Nothing is more appealing than a large salad or serving bowl filled with a colourful array of leaves and vegetables and glistening with freshly prepared dressing. More than just a humble receptacle, serving dishes can make a splendid addition to a table setting, offering an attractive way to display sides. Glass salad bowls are great if you want to show off a vibrant mix of leaves, whilst ceramic or porcelain serving bowls will add a certain elegance and refinement to the dinner table. Whatever your style and serving requirements, the Houzz UK website offers a variety of serveware
options to enhance your dining space.
How big are salad bowls?
Salad bowls are generally pretty generous in size as they are designed to feed a large number of people. If you’re throwing a dinner party, you want to make sure that every guest is amply fed and doesn’t have to make do with one sad-looking lettuce leaf and a slice of tomato. Similarly, you need to take into account the tossing stage of salad making. If you can’t vigorously lift and mix the leaves without them escaping the container, you probably need a larger bowl.
If you’re feeding a crowd, opt for a bowl that is between 30-45 centimetres wide. Large salad bowls are great for summer barbecues and home picnics as you can shove a load of greens in one big container, toss with dressing and leave it at that. On the other hand, if you’re planning a more intimate dinner, a smaller receptacle might make more sense. Go for a more modest 25-centimetre bowl and consider a shallower design if you want to aesthetically present your salad (think carefully arranged slices of tomato and mozzarella, rather than roughly mixed leaves and veg).
How do you care for wooden salad bowls?
Wooden salad bowls and servers are timelessly elegant and can last forever if well looked after. However, it is important to note that they require very different maintenance from the ceramic or stainless steel varieties. Wooden vessels are sensitive to moisture and changes in temperature so must be treated with care. To keep your bowl in top condition, follow these simple guidelines:
- Wooden bowls are prone to a buildup of sticky residues over time, especially if used for oily salads or vegetable dishes. To loosen these fatty deposits, heat the oven to 135°C then switch off. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and lay a wire rack on top. Place the bowl facedown on the rack and put in the oven. The fats will start to melt and drip off the bowl. After 15 minutes to an hour, remove the bowl from the oven and wipe down with a piece of kitchen roll. You’re good to go!
- If your bowl starts to look dry and loses it sheen then it probably needs seasoning. Most wooden salad bowls come pre-seasoned but will need to be retreated over time. It is important to avoid using olive or vegetable oils as these go rancid when exposed to oxygen. Instead, apply a liberal amount of food-grade mineral oil with a microfibre cloth and wipe in the direction of the grain. You can also use beeswax or carnauba wax. Let the bowl sit for 20 minutes, then remove any excess oil or wax.
- Wood is a porous material and can absorb bacteria from food, causing it to smell. To get rid of unwanted odours, cut a lemon in half and wipe around the inside of the bowl in the direction of the grain. Lemons are naturally anti-bacterial and will add flavour to salads and vegetables. If you’re not keen on citrus, wipe the bowl carefully and do not immediately use for serving. You can also use white vinegar to kill bacteria by filling the bowl with five parts water to every one part vinegar. Leave to sit for 10 minutes then wash and dry as normal.
- Direct sunlight can cause wood to fade and crack so make sure to store your salad bowl in a cool, dry place.
Can you wash wooden salad bowls?
Wooden salad bowls can be washed but should not be exposed to water for any more time than necessary. To clean your bowl, wash in warm water with mild washing-up liquid and dry thoroughly with a tea towel. Never submerge the bowl in water for more than a minute or so as this can cause it to warp. Whatever you do, do not try to clean a wooden bowl in the dishwasher as this can severely damage the vessel. The hot water will cause the wood to split and come apart, as well as damaging its attractive sheen.
How many serving bowls do you need?
The number of serving bowls you require depends on how many people you need to feed and what types of dishes you plan on preparing. If you’re a regular on the dinner party scene or often have family visiting, it makes sense to invest in more serving bowls and platters. Having a wide range of dishes also means that people can serve themselves, thus reducing the stress of hosting.
However, if you don’t plan on entertaining regularly or prefer one-pot meals (great for minimising washing-up), a couple of plain or patterned serving bowls should do the trick.
Large serving dishes are ideal for big celebrations like Christmas, whereas smaller ones are better for everyday suppers or intimate dinners with friends. If you’re planning on serving a selection of warm side dishes, you could also consider purchasing serving bowls with lids to keep everything hot whilst you finish cooking.
However many serving bowls you decide you need, make sure you have ample space to store them in your kitchen or dining room. Check out our range of kitchen storage and organisation products
to see how you can make the most of your space.
Where to buy serving bowls?
The Houzz UK shop offers a vast selection of serving bowls and accompanying utensils
from suppliers and artisans across Europe. Whether you’re looking for a classic white salad bowl or a couple of unusual vegetable serving dishes, you’re sure to find the perfect piece of serveware.