Wooden Knife 101 – Everything you need to know
If you saw a wooden knife, you would probably think you've travelled back in time. Well, you haven't. They're actually a thing. They can even be sharpened, and can cut up a wide variety of foods. If you're wondering why anyone would want to own wooden knives, keep reading.
Why a Wooden Knife?
Most knives are made of a stainless steel alloy due to its corrosion-resistant properties. Stainless steel contains varying percentages of nickel and chromium, which is what makes it resistant to corrosion. This should make the knife safe for use but this isn't always the case.
Some poor quality stainless steel knives tend to leach into the food, meaning that some of the metal gets into the food. Trace amounts of metal in our bodies aren't a problem, but if they accumulate they could be detrimental to health.
With wooden knives, this problem doesn't exist as wood is stable and won't dissolve into your food.
Metallic knives contain a certain amount of carbon in the alloy. This is because although carbon is corrosive, it's tough, and it balances out the softness of stainless steel. A knife should be flexible enough not to snap when pressure is applied to it, but still firm enough to get the job done without bending all the time.
Carbon has its drawbacks though. It can also leach into food, leading to an unpleasant metallic taste. Wooden knives are stable, and they won't leave any kind of taste in your food.
A lot of outside catering event organizers prefer to use plastic cutlery over metallic cutlery, as plastic is cheaper, safer, and easier to clean in large quantities.
However, plastic may be convenient, but it isn't eco-friendly. Instead of being cleaned, plastic cutlery is often disposed of as waste after events.
Plastic is non-biodegradable, so unless it is recycled or incinerated, getting it out of the environment is a problem. Wood, on the other hand, is biodegradable.
Wooden knives are just as safe and easy to use as plastic knives, with the advantage that when disposed of, they actually disappear. The wood will simply decompose and become part of the soil.
Great for Spreading
A wooden knife makes a great spreader for peanut butter, butter, and cheese on bread due to its wide blade. Wooden knives are great for cutting cheese as well.
There's no denying that we all crave the ‘wow' reaction whenever we have people over for a meal. What better way to elicit that than having wooden knives at the table? With their unique style and naturally intricate wood grain patterns, wooden knives are undeniably stylish and eye-catching.
Metallic knives tend to be heavy due to the combination of metal and plastic. Wood is lighter than metal, and a wooden knife is delightfully light. You almost don't feel like you're holding anything, to be honest.
Care for Wooden Knives
Wood is a natural material, and like all-natural materials, it is susceptible to degradation. Not all wooden knives are made for disposal, so if you want your wooden knife to last long, there are things you need to do to take care of it. Here are some of them.
Dishwashers feature high temperatures and a lot of water. Wood is sensitive to temperature changes, so the extremely high temperatures could lead to swelling and eventual warping. Your beautiful wooden knife would come out of the washer looking like a mess.
Simply wash the knife by hand in soapy water, dry it off immediately, and leave it out in the open to dry completely before storing it. Leaving it out to continue drying is important because wood stays wet longer than plastic or metal. Storing it while still damp could lead to the growth of unhealthy molds on the wood. Once this begins to happen, your knife is done for.
Avoid Soaking Wooden Knives
Sometimes knives get really grimy and you may be tempted to soak them in soapy water before washing them. Don't. For one thing, the knife is still sharp, even if it's made of wood. It can still injure you. For another, wood is very porous and will soak up the water like a sponge, swell up and lose shape.
Always wash your knife immediately after use to prevent dirt from sticking on to it. If the knife is very grimy, use a lot of soap and water. The grime will come off without you having to soak the knife. Pay attention to any crevices where bits of food may be trapped to prevent germs from growing in there and contaminating food later on.
Keep the Knife Well Oiled
Because wood is a natural material, it is more sensitive to environmental changes than plastic or steel. Exposure to too much moisture could lead to swelling, while too much heat could dry out and shrink the wood. One way to protect the wood from environmental damage is to oil it periodically.
Here's how it's done.
Clean and dry the knife thoroughly.
Apply a few drops and rub them in with your fingertips. This will heat up the oil and encourage absorption into the wood.
After you've rubbed in the oil for about ten minutes, the surface will begin to look wet. This means that the wood can longer absorb any more oil and you can stop there.
You can use oils such as Danish oil, canola oil, walnut oil, or boiled linseed Some people use olive oil, but it has been known to go rancid, so you are better off avoiding it.
A wooden knife should be stored in a well-ventilated, well-lit place, but not in direct sunlight. This is because exposure to a lot of heat causes wood to dry out and shrink, thus spoiling the shape of the knife. Keeping the knife in a well-lit place will also discourage the growth of molds, to which wood is especially susceptible.
Wooden knives are not as common as plastic or metallic knives, but with their eco-friendly and aesthetic value, they certainly deserve a place at the table.