One of the more recent developments in the world of kitchen gadgets are silicone kitchen products.
I first heard about them when I tried a silicone baking mat, but since then have heard of many other products.
Some popular silicone products are oven mitts, pastry brushes, barbeque brushes, cupcake liners, spatulas, and a host of many other silicone products designed to make cooking easier.
Why cook with Silicone Kitchen Products?
Silicone is a synthetic rubber that is created by combining silicon with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sometimes traces of other elements. Silicon is a natural element, which is abundant in sand and rock.
Sales of the products are really increased in the last year or so. The products are colorful, easy to use and have many advantages in the kitchen.
Be sure to check out my article that shows how to use silicone baking mats. It has lots of creative tips to try.
Advantages of silicone kitchen products.
The products are extremely flexible. Muffin cups just peel right off the finished muffin and can be reused over and over again.
Using silicone baking mats and cupcake liners means that you won’t be using paper or foil muffin cups or parchment paper, so there is less of a carbon footprint.
One of the biggest advantages of silicone products is their natural non stick ability. I have had a silicone baking mat for a long time and have yet to have anything stick to it.
Will Withstand very high heat
Most silicone products are advertised as being very heat resistant. The oven mitts that I use are safe up to 450ºF.
I can reach right into the oven and take out a baking pan with a lemon loaf in it that had been in the oven for an hour with no heat transferring to my hands.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved food grade silicone as safe to use for all foods, both for storing and for cooking.
Since it is a relatively new product, be sure to purchase from reputable brands and always read labels.
Silicone products are advertised as being safe in the microwave, dishwasher and fridge. You can prepare, measure, bake, and barbeque with them.
I love my silicone measuring spoons. They can fit easily into small jar openings because they are flexible.
Easy to clean
Foods do not build up on the tools, so they are quite easy to clean. (I do notice that my baking mat has discolored over time. This does not detract from cooking but is visually unappealing at times.)
But all that is really required is a wipe down with soap and water.
From Kitchen to Patio
The tools can be used both in the kitchen and as aids on the barbeque area as well. I love the large silicone brushes for basting marinade over hot coals without worrying about the brush getting singed.
Lower fat cooking
Since the products require no oil, the foods will be slightly lower in calories.
Disadvantages of silicone kitchen products
There are some lower quality versions of these products which are made from less than 100 % silicone. These fillers may impair both the performance and the durability of the items.
They may also make the food retain some unfavorable odors.
Silicone is also soft and can easily be damaged by cleaners or knives.
In some cases, the colors may leach into the foods. I have not had this happen but have read that it is possible.
Silicone kitchen products can be slightly more expensive than their metal or plastic counterparts
Some tips for keeping your products useful for a long time.
1. Don’t cut directly on silicone. You will damage the finish.
2. Don’t spray with non stick sprays. This will add a build up on the products.
3. Don’t use scourers to clean the surface, just soak in warm soapy water and wipe clean.
4. Cooking times may be shorter with silicone products. Lessen the cooking times for the first uses until you get used to them.
5. While silicone will withstand very high temperatures, it will melt if left on a really hot surface. So be careful where you place the product when you are done using it.
6. Buy from a reputable company with the FDA stamp of approval.
If you have not yet ventured into the world of silicone kitchen tools, you may be pleasantly surprised.
I started out slowly with pieces that were not too expensive, such as my large spatula and then ventured into some of the more expensive items. They now are a big part of my supply of kitchen tools.