Superior Food Machinery are now supplying the best value for money butcher blocks in the UK. Each butcher block can be used with an existing butcher block stand or bought with a brand new butcher block stand made from aluminium (for lightness and strength). The butcher block is hard wearing and made to last, but as per all butcher blocks must be looked after. The butcher block must be cleaned down at the end of the day using butcher block cleaning methods.
The wooden butcher block can be butchers prized possession, and therefore most butchers look after them well. The butcher block can take much hard wear and tear, and the butcher block can be resurfaced or repaired to increase the life length of the butcher block. A butcher block requires seasoning from brand new, this prevents the butcher block from becoming stained and absorbing food odors.
Seasoning a butcher block:
A mineral oil finish is preferable on butcher blocks rather than polyurethane or varnish as the butcher block oil finish is easy to maintain, and makes repairing the butcher block much easier. An oil finish on a butcher block prevents the wood in the butcher block from cracking or seams pulling apart. Mineral oil is preferred for seasoning wooden butcher blocks. Before applying the oil to the wooden butcher block, warm the oil slightly. Apply the oil to the butcher block with a soft cloth, and spread down the grain of the wood on the butcher block. Allow the oil to soak in to the butcher block before applying another coat. Four or five coats onto the butcher block are required for the initial butcher block seasoning. After each treatment of the butcher block wait for about four to six hours then wipe the excess oil off the butcher block that did not soak in. The butcher block must then be re-oiled every month or as often as required.
Wooden butcher blocks have all the same characteristics of solid wood, the butcher block will shrink and expand as the moisture content of the wood butcher block changes. Extreme dryness of the butcher block may cause cracks. If a crack does appear on the butcher block then it must be filled with butcher block filler, sanded and smoothed. After the butcher block filler has dried the whole butcher block must then be re-oiled.
Using a butcher block:
The cutting of raw meat or poultry on the butcher block should be avoided if possible and a plastic cutting board placed on the wooden surface of the butcher block instead. This plastic board protects the butcher block and prevents contamination. Cooked meats, fruits and veg can be cut of wooden butcher blocks but always remember that the butcher block can become scored from the knife action. This score on the butcher block can make the butcher block hard to clean, and wearing the butcher block more than necessary. To get round this it is advised to use a plastic board laid on top of the butcher block, as replacing this board would cost less money. If the butcher block becomes scored the knife marks then the butcher block should be sanded and refinished.
Cleaning the butcher block:
Oil finished butcher blocks can be cleaned as per any other table top. A damp cloth with detergent may be used on the butcher block, followed by a damp cloth to remove detergent from the butcher block. Excessive water use on the butcher block should be avoided, this can soak into the butcher block and make the butcher block damp. All water should be wiped off the butcher block immediately. Wooden butcher blocks can be sanitized after cleaning. A solution of 1tsp bleach to 1 quart water should be used on the butcher block, either using a cloth or a spray to administer onto the butcher block. This is then left to air dry on the butcher block. Avoid using higher concentrations on the butcher block as this will dry the wood surface of the butcher block. This drying will cause the butcher block to crack and create places for bacteria to form on the butcher block. Repeated cleaning and sanitizing of the butcher block will lead to the oil finish of the butcher block becoming removed, therefore you should plan to re-oil the butcher block surface as often as required.