I love adding beets to summer salads for extra color and sweetness — but I’m not too fond of the clean-up process. Dark beet juice leaves a purple stain on my wooden cutting boards that’s difficult to remove. Fortunately, I recently found a trick to prevent beets from staining my boards using a simple pantry staple: cooking spray.
How to Keep Beet Juice From Staining a Cutting Board
When it comes to cutting boards, I prefer wood for fruits and veggies and plastic for meat and fish. It’s an easy way for me to remember each board’s use and avoid cross-contamination.
A wooden cutting board‘s surface is more porous than one made from plastic. This means that after chopping a veggie like beets, the dark juices have already seeped into the wood’s pores — making it harder to scrub off.
But you can avoid beet juice stains with a quick tip from Cook’s Illustrated, which calls for spraying the board with a light coat of nonstick cooking spray before use.
The cooking spray acts as a barrier that prevents the beets’ juices from seeping into the wood’s pores. Also, a cooking spray like PAM Original Cooking Spray (Buy from Walmart, $4.12) contains canola oil, which is flavorless and won’t affect the taste of your beets and other vegetables.
My Experience Testing This Hack
I first tried the cooking spray trick on one of my older and more inexpensive cutting boards that hadn’t yet been ruined by beet stains. I sprayed a layer on the board and gently wiped it across the surface to create an even coating.
Next, I diced two small cooked beets on the board. I immediately noticed that the cooking spray acted as a shield against the juices, preventing them from absorbing into the wood.
After dicing the beets, I put them in a bowl and washed the cutting board by hand. This step actually impressed me the most — the residual beet juice glided right off without leaving any stains behind.
I decided to break the board in by testing whether it could stand up to pesky beet stains — and with this cooking spray hack, it passed the test. The juices from the beets didn’t linger on the board’s surface or stain the material.
This handy hack will surely save me time and elbow grease when I want to add beets to a dish. Looking for another way to keep your cutting boards in great shape? Check out some handy cleaning tips in our story on how to care for a wooden cutting board.
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.