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Wood for food

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Dalboy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Aug 2019 at 1:48pm
Having a brief discussion with a well-known turner today about woods used for foodstuff got me thinking.

What woods from around the world are deemed as safe to use with food I am talking of those that have research that has been done on them or are proven to be safe.

As far as I am aware there are lists for toxicity which usually covers things like working with the woods for example dust and it's reaction to contact with skin and also being inhaled, but not one that covers wood that comes into contact with food whether it is sealed or not
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregmcateer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2019 at 3:46pm
I'm no scientist, but am pretty sure I've read somewhere that (I THINK!), sycamore has anti-bacterial properties, so that sounds pretty good.
But then again, I may have made that up.
Or dreamt it, whilst dreaming about how little time I seem to find to get in the workshop.
Dunno, tbh Confused
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregmcateer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2019 at 3:53pm
You piqued my interest and I found this;


(Though they do have a vested interest, I guess).

Here's the (very dry, (no pun intended)), extract from the study;


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote broadstairs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2019 at 5:50pm
I have thought beech was safe as it is used for butchers blocks, or have I imagined that?

Stuart
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dalboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2019 at 8:23pm
Thank you both.

Yes Beech is common wood used for cooking utensils and the like and has been used for many years
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Claude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2019 at 10:10pm
I have used maple, walnut, cherry, purpleheart, padauk, tulip poplar, crab apple and olive for utensils.  I also would use any other fruit woods, such as apple pear, orange, lemon, etc.  I bought quite a bit of dishes, bowels, etc. made from Monkey Pod, while in the Philippines.   I do not use conifer wood because of the grain structure (hard/soft/hard/soft/...) as I think it would be prone to soaking up food and harboring bacteria, much more so than the fruit/nut woods.    Having said that, I know there are people who are allergic to walnut, so I check about their allergies before I give them a cooking spoon made from one of the above woods.  I also do not use any spalted wood for cooking utensils.  All I have found on the subject was the toxicity charts, and as Dalboy mentions, they don't usually deal with food safety.  

Robson Valley (Brian), I believe, has used birch and aspen and beech for utensils.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robson Valley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2019 at 6:42pm
Spalted woods are contaminated with the bacteria and fungi of decomposition.  Not good at all!
Any fruit wood or nut wood is good, so are any and all of the maples and birches.

Is beech common in your district?  Sort of featureless but a common stock for utensils.

I use birch for utensils and a few carved dishes because it is local, cheap and abundant.
An oven-baked veg oil finish will last for decades without going rancid.
I've done the same with melted bee's wax but the process was an unholy mess in the kitchen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dalboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2019 at 7:44pm
Thank you both. The reason for asking is that there are so many lovely woods out there and I am sure that some can be used for food but knowing which ones could be interesting
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robson Valley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2019 at 7:57pm
The best thing I carved was a big fat kitchen prep fork.  Maybe 1" diameter x 14" length.
Just 4 tines, one at each corner of the stock billet of birch.
Then I cut one off ( ease of cleaning in between.)
Oven baked olive oil finish as usual.

You can't stir soup fast enough to splash anything out of the pot.
Similar spoons almost never get used anymore.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Claude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2019 at 8:59pm
Originally posted by Robson Valley Robson Valley wrote:

The best thing I carved was a big fat kitchen prep fork.  Maybe 1" diameter x 14" length.
Just 4 tines, one at each corner of the stock billet of birch.
Then I cut one off ( ease of cleaning in between.)
Oven baked olive oil finish as usual.

You can't stir soup fast enough to splash anything out of the pot.
Similar spoons almost never get used anymore.


Photos, please!

Claude
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