver and Nese O. Ak, food microbiologists in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, have found that in some as yet unknown way wooden cutting boards kill bacteria that survive well on plastic boards. “This flies in the face of prevailing wisdom”, says Cliver, “It isn’t what I expected. Our original objectives were to learn about bacterial contamination of wood cutting boards to find a way to decontaminate the wood so it would be almost as safe as plastic. That’s not what happened.” Cliver is quick to point out that cooks should continue to be careful when they handle foods and wash off cutting surfaces after they cut meat or chicken that may be contaminated with bacteria. “Wood may be preferable in that small lapses in sanitary practices are not as dangerous on wood as on plastic,” he says. “This doesn’t mean you can be sloppy about safety. It means you can use a wood cutting board if that is the kind you prefer. It certainly isn’t less safe than plastic and appears to be more safe.”
Cliver and Ak began by purposely contaminating wood and plastic boards with bacteria and then trying to recover those bacteria alive from the boards. They also tested boards made from several different species of trees and four types of plastic. They incubated contaminated boards overnight at refrigerator and room temperatures and at high and typical humidity levels. They tested several bacteria – Salmonella, Listeria and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli – known to produce food poisoning.
The results consistently favored the wooden boards, often by a large margin over plastic boards, according to Cliver. The scientists found that three minutes after contaminating a board that 99.9 percent of the bacteria on wooden boards had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic. Bacterial numbers actually increased on plastic cutting boards held overnight at room temperature, but the scientists could not recover any bacteria from wooden boards treated the same way.
So where did we get the idea that wood isn’t safe? Cliver and Ak don’t know. They did a literature search and have not found any studies that evaluated the food safety attributes of wood and plastic cutting boards. Although Ak, a graduate student at the Food Research Institute, will soon return to Turkey, Cliver hopes to continue the studies. A major question now, he says, is why wood is so inhospitable to bacteria. He and Ak have tried unsuccessfully to recover a compound in wood that inhibits bacteria.
The first year of the study was funded by the Food Research Institute with unrestricted food industry gift funds; other funding sources are now being sought. Cliver and Ak will soon submit an article based on the research to a referred scientific journal.
The National Sanitary Foundation has rated most John Boos products to be in compliance NSF Standard 2. All boards manufactured with hard rock maple are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approved. This is not intended to be an endorsement of the product but simply a certification that the products have met stringent standards as detailed by the NSF. Click here to go to the NSF website page that has this certification information. When considering a purchase of any cutting board or kitchen accessory that is in food contact, the NSF rating is certainly a factor to consider.