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The 2000s has seen the introduction of numerous silicone kitchen utensils, often sold in attractive bright colors. Cooks used to traditional wood, rubber, plastic, or metal utensils may wonder what advantages lie in products made with silicone. Actually there are numerous advantages, especially as replacement for either rubber spatulas, or metal turners.
Silicone kitchen utensils have the extreme advantage of being able to be used at high heats. Many can withstand up to 400 F. (204.44 C) or higher. Where you’d ordinarily have to remove a rubber spatula or stirring implement if you were making something like candy, you will not melt silicone utensils if you leave them in the pot or pan for a second while you turn your attention elsewhere. Metal can also withstand high temperatures, but certain metals may corrode when exposed to certain acids. For this reason alone, silicone is generally a better choice.
Furthermore, a silicone utensil that accidentally falls to the bottom of the dishwasher during a wash cycle isn’t likely to melt as plastic handles or rubber implements might. It’s more durable than wood, in most cases, and can withstand frequent dishwashing in a dishwasher. Wooden spoons, or even wooden handled utensils may need to be hand washed to avoid gradual deterioration of the wood.
While many people love their rubber spatulas, a common complaint with rubber utensils is that they easily take on stains, which are then very difficult to remove. You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve ever stirred spaghetti sauce with a rubber spoon or spatula. Silicone kitchen utensils tend to resist this type of staining because silicone material is less porous. It therefore has a longer “life” than most rubber implements, and certainly most wooden ones.
There are concerns voiced by some that silicone kitchen utensils and bakeware aren’t safe. Many cite the problems with silicone breast implants in the past as part of their reasoning here. Actually much of the evidence regarding the negative health effects of silicone breast implants has been refuted, and doctors have certainly gone back to offering them again to patients as a viable option. The only concern might be ingesting silicone particles by using silicone utensils or bakeware. This scenario is unlikely. Provided there are no punctures in the utensils, silicone is likely to hold together and endure better than almost all materials except for strong metals used in utensils.
Some cooks do have a few objections to silicone kitchen utensils. The spatulas for turning thin things like crepes tend to be a little too thick on occasion, and some people prefer thinner metal spatulas, especially if they need to scrape the pan a little to remove something. On the other hand, if you’re using nonstick cookware, silicone is a great alternative to metal, since it will not scratch nonstick coatings.
What about the odor? We have silicone ice cube trays and they impart an unpleasant odor to the ice. Doesn't that indicate some kind of chemical contamination?
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