Think about this statement: You need at least two wooden spoons in your kitchen. Your first thought might be that you are reading something from 1965, before plastic and silicone kitchen utensils become popular. Maybe you thought of your grandmother, who only used wooden spoons because there weren’t any other options. Guess what, you would be wrong thinking either of those thoughts. Wooden spoons have always been in the kitchens of experienced bakers, and you should have a couple on hand for baking cookies.
Sure, a spoon is a spoon. You are going to use it to mix stuff. Maybe it’s a batter, maybe it’s a dough, maybe you are mixing ingredients for your favorite recipe. A silicone or plastic spoon is fine for many chores, and you can mix most baking batters with them. However, I bet all of us can remember using a silicone spoon and having it bend while mixing a stiff dough or batter. Even more concerning, I bet all of us can remember breaking the handle off of a plastic spoon while mixing ingredients.
Wooden spoons are almost indestructible. The can withstand just about any pressure you put on them, and handles are solid, they aren’t going to break.
There are other reasons to use wooden spoons at certain times. Wood won’t react with ingredients, such as acidic foods, plastic will. They won’t leech any chemicals into your foods, they are made from wood, not a mixture of chemicals and compounds. You also will find that wooden spoons won’t scratch or nick your mixing bowls. Some bowls, especially aluminum or stainless steel bowls, will scratch with hard use from a plastic spoon. Metal may be hard, but the plastic is probably harder and can nick or scratch your bowls. Wood is softer, in a head to head contest, the metal will win over the wood every time.
Taking Care Of Your Wooden Spoons
One benefit of owning silicone or plastic spoons is convenience. They don’t need special care and you can throw them into the dishwasher. Wooden spoons require a bit more care. First, you need to season them or oil them. Seasoning means treating the wood with oil. This keeps the wood from drying out and cracking. Use a mineral oil for best results, vegetable base oils can go rancid. Wipe the spoons with a rag that has been dipped in mineral oil, making sure to cover the entire spoon. Wash the spoon lightly with warm water and dry completely. Your spoon is now seasoned.
Wooden spoons can’t go into the dishwasher. The caustic soap used in most dishwashers will pit the spoons and the high temperatures will crack the wood. Wash your spoons in warm soapy water (not hot) and dry well. If you should use your wooden spoons for mixing meats, make sure you clean and re-season them before using them for baking.
So why use wooden spoons? You don’t need to use them all of the time, and silicone or plastic spoons are wonderful kitchen utensils to have. Like all kitchen tools, there are times when one will work better than another, even though both tools do the same job. Like a good mechanic, make sure you use the right tool for the right job.