Thursday, 23 June 2022

This Blogpost Is A Little Sili

Let's clarify this - Silicon is a chemical element, symbol Si, atomic number 14. It has a hard, brittle blue grey crystalline structure, and is used in hard coatings for computers, keyboards and more.  You are probably looking at or holding something made of silicon right now as you read this. Its oxide [silica] occurs naturally in sand, agate, quartz etc.
Silicones are synthetic polymers, rubber-like compounds. Used widely in insulation, kitchenware, medical equipment, dentures etc [and breast implants] Silicones are seen as an eco friendly alternative to plastics. Resistant to oxidative deterioration (normal aging) for decades on end. They cope well with exposure to extreme heat and cold, harsh chemicals, sterilization,, ultraviolet radiation, ozone and acid rain, just to name a few. Not toxic to aquatic or soil organisms, not hazardous waste, and whilst not biodegradable, can be recycled after a lifetime of use [lasting longer than similar plastic items]. If disposed of at a landfill for incineration, silicones (unlike plastic) is converted back into inorganic, harmless ingredients: amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapour.
So not perfect, but considerably better than plastics. And extremely useful. Here are some pieces of silicone ware which are in regular use in my kitchen. I mentioned moopops lids last year. Perfect for pots of cream or yogurt in the fridge. I also bought a pack of stretchy silicone lids in Robert Dyas which give a good airtight seal to different sized containers. [Waxwraps are good, but not as airtight or secure, particularly with a pyrex bowl of sloshy liquid stuff]
My pan lids [from IKEA and Lidl] are SO useful. They fit saucepans, and bowls - on the hob, in the microwave and in the oven. Mostly mine are used in the microwave - but good in the oven if I want to keep a dish of food warm, without drying out.
And my collapsible colander is fabulous. It packs flat in the lid rack, in my pan drawer - but opens to three possible depths. I can put it over various different sized pans. And if I use it with my stainless steel steamer pan, then I can cook potatoes in the bottom, and steam two different veg - all on the same ring. A great energy saver. And I can strain the veg easily too, as its handles do not get overly hot. 
I love my silicone spatulas- flexible enough to scrape every scrap from the mixing bowl, and easy to wash. Following Steph's tip, I always use one of these to make my scrambled eggs nowadays. Very fluffy and all the contents properly delivered to my plate.
I don't have a lot of silicone bakeware - mostly because I have an adequate supply of tins already and I'm not replacing them just for the sake of it. 
But a little sili is definitely useful - do you have any silicone stuff?














17 comments:

  1. It's great! I have some silicone moulds and some stretchy lids as well as a few collapisble camping containers. Almost bought a collapsible bucket last year.
    I keep meaning to get some moo pops!

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  2. And of course the key component of microchips, so in just about every digital device. We have silicone spatulas too!

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  3. Silicones have other uses of too as they have inherently non-stick surfaces, so are good for baking sheets etc (although no substitute for teflon for non-stick on metal pans). As curable fillers they are used extensively in bathrooms and kitchens around bath, basin and worktop edges, and for exterior fillers around windows and doors, where their resistance to degredation is vital.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder about the usefulness in "filling the gaps" round baths, shower trays, windows etc

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  4. Such an interesting post. I do have several of the silicon pieces that you mention. My favorite silicon kitchen helper is my Silpat baking mat. It fits perfectly into my cookie trays and keeps baked goods from sticking to the pan and from burning. It's magical. As Marie Kondo would quip, "It sparks joy" every time I use it.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I completely forgot my Silpat mat - wonderfully non stick

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  5. I have only a few silicone items, mainly because most of my kitchen ware is inherited from my mother and grandmother. Iron, tin and steel, will last my lifetime! By the way, carbon dioxide isn't exactly harmless, as the emissions are primary anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

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    1. Yes, you are right about CO2. We must plant more trees!

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  6. You are well equipped. I really should look into the stretchy lids for bowls, etc. I have spatulas and a set of 3 little containers that can be used to make poached eggs, but most of what I have has been around a long time, and at least is not plastic.

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    1. I don't eat poached eggs, so have never had any of those 'poach pods'

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  7. Thank you for sharing this. I was feeling really guilty about the silicone in my kitchen and how I wear out the silicone spatulas. I think it's great stuff.

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  8. I have two silicone spatulas that I asked for and received as a gift at Christmas. I think my daughter has some silicone baking cups at her apartment.

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