In this post I’m writing about some of the essential utensils and accessories needed in the kitchen of the 21st century.
Forth-three years ago, when I got my first microwave oven (Amana Radarange) there were NO accessories for microwave ovens.
During the decades since then, the number of gadgets, containers, accessories and so on have proliferated exponentially.
Some have been and still are very useful. Some have been a total bust, usually due to poor design and/or inadequate testing or poor quality materials.
Many products have proved to be superior and as the designers became more adept at understanding the way most people use these things, they have improved even more.
In recent weeks I’ve had some discussions with other people about silicone lids or spatter guards that are generally used only in the microwave.
Some companies produce items that are more versatile and can be used in a regular or convection oven, tolerating temperatures at least to 400° F.
I have several different types and find them to be very handy.
There are some that are a bit awkward to use so I do not use them as much as the others.
This is a photo of the lids I use most often.
The clear lids with the rigid plastic rims are for use only in the microwave, the others are all safe to use in a regular oven as long as not too near a heat element so use in a toaster oven is NOT advisable.
The opaque colored round lids are from MIU but similar products are produced by Progressive International, Orka and Norpro.
The large rectangular one, suitable for a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or pan is made by Lekue, who also makes square lids and a larger rectangle that would not fit in most microwave ovens but is ideal for covering large baking dishes in a standard oven.
This shows one of the clear lids, which is placed on a bowl and the center depressed so it forms a vacuum in the bowl. These work nicely to seal bowls that are going into the fridge for a short time. The seal will not hold for longer than thirty minutes or so, and the rim of the bowl has to be perfectly clean and dry.
I also have some Coverflex lids but for me they are awkward to use as I have arthritis in my hands and one needs a good grip to stretch them to fit containers. Other than that, they are an excellent product.
These “LilyPad” lids, by Charles Viancin, come in four sizes and are my favorites. They cling well to stainless steel, china, pottery, plastic and melamine.
I use them in both the microwave and my convection oven, especially to cover custards which develop ripples from the convection fan (always on in my oven) unless the surface is protected while still liquid.
The knobs on these are easier for me to grasp than most of the others and keeps my hand protected from any steam that may escape from the container when the cover is removed.
The smallest size is perfect for covering a mug or small dish.
I’ll have more to say about the other types, shapes and sizes in a future post.
Whatever the brand, size or shape, these are much easier to store than the domed type splatter guards. They can be slipped into a drawer or hung on hooks, handy to where they will be used.
I prefer to protect mine from whatever is floating around in the air so after being washed and dried (all but the clear ones are dishwasher safe) I store them in a jumbo plastic bag and hang them in the pantry.
This is just an example of how they are stored. The usual site is on one end of these metal storage racks.
Silicone is an amazing product. I have silicone bowls, steamer baskets, spatulas and spoons, graduated measures, baking mats, rolling pins and several types of baking molds.