When To Throw Away Wooden Spoons
Kitchen cutlery comes in every material imaginable. From silicone and other man-made materials, to aluminum and other types of metal. But when it comes to aesthetics and chef preference, nothing beats a good solid wooden spoon for stirring a sauce. But unlike other materials, wood does not last forever. In fact, it deteriorates so much over time that it eventually needs to be tossed in the trash. So, when is it time to throw away your wooden spoon and purchase a new one?
It is time to throw away your wooden spoon when it is cracked, splintered, or physically damaged. You should also replace it if you notice any signs of mold, or if it has become softer than normal. If it is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a new one. If it has taken on an unpleasant taste or is stained an unappealing color, get rid of it.
Wooden spoons are a fantastic kitchen tool. In fact, every kitchen should have one by the stove for easy access. But just like with all your kitchen utensils, it needs to be maintained and replaced from time to time. Keep reading to discover when it’s time to throw away your wooden spoon.
8 Signs It Is Time To Throw Away Your Wooden Spoon
1. The Wooden Spoon Is Cracked
The most common and obvious reason to replace your wooden spoon is if it cracks. A cracked spoon likely can no longer properly fulfill it functions as a solid stirrer. A cracked spoon also puts you at risk of having a piece of wood end up in whatever you are stirring. This can be unsafe, so make sure you replace a wooden spoon as soon as you notice it is cracked.
2. The Wooden Handle Gives You Splinters
Another sign it is time to replace your wooden spoon can be a painful one. Splinters are irritating and can sometimes be harmful. If your wood spoon is giving you splinters, it means it is old, poorly made, or damaged. Regardless of the cause of these splinters, this is a sign it is time to get rid of the spoon and get a new one.
3. There Is Noticeable Mold
You throw away food once it grows mold, so the same should be the case with your wooden spoon. If you notice your wooden spoon has grown some black mold or other type of bacteria, then toss it. This is a sign your spoon is no longer usable. It also means you run the risk of contaminating otherwise safe meals for you and your family.
4. The Spoon Has Taken On A Strange Taste
If your spoon has taken on a strange taste and it seems to linger forever, then it might be a good idea to toss it. Spoons absorb moisture and also flavor. So, there is a chance your spoon can hold on to a rather unpleasant flavor for some time. If this is the case, instead of putting up with this and having it spoil an otherwise enjoyable cooking experience, just toss it and buy a new one.
5. You Notice The Wood Spoon Has Soft Spots
You might notice that your spoon feels a bit softer than it used to. This is likely to occur on the part of the spoon that is most frequently submerged in liquid. This is a sign of decomposition. It is also a sign that you need to get rid of the wooden spoon and buy a new, firm one. Don’t wait too long, as softer wood can crack and chip away and end up in the food.
6. The Wood Spoon Has Changed Color
Another warning sign that it is time to buy a new wooden spoon is a visual one. If the spoon is stained or has turned colors, then you might need to look into buying a new one. Stained spoons, especially those tinted by tomato sauce or chili, lose their effectiveness, as they are no longer as useful for baking. This also might make the spoon unworthy of use for other purposes. It is best to get rid of spoons that are stained and replace them with new ones.
7. The Spoon Is Unsightly
Sometimes your wood spoon becomes unattractive or worse for wear. In some cases, this might not seem like a deal breaker. But often, wooden spoons are not simply used for stirring in pots. Wood spoons are often used as a serving utensil.
Beautiful wooden spoons have a rustic and country aesthetic. When your wooden spoon loses its lacquer, or is stained or scratched, it can no longer serve its function if you are using it to serve guests. If your spoon looks old and ugly, then it is time to get rid of it and replace it with a new, more attractive wooden spoon.
8. The Spoon Is More Than 10 Years Old
If your spoon is more than a decade old, then you should be grateful to have such a wonderful and reliable kitchen utensil. You should also consider replacing it with a new one. Sure, if it isn’t broken and works great, keep using it. This is especially true if you rarely use it.
But if you regularly use the same wooden spoon, you should replace is every five to 10 years just to keep things fresh and safe. After all, you don’t want to wait until the spoon breaks in your soup in order for you to decide to replace it.
Ways To Help Your Wooden Spoons Last Longer
Clean Them Immediately
One of the best ways to keep your wooden spoons in great condition is to clean them immediately. When you leave a spoon dirty, you are putting it at risk for several types of damage. For one, if you are using it to stir something like tomato sauce, it can stain or even absorb the acidic flavors of the sauce. This is very off-putting, as it means when you stir your cake batter with the same spoon the next day, it will still smell like marinara. Leaving spoons dirty also puts them at a higher risk of growing bacteria.
Don’t Soak Wooden Spoons Overnight
Some folks love the “soak overnight” method of doing dishes. While this might be a good idea for tough-to-lift stains on your Le Creuset enamel cookware, it can cause damage to your spoons. Wooden spoons are porous, which means they will absorb moisture, especially when soaked overnight. This can lead to the spoon softening and even growing some mold.
Dry Spoons Thoroughly Before Putting Them Away
You also need to make sure you dry your wooden spoons after washing them. This means not placing them in a drying rack where they might stay wet for hours longer. It also means not putting them in a dishwasher that is not drying properly. A dry spoon is much more likely to stay strong and maintain its integrity longer.
Choose Quality Wood
It is also important to note that not all wood is the same quality. Some woods are stronger and less susceptible to rot than others. Woods like teak are very strong, while pine and others tend to be softer. While soft and porous wood should not necessarily deter you, it is important to keep in mind quality when purchasing a wooden spoon you want to last.
Summing Up When To Throw Away Wooden Spoons
Wooden spoons are trusted and amazing kitchen utensils, but they don’t last forever. This means you need to get new ones from time to time. But when?
You should replace them whenever they are cracked, splintered, or broken in some other way. If they give you splinters or taste funny, it is also time to get rid of them. If they feel soft or look moldy, swap them out for a new one. And if you use the same wooden spoon day after day for ten years, then it is time to get a new one.
Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.
More by Tom Gaffey