Silicone cookware has seen a rise in the past few years. Be it for cooking or baking, these products have taken the world by storm, and we can see why. These products are advertised as safe, inexpensive, long-lasting, and the list goes on. Are they really safe or it’s mentioned just for advertising purposes? Let’s debunk the myths.
Is silicone cookware safe?
Yes, they are safe. Though its plasticky look certainly does not inspire confidence at first. All in all, these products indeed seem too good to be true.
Can It Avoid Melting?
One of the biggest questions people seem to have regarding silicone cookware is the skepticism towards its heat resistance. Isn’t silicone somewhat like plastic? If so, how does it manage not to melt?
And even if it doesn’t melt, how safe is it to be in contact with my food while I’m cooking on high heat? These questions are all understandable. But once you know the properties of silicone, you will hopefully be able to rid yourself of those confusions.
Properties of Silicone
The first thing about silicone that you should keep in mind is that it is not one material; instead, it refers to many materials of a category, namely polymers. Moreover, silicone and silicon are not the same things either. The latter is a chemical element (which silicone contains, by the way).
From the outside, they all somewhat look rubbery and plasticky, which can be deceiving. However, silicone has a surprisingly low thermal conductivity, meaning it doesn’t carry a lot of heat when you’re cooking; instead, it resists it.
And that is why you can use silicone cookware in high-temperature situations like cooking on a stove. Moreover, they are safe for you to keep using them like that for a long time. But how does this material manage to achieve such a feat?
In short, we can somewhat credit silicone’s chemical structure for that, which is very stable. That means even if you put it in a hot or cold condition, it manages to maintain impressive thermal stability throughout the spectrum.
These properties make it safe to keep with your food, as the stability ensures that there will be no toxic elements in your food due to the sudden temperature rise. The same goes for keeping them in a refrigerator.
Toxicity or Leaching
This one is a question many users have before they go ahead and buy silicone cookware, and with good reasons. Many materials seem to maintain their properties during temperature changes but have issues with leaching.
Therefore, we will talk about the possibilities of such cookware releasing toxic elements into your food. And if it does not (spoiler: it doesn’t leach), we’ll also briefly explain how it manages to do that.
- The first point we should know about silicone is that this material mainly contains silicon and oxygen. And the quality products use food-grade silicone, which is even better than the standard stuff.
Moreover, as you might know, silicon is a naturally-occurring chemical element. This metalloid is known to be the second most abundant element in the crust of planet earth.
- That information is crucial because it tells you that no toxic element is required to make silicone (unlike plastic). It’s not a completely natural material like rubber, but this non-toxic property is essential.
- Silicone is approved by the regulatory organizations (for instance, the FDA in the US or the MHRA in the UK) that test these materials. Research has found that food-grade silicone can be safe up to 500-degree Fahrenheit and temperatures below the freezing rate.
- Furthermore, any high-quality silicone is inert, meaning that it will not leach into your food. Not only that, it will not give off any odor or discolor over time, even if you use it under high-temperature situations.
From the details above, it should be pretty evident at this point that silicone cookware or bakeware does not pose any threat to you or your loved ones. And if it’s food-grade, then things go up one level higher in terms of quality.
Effects on Food’s Taste?
This bit is another one of those questions that reach around that same ballpark but have different implications. For instance, many people talk about the example of stainless steel affecting the food’s taste if you’re cooking something acidic.
As we have discussed earlier, this type of cookware does not have properties that would indicate the possibility of losing its stability under heat. Therefore, it won’t affect the taste of your food according to that same logic.
Not just that, you should also know that food-grade silicone cookware often comes with various compounds or agents that ensure your safety. And that’s why we can confidently say that cookware of this category will not affect you in any way.
Silicone vs. Other Cookware
Now that we know that silicone is safe to use even in the long term, we should talk a bit about whether it is still suitable for you or not. Moreover, we’ll show a brief comparison with the overall safety of other standard cookware.
Ideal for Nonstick Cookware
Here’s the thing – with nonstick products, silicone cookware is even better than wooden options in some cases. For instance, the most significant advantage you can gain is that these products will never scratch the surface of your pot or pan.
And this is crucial because it is of utmost importance that you try to keep the outer layer of nonstick pans intact. So, you can scrape it as much as you like with one of these products and still not cause any issues.
You might recall that silicone is non-porous. That means your silicone cookware won’t retain any elements even when using it for cooking comparatively acidic foods (such as tomato-based ones).
Not only that, that very property makes cleaning them much more manageable than anything else. Compared to something like a wooden spoon, it ensures there is no microbial growth (wood is porous; therefore, the possibility of such development is there to some extent).
Performance Compared to Various Metals
One of the unique silicone cookware properties is that it does not react to your food no matter what you are cooking. On the other hand, some metal utensils might respond to the food if it comes in contact with something acidic.
There is also the fact that silicone products will never corrode, whereas that possibility is present in some metal products. Therefore, it provides you with an even more extended use period without the headaches of any other products.
So, Who Wins the Battle?
As you can see, not only are these products safe by any standard, they perform even better than some of the tried and tested options in some cases. Of course, those options are still viable in their own measures, but silicone is a worthy alternative.
There you go – silicone cookware is safe to use. These products have become widely popular over the years, and deservingly so. And the only thing keeping many users from getting some of them was probably this uncertainty.
We have tried to respond to all the queries that users generally have when thinking of getting these products. There shouldn’t be any more obstructions to keep you from enjoying these nifty little things with those queries answered.