Stone countertops, especially granite and quartz, are found in hundreds of thousands of kitchens in the US. Whether you’re a cooking or baking connoisseur or spend as little time as possible in your kitchen, one common question continually arises: Can I cut food on my granite countertops?
The stone is hard, so it should be fine under a knife, right? Well, not necessarily, but we’re going to explain, so stick around to learn more.
Is It OK To Cut On A Granite Countertop?
Granite countertops are known for their versatile durability. Granite consists of various interlocking mineral crystals, primarily feldspar and quartz.
Solid granite countertops offer unique appearances, with colors, veins, and patterns streaking across each slab. Composite granite counters, which are a common alternative to solid granite, are an engineered blend of crushed stone and include an acrylic resin mixed with stone.
Both solid granite and granite composite are strong and durable. These countertops hold up exceptionally well against scratches, chips, stains, and heat, making them an incredibly popular pick for kitchens. So, does this resilience work well as a cutting board?
The answer to this question is yes and no. The hard surface of stone countertops, like granite, can withstand knife work without scratching. However, this doesn’t mean you should forego a cutting board altogether.
Certain Foods May Damage The Sealant
While chopping veggies, certain fruits, and other types of food, your granite counters will probably hold up just fine. However, fruits that naturally contain citric acids, like oranges and lemons, can damage the sealant.
Although the slight exposure to citric acid likely won’t cause a ‘hole’ in the sealant, it will leave a dull spot on your counter. If you frequently use a granite countertop as a cutting board, especially for acidic foods, you’ll likely notice prominent dull spots across the counter where you worked.
It’s essential to reseal your counters regularly to help protect the granite and fix any ‘holes’ from cutting acidic foods on the counter. Generally, granite countertops need to be sealed at least once a year. However, if you frequently cook in your kitchen and use the countertops, you may need to reseal the surfaces more regularly.
You can quickly determine if the counter needs to be resealed or not using the water test. Simply pour a few drops of water onto the granite surface. Allow it to soak in. If the water soaks into the countertop quickly and leaves a dark spot, it’s time to reseal. If the water sits on top of the counter and doesn’t soak in, the sealant is still good.
Sealant helps protect the counter from spills, stains, and damage, so it’s essential to routinely seal the surface.
Issues With Bacteria
If you use your countertop as a cutting board or work surface for raw meat, you may have issues with cross-contamination. Anyone in the food industry knows the dangers of cross-contamination, especially between raw meats and other foods.
Granite is a porous stone but less so when appropriately sealed. The sealant sinks into the pores and “clogs” them, which helps reduce the absorbency of liquids and other fluid materials into the stone.
Unsealed granite will absorb juices and liquids from the meat, creating a significant cross-contamination issue. For example, let’s say you work with raw beef, using the counter as a cutting board. Next, you wipe the counter and slice vegetables or bread in the same location.
Due to the stone’s porous nature, there’s a high chance of liquids from the meat coming into contact with ready-to-eat food, like vegetables or bread. Even though you wipe the counter in between, the pores of the stone may hold leftover liquids from the meat.
Of course, most people have sealed counters, so there’s less of a chance of this specific scenario happening. With that said, it can still occur with sealed countertops, particularly incorrectly sealed ones.
Dulls Your Knives
Cutting vegetables, bread, or other food items on your granite counter is a quick and easy way to dull your knives. If you regularly use your kitchen counter as a cutting board, your blades will be dull in no time. So, save your kitchen knives and use an actual cutting board instead of your counter.
So, Can I Skip The Cutting Board?
The moral of this story is no, don’t skip the cutting board. If you want to save your granite countertops, not to mention your knives, use a cutting board. A quick chop every now and again shouldn’t hurt anything.
However, use a cutting board if you’re preparing a meal that requires extensive cutting, chopping, and food prep. Although granite does exceptionally well with withstanding scratches, acids, heat, and cold, it isn’t invincible. Remember, your granite countertop is an investment, and if you take good care of it, the surface will last a lifetime.