Part of the fun in any home cook’s life is getting a new kitchen tool, using it, loving it, and thinking, "How did I ever live without this?".
Silicone utensils fit this bill perfectly. They're heat resistant, durable, colourful and non-stick, which means they're easy to clean. Importantly, they're also eco-friendly so you know you're doing your part for the environment by moving towards a 'green kitchen'.
But with so many different and questionable options available, how do you know which ones to choose that provide the best performance and are safe for your family?
Easy - our kitchen experts here at Bluebird share some of their tips.
Is it made from high-grade silicone?
Silicone is a man-made polymer. But rather than having a carbon backbone like plastic, it has silicone and oxygen. High-quality silicone utensils are made from certified food-grade silicone, with approval from the FDA, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, or a similar governing body. Importantly, these should not have plastic fillers like some of the cheaper silicone utensils which are used to lower the cost of producion. However, this also lowers the quality and durability. You can check for fillers by reading the labels carefully or doing a bend test. Just bend the silicone part and if you see small white lines that won’t go away after a few seconds, then it probably has fillers and should be avoided.
Can it can stand the heat?
Silicone can withstand temperatures ranging from below 0 C up to 250C (480F). Bluebird's silicone and wood spatulas, spoons, scrapers and basting brushes, for example, are resistant up to 250C. They don't conduct a lot of heat which means a reduced risk of getting burned from a hot handle. Certain silicone utensils, such as bowls, can even go straight from the freezer to the oven without any problem. If the stated maximum temperature is lower than 220C (428F), the utensil could have plastic fillers. High temperatures can damage, even melt, low-quality silicone utnesils so it's always good to check before you buy. Check also if all colourants in the utensils are lead-free and not BPA-based, especially the brightly-coloured ones.
Does it smell?
Silicone is highly resistant to microbes and other contaminants making it ideal and safe for use in the kitchen. It’s hygienic and hypoallergenic, with no open pores that can harbour bacteria. It will also not retain stains or odours. As such, a good silicone utensil should not have an unusual 'funky' or overly plastic smell to it. If it does it probably has plastic fillers and best to avoid it.
Is it dishwasher-safe?
Silicone utensils are very easy to clean, as these are non-stick and stain-resistant. These are also dishwasher-safe. When using phosphate-free dishwashing agents, some silicone utensils may end up with water spots or white stains. Don’t worry as these can be easily removed with a vinegar and another rinse.
Is it durable?
High-quality silicone is highly durable. Just be careful not to damage it with a knife or other sharp objects, especially when in the dishwasher. With proper care, these will last for years even with frequent use. Look for silicone utensils with a sturdy handle (preferably wood like Bluebird's) and a rubber part that does not bend too easily.
They say that a cook is only as good as his/her utensils. So when it comes to your kitchen tools and utensils, choose good quality silicone utensils for many years of happy home cooking
Click here for the Bluebird silicone utensil range