For cooks, silicone is a kitchen alternative to plastic or metal utensils and cast iron or steel pans This lightweight material can withstand high cooking temperatures and possess a relatively non-stick surface.
Silicone utensils and cookware are very adaptable. Move silicone cookware from the freezer to an oven or microwave without fear of it shattering. They also cool down very quickly when removed from a microwave or very hot oven.
What is silicone?
Silicone is comprised of both organic and inorganic polymers. It can be formed into either oils or resins that can then be shaped into products such as plastic, gels, rubber and liquids.
The variety of silicone kitchen products has mushroomed. From the common spatula to a basic pastry brush to muffin pans, silicone's adaptability to temperature extremes has made it an essential ingredient for many chefs and cooks.
One caution when using silicone cookware: be careful using sharp objects while cooking. A fork or knife used while preparing a meal might puncture a piece of silicone cookware and damage it beyond repair.
Many silicone cooking products can withstand temperatures up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit before melting. One brand of bake ware, SiliconeZone, actually has a melting point of 932 degrees.
While able to withstand extremely high temperatures, silicone baking dishes are not designed to be used on a stove top or on any other direct heat source. Silicone utensils, however, are perfectly fine for stove top use.
Use warm, soapy water to wash silicone utensils. Do not use scouring pads as they will scratch surfaces. A dishwasher is fine for any silicone cooking product.
Advantages of using a silicone utensil over a plastic or metal tool can start with silicone's softness. Metal or hard plastic utensils can easily scratch a non-stick piece of cookware. But silicone is actually softer than wood and will preserve the finish of your non-stick pots and pans.
Another benefit of using silicone spatulas, spoons, tongs, whisks, even oven mitts, or whatever your favored utensil might be, is they do not corrode and might very well exceed the lifespan of your other utensils. And the price between silicone and traditional instruments is very comparable.
A somewhat unusual silicone utensil is a stretch silicone cooking band. The bands--looking somewhat like large office rubber bands--are used in place of butcher's twine or toothpicks to secure meat. And lifting a roasted turkey out of the pan using these bands means little fear of breakage as might happen with strings having spent hours in the hot juices.