Question: I love took cook, but it’s annoying to use and clean cutting boards all the time. I’m thinking about getting a new stone countertop, and I’ve heard people say you can cut directly on them without scratching the surface. Is that true?
The answer is — it depends, and it’s still better to use a cutting board.
Hard stone countertops like granite and quartz can withstand knife work in the kitchen without scratching. However, if you cut acidic foods like citrus fruits, the acid can degrade the surface of the countertop, leaving a noticeable dull spot.
In general, quartz has the greatest resistance to cuts and scratches due to the way it’s made. As opposed to a solid stone slab, a quartz countertop is made of small pieces of stone held together by a resin matrix. It’s this resin that gives a quartz countertop is strength and durability and gives it just a bit of an edge over granite. In any event, you’ll still want to be sure that you’re not hacking away and hitting the countertop with a lot of force, as even super-tough surfaces like quartz and granite can chip if enough force is used.
Softer stones like marble and limestone scratch much more easily and are particularly susceptible to degradation to due acidic foods or beverages. However, there’s a reason bakers love to have marble in the kitchen. The consistent coolness of the surface keeps buttery doughs from getting too warm when worked, and the surface is ideal for tempering chocolate. So, marble is still certainly a stone that’s worth considering in your kitchen, as long as you always use a cutting board when dealing with knives. Or, install marble in a small area in your kitchen to use for baking, and use a more durable stone elsewhere for your other kitchen activities.
Now, here’s the thing. While you can cut directly onto some stone countertops, you actually won’t want to. Stone isn’t a good surface to cut on and will dull even the sharpest knife in the blink of an eye. For the avid chef, this is a huge no-no. Plus, scratches and staining can still happen even on a stone countertop that has been sealed. When the food or liquid particles you’re dealing with get stuck in these fine fissures, harmful bacteria can grow. So, be safe and be smart, and use a cutting board on any stone countertop you install. Not only will it save your work surface, it’ll make your kitchen a safer and healthier place to eat.