Choosing the Best Cooking Tools
Kitchen tools and cooking utensils can be made from many different materials, such as plastic, wood, stainless steel, or aluminum. In recent years, silicone kitchen tools were introduced into the market. What makes these silicone products different or more advantageous than the others? Why should we use silicone kitchen tools? Is it safe to use these products?
Silicone is a largely-inert, man-made compound of inorganic silicon and oxygen backbone with organic side groups that attach to the silicon atoms. It is found in a wide variety of forms and uses such as:
- a sealant that is used in building construction and maintenance
- grease that is used in plumbing which helps prevent the o-rings in kitchen and bathroom faucets from drying out and cracking
- a component that is often found in parchment paper to prevent foods that are baked or broiled on the paper from sticking
- an ingredient used in a number of non-stick sprays used today
- as silicone rubber that is used in the form of kitchen spatulas, serving and stirring spoons
- medical applications include use in breast implants, menstrual cups, and catheters.
What Makes Silicone Kitchen Tools Different?
Silicone kitchen tools and cooking utensils have characteristics that offer some advantages over their metal, plastic, rubber, or wooden counterparts. Most silicone products come in bright colors. Aside from that, let's consider their other characteristics and see if silicone kitchen utensils are worth using at all.
- Silicone cooking utensils have high-heat resistance. It can withstand very high heat (some manufacturers claim heat resistance of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit). If you're using silicone turners or whisks in cooking, you don't have to worry that they will melt when you accidentally leave them in the pot for a while. I remember using non-stick turners and it melts when you dip them in very hot oil. There are even silicone potholders that are perfect for use in taking out the dish from a very hot oven.
- Silicone cooking utensils are stain-resistant. This is because of the non-porous characteristic of silicone. So that it doesn't retain odors or colors when you use it for stirring deep-colored food like tomato-based food products. Have you experienced how difficult it is to remove spaghetti sauce stains on your rubber spatula? This also lends silicone products to easier cleaning or washing. Compared to the wooden spoon, which is porous and can harbor microbial growth, silicone utensils don't support such growth making it safe for contact with food.
- Silicone cooking utensils are rubber-like. This makes them very user-friendly when dealing with non-stick surfaces. It cannot scratch or damage non-stick cooking pots and pans as wooden or metal spoons do. This flexibility makes it as useful as the rubber spatula in scraping clean the cake batter off the mixing bowl.
- Silicone cooking utensils are non-corrosive and hard-wearing. Food-grade silicone is very safe to use in any type of food. It does not react with food or beverages or produce any hazardous fumes. Unlike some metals which may corrode when exposed to certain acids in food. It does not react negatively to exposure to extremes of temperature. This means that it will probably last longer than the other kitchen utensils.
- Silicone cooking utensils are safe to use. In The Safe Use of Cookware article by Health Canada, it is mentioned and I quote "There are no known health hazards associated with use of silicone cookware."
Looking at the above-mentioned qualities of silicone kitchen tools, I think you will get your money's worth when you consider purchasing these items for use in your kitchen.
A Good Silicone Cooking Utensils Set
Additional Notes Before Buying Silicone Kitchen Tools
Just as when buying any stuff, it is a good idea to consider some points to make sure that you're buying quality products. Noted here are some of the comments or complaints of other customers buying silicone kitchen tools. It would be wise to take note of them.
Consider the purpose of buying silicone kitchen tools. Some people have complaints that silicone spatulas work great for smoothing out the cookie dough or batter from the bowl but they are not rigid enough for other cooking purposes. Remember that these are rubber-like so they may not be good to use when sauteing especially when you need to cut through meat while cooking.
Check the handle. Silicone handles will tend to be floppy or soft so they may not provide the leverage you need while cooking especially when they are subjected to high temperatures. You may consider silicone kitchen tools with long, sturdy handles perhaps those made with metal or hard plastic (this may be prone to melting though). It is best to find out also from previous customer reviews online if the handles don't break, just to be sure that you're buying good quality utensils.
I hope that you have found this article informative and will be able to help you make a wise purchase.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Are silicone kitchen tools biodegradable? Can they be recycled? If they're tossed into a landfill, what happens to them?
Answer: Silicone is not biodegradable. It is recyclable, but it is hard to find a recycling facility that will accept it. Silicone lasts a long time, and hopefully, it won't get thrown away. If your silicone product becomes unusable, it's better that you reuse it in some other way. If they're thrown into a landfill, they will be less likely to leach out toxins because silicone is quite inert compared to plastic.
Question: Can I use silicone kitchen utensils with hot oil?
Answer: Silicone kitchen utensils are said to withstand heat up to 600 deg Fahrenheit (varies with manufacturer). Hot oil temperature ranges from 350 to 375 deg Fahrenheit (unless overheated - oil can catch fire at 500 deg F). So, yes, it would be safe to say that silicone kitchen tools can be used with hot oil.
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