One of the eco-minded decisions we made when we created our environmentally-friendly kitchen was to leave a raw, unsealed surface on our benchtops.
The benchtops are made of kauri pine, a softwood local to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Its very fine grain makes it highly resistant to water, and the early settlers even used to make their whole sinks out of the wood (with no metal at all!).
The benches are very resistant to staining, and even beetroot spills faded away within a matter of days. A scrub with a pumice soap periodically would then remove any left-over marks.
The only issue was around the sink area. Here, the iron and minerals in the water would deposit themselves into the grain. The result was a dark, almost black coating around the sink. While it was perfectly hygienic, it was unsightly.
So we finally decided to oil the benchtops, after giving them a thorough sand. Ian Thomson, who constructed our glorious kitchen, was more than happy to help.
We when used Organoil Hard Burnishing Oil to seal the wood, which is food-grade, and only slightly darkens the colour.
The result is lovely, and will now remain lovely, even in the face of heavy use.