If my client ops for a granite counter top they always ask if the sink cut out could be used for a cutting board. The answer is NO! First of all, the granite is much to heavy to move around, and second, cutting on granite will definitely dull your knives. If you are concerned about the drop-off material being wasted or thrown away, you can always have the raw edges finished and use it as a small table top or a pedestal under a statue or plant. Don’t forget to put pads under the granite so it doesn’t scratch the area you place the granite on.
What about plastic cutting boards? They seemed to be the most sanitary material, especially since they are dishwasher safe, unlike cutting boards made out of wood or bamboo. They come in many sizes and colors and because they are light in weight, they are very easy to handle.
But, a University of Michigan study found that “more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface.” Yes, a new plastic board could be disinfected, when the plastic surface is scarred by using knives, but it was impossible to clean and disinfect manually. When cutting on the plastic, there is a possibility of plastic bits getting into your food.
Bamboo cutting boards seem to be a good choice since they absorb less liquid than wooden boards, but bamboo is 19% harder than maple, so this material is also hard on your knives. Bamboo makes an attractive cutting board for your bar area and small chopping jobs. Note: Look for boards that use formaldehyde-free glues.
Wood is the cutting board of choice for the reasons given above. Many boards are actually made from waste wood (i.e., leftovers at the mill that would have been otherwise thrown away).
A heavy softwood board is more gentle on the knives, and will keep them sharper longer. Look for a walnut, hard maple, birch, cherry or oak cutting board to use for those chopping tasks. Wood is self-healing, and won’t mark as easily as a plastic board.
Note: Oil your board(s) regularly with food-grade mineral oil to protect it from staining or warping. Wood boards are NOT dishwasher safe. If you take care of your wood boards, they will last forever.