Kitchen cookware has enjoyed many transitions over the centuries thanks to new materials becoming affordable and more mainstream. Archeological discoveries suggest clay pottery was instrumental in cooking from the Stone Age onwards. By the 17th century it was common for a kitchen to contain cookware cast from iron or bronze. These materials made way for the lighter and more practical stainless steel and aluminium cookware. With the introduction of revolutionary Teflon and other non-stick coatings, we had never had it so easy in the kitchen. Now is the turn of another innovative cooking material.
Silicone cookware has had a dramatic blocks play and learn surge in popularity in recent years and now populates many kitchens and cookware shops across the globe. Many manufacturers of bakeware or kitchen utensils now have a range of silicone based products to compliment their collections. The reason behind the rise in awareness and popularity of Silicone Kitchenware lies in its long list of advantages and minimal drawbacks which we will look at in a moment. However with so many manufacturers producing silicone cooking instruments to keep up with demand, it is important to wean out the quality from those who cut corners.
Silicone cookware draws on one of its advantages (and coincidentally one of its disadvantages) – its flexibility – for its success. You can also use this feature to determine whether the item is 100% silicone or if it contains “filler” as do many low quality silicone products. By twisting the silicone check the ridges for signs of white stretching which indicates that filling materials have been used. If the colour remains constant, you have in your hands some high quality silicone! This initial check is important for several reasons besides checking you are getting what you pay for:
• Although 100% silicone is non-stick, these filling materials may not be. All the time and effort you put into baking the perfect cakes (and indeed the reason you selected silicone in the first place) may be in vein if the baked goods stick to the pan due to these fillers.
• 100% silicone is heat resistant to over 300 degrees centigrade (well above normal cooking temperatures). It will not give off odours, discolour or compromise its integrity. However the same cannot be said for the filling material.