Kitchen tools and cooking utensils are made from different materials like plastic, wood, stainless steel, aluminum and others. 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 of the 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 it will melt when you accidentally leave it in the pot for a while. I remember using non-stick turners and it melts when you dip it in very hot oil. There are even silicone pot holders and silicone gloves which 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 the silicone products to easier cleaning or washing. Compared to the wooden spoon, which is porous and can harbor microbial growth, silicone utensils are usually are non-toxic BPA free and made of food grade silicone.
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 metals spoons do. This flexibility makes it as useful as the rubber spatula in scraping clean those 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.”
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 for 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 it 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.