The Beauty of Acacia Wood in the Kitchen
Ah, Acacia. Sounds like a sweet breeze in the summertime. Or a disease, but a nice one that makes you laugh a lot. Little known fact about Acacia wood: there are about 160 species of Acacia shrubs and trees – some of which are known as “mimosa trees” for their beautiful yellow flowers. Mmm mimosas. We’ll drink to that while we take you on a tour into the beautiful world of Acacia wood.
Elevate Your Kitchen With Acacia Wood
A high quality, rich, dark-grained wood, Acacia adds a sense of elegance coupled with rustic charm to the kitchen, making it a great addition when you want to add something unique and eye-catching to brighten up your kitchen. But, before we get into the ways you can add Acacia wood to your kitchen, let’s first explore what Acacia wood is and where it comes from.
What Is Acacia Wood?
Acacia wood and its notoriety for beauty goes back to biblical days – in fact, to the bible itself. It appears in the book of Isaiah and was used as the foundation for the Tabernacle. Who knew?
There are many species of trees and shrubs that share the name. They grow in both tropical and desert climates and are native to Australia, South Africa, South and Central America and the American Southwest.
Some Acacias produce a gum that has applications in medicine, and some produce a flower (remember those little yellow mimosa flowers?). In fact, the Acacia pycnantha flower, the golden wattle, is the national flower of Australia. The wood is extremely durable, water resistant and resists scratching. The trees grow quickly too, making harvesting them quite sustainable.
How is Acacia Wood Used?
In more modern times, Acacia has been used in furniture, flooring and many pieces of decorative art, whether in the kitchen or out. Some versions, like the Hawaiian koa, are some of the most coveted and expensive woods in the world. Others, like Acacia Dealbata, are great for woodworking because of their pliability.
People use Acacia for a few reasons. One is the vast richness of colors the wood offers, from almost sunlight bathed honey to a deep mahogany. When cut, Acacia provides beautiful patterns and knots, tiger stripes and bird eyes.
The uses for Acacia wood come in a range of options, from cabinets to flooring, and can come in solid, laminated or hand-crafted forms for a more a customized feel.
How Hard is Acacia Wood?
Acacia is actually harder than oak or maple, which means it will last longer, depending on thickness. It’s not uncommon for an Acacia wood floor to last a century. It can also be polished repeatedly and not lose its luster. Because of the harsh climates of origin, the wood is surprisingly well suited for water, making it very mold-resistant, as well as insect-resistant.
Acacia is also different than Teak, another highly durable and water-resistant wood, because it’s not as expensive. While Teak is a beautiful wood, it’s also not a sustainable one, and there have been sanctions placed on its trade and import.
Acacia is a great wood when you want something that nails the middle of the Venn Diagram for durable, affordable and elegant. So, it’s not surprising that many people have been turning to the material to upgrade their kitchens in recent years, from cabinets and flooring to knife blocks and cutting boards.
Is Acacia Wood Good for A Cutting Board?
Acacia is actually a smart choice for a cutting board. Many boards, whether they’re plastic, glass or stainless steel, are not only noisy but will also damage your knives.
You know what they say: A damaged knife is never working up to its full potential (I made that up but it makes sense, no?). If a knife is banging against a hard surface, it will bend in on itself and lose its edge, literally – not to mention, avoiding dull knives is one of the basic rules of kitchen knife safety.
Knife Knowledge 101: Top Signs of a Dull Knife
If you want a cutting board that has all of the important aspects to look for (durability, beauty and resilience), look no further than Acacia. It’s versatile too – part of the beauty of this wood is it can be used as a serving platter after being used as a cutting board.
If you’re worried about hygiene – and you’ve heard all of the old wives’ tales about wood being less sanitary than plastic in the kitchen – research shows that wooden cutting boards are actually a much better choice vs. plastic as about 99.9% of bacteria placed on wooden boards die within three minutes after contamination. The soft surface of plastic cutting boards, on the other hand, is more prone to cuts and grooves from the sharp edges of a knife, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
With Acacia, you get all the benefits of high-quality wood like walnut or maple, but without the price. It’s about one third of the price of maple and much more affordable than walnut.
How Do I Care for My Acacia Wood Cutting Board?
Wooden cutting boards require maintenance, and that’s just part of the deal. That’s honestly the reason most people go with plastic, because you can soap it up and throw it in the dishwasher. So if you’ve been avoiding wooden cutting boards because you’re not sure how to clean and care for them, then you’ve been missing out (and wasting money on plastic, glass, etc).
The truth is, if you properly maintain an Acacia wood cutting board, it will probably outlast everything else in your kitchen. So, not only do you get a board that’s more durable (and safer for your knives), you also get the satisfaction of taking care of it yourself. There’s a special feeling one gets from applying oil to a well-cherished wooden cutting board.
That’s right, oil. Wood like Acacia needs to be moisturized from time to time to prevent cracking and warping. Plus, there are some really nice advantages of oiling your board. For one, it will look practically brand new every time you do, and will also renew a shine you thought was lost forever. Also, the oil will enter the small cracks and dents and fill those spaces, making it harder for bacteria to enter.
There are many oils on the market, but some of the best to use for wooden cutting boards are mineral based and food grade. The whole process takes about one or two days, as it needs time to dry in between steps.
Oiling And Cleaning Your Acacia Cutting Board
Your board should obviously be cleaned after every use but go ahead and give it a good thorough clean before applying the oil – By the way, a board should be oiled at least once a month or conversely, when it’s dry to the touch.
When it comes to cleaning, a gentle cleaning solution or some white vinegar is good to scrub with as it will help to remove germs and bacteria. Don’t submerge in water, though. Simply give it a quick rinse under warm water, then wipe dry and allow some time for it to continue drying in the open air. A few hours should do the trick.
For oiling a wooden board, soak a clean, dry rag with the oil and coat the surface of the board, slowly and steadily. Use enough oil so it’s visible to the eye. Now let the board dry again, completely. Overnight usually produces the best results. The next day, check the board for excess oil. If the surface is sticky or oily, then get a new rag and wipe it off gently in circular motions.
You can be extra generous with the oil the first time you oil a board,. As the board gets broken in, you’ll only need just enough to cover the surface.
Follow these steps, and the board might just outlive you.