Proper Care of Your Cutting Board


Question: I recently had my kitchen cabinets resurfaced and added a new wooden cutting board. What should I use to treat the board before I start using it?

Answer: Wash the cutting board with hot water and soap; then rinse it thoroughly. After allowing the wood to dry, rub the surface with a thin coat of mineral oil (not cooking oil, which may become rancid). Repeating this procedure periodically will extend the life of the wood.

Q: How do I roast the nuts produced by my almond trees? I have a gas oven and would like to know the amount of time and the temperature required for roasting.

A: The Almond Board of California recommends: “To roast in the oven, spread (shelled) almonds in a shallow pan that has been lightly coated with butter, margarine or salad oil. Place in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until almonds are a light golden brown, stirring once or twice to assure even browning. Note that almonds will continue to brown slightly after being removed from the oven.”


The nuts may also be roasted in a skillet. “Lightly coat the skillet with butter, margarine or salad oil. Add almonds and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally or stirring once or twice to assure even browning, until almonds are a light golden brown.

“Remember, roasting times are approximate. Smaller quantities and smaller almond pieces will roast faster.”

Q: How do I use the prickly pears produced by the cactus along our back fence? I especially need to know how to remove the spines.

A: When harvesting prickly pears, also known as cactus pears, use heavy leather gloves to protect your hands. To remove the spines, hold the fruit with tongs and singe it over a hot flame.

According to Frieda’s Finest Produce Specialties Inc., prickly pears may be peeled, sliced, chilled and served with lemon juice and sugar or cream and sugar.

Frieda’s also provided the following recipe for using the fruit:


1 envelope unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup water or canned pineapple juice

1 cup prickly pear puree

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup lime or lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped green onions

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese

1 small avocado, diced

1 cup drained, diced canned pineapple or 1 apple, peeled and diced

Salad greens

Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup water. Combine remaining 1/2 cup water with prickly pear puree, sugar and salt. Heat, then dissolve gelatin in hot liquid.

Stir in lime juice, green onions and celery. Refrigerate until mixture begins to thicken.

Cut cream cheese into small cubes and stir into gelatin mixture along with avocado and pineapple. Turn into 6 individual or 1 (1-quart) mold. Chill until firm.

Unmold onto salad greens. Makes 6 servings.