Silicone has made its way into nearly every kitchen cabinet in the country. Silicone cookware offers home chefs an easy and colourful way to prevent baked foods from sticking to pans. These funky, pliable kitchen helpers appear to be here to stay. However, what do we really know about the effects of silicone kitchen products? Such scientific innovation occasionally leads to concern with regard to public health and safety. Learn more about silicone cookware and associated dangers to consumers and the environment.
Silicone cookware originated in Europe in the 1980s. French-made Silpat baking mats crossed the Atlantic in the 1990s thanks in part to televised endorsements by Martha Stewart. Today, virtually every cookware manufacturer offers a selection of silicone products including muffin pans, baking mats, bowls, cake pans, potholders, oven gloves, whisks, spatulas, assorted baking pans and pastry brushes.
The element silicon exists in common sand and rock. Silicone belongs to a class of synthetic rubbers created from silicon and oxygen. Silicone is regarded for its durability, long life and tolerance of temperature extremes. Silicone cookware makers employ a number of proprietary manufacturing processes including high-temperature compression and injection moulding.
Manufacturers and cooks alike tout the non-stick properties of silicone cookware. Silicone resists stains and food odours, making it a perfect choice for any kind of baked foods. This cookware is available in a variety of vibrant colours to suit any kitchen. Silicone cookware is lightweight and durable. Silicone cools quickly, lessening the instance of cooking-related burns. Food-grade silicone is completely recyclable.
The flexible nature of silicone cookware represents one of its greatest assets and major weaknesses. When heated, silicone softens and becomes unstable, resulting in potential food spills. Not all silicone cookware is completely non-stick. Research different brands of silicone cookware to make sure they live up to the claims. Look for products made from 100 per cent silicone. Lesser-quality baking mats and cookware may contain fillers, causing odours upon heating and affecting overall quality and performance. Knives and sharp utensils can damage the supple surface of silicone cookware.
Food-grade silicone used in U.S. cookware meets all current FDA standards. According to the federal government agency, silicone pans and kitchen accessories pose no threat to consumers or the environment. Time will tell if research and long-term studies uncover any hidden dangers associated with silicone cookware. The only environmental drawback of silicone cookware involves its inability to break down and decompose naturally.
Avoid using silicone cookware on the hob and at extreme oven temperatures. Always follow the manufacturer's directions. Use extreme caution when removing hot food items from silicone cookware. To provide additional support, place a rigid baking tray under silicone baking containers to prevent mishaps. Check for unwanted fillers by performing the twist test on silicone cookware -- steer clear of products that produce a white residue when gently twisted or bent.
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