For many people, this might be the first time they are learning about bamboo utensils. Yes, there are various companies making bamboo utensils that can replace your existing stainless-steel utensils. For years, we have known utensils to be either steel or wood. When bamboo utensils were introduced, it became intriguing to use them in our kitchen. They performed quite well and seemed to be better in some aspects. Well, that is why we want to look at bamboo vs. stainless steel utensils in this guide.
Pros and Cons of Bamboo Utensils
The most common problem with stainless steel utensils is that they get scratched easily. That does not happen when you opt for bamboo utensils. They are soft and gentle on various cooking surfaces. No more worries about them getting scratched even if you wash them aggressively.
As much as steel can be molded into various designs, there is no doubt bamboo designs for utensils are better. This means that you end up with the best-looking utensils in the kitchen. You can proudly display them in the kitchen for your friends to see each time they come into your home.
Depending on the company making the bamboo utensils, sometimes it is possible to have custom made utensils with a unique design.
They do not conduct heat
Each time you leave your metallic spoon on a hot pan for a minute or so, it becomes hard to touch it as it conducts heat. That should not be a worry with bamboo utensils as they do not conduct heat. As a result, such utensils are great for dishes that require a lot of stirring such as risottos and soups.
Bamboo material is a natural resource. Opting for such products is ideal as the bamboo material is biodegradable. Considering that bamboo material grows faster than trees, switching to bamboo utensils can save cutting down of trees to make wooden utensils.
The best part is that bamboo utensils are safe for your food as they do not react when heated. The same cannot be said for plastic utensils.
Since bamboo material itself is affordable, the resulting utensils are also affordable. You can get many utensils made of bamboo on the same budget as fewer metal utensils.
Safe for non-stick cooking surface
Metal utensils are not the best for non-stick cooking surfaces as they tend to scratch these surfaces. You will not experience the same problems with bamboo utensils. The non-stick cooking surface remains intact for longer.
Stain and odor resistant
Bamboo material appeals to many people because it is odor and stain resistant. Unlike metallic utensils which you might have to deal with stains, that does not happen with bamboo products. They do not absorb odors and thus remain odor resistant for longer as compared to some other materials.
They can break
There is no escaping the fact that bamboo material is not as strong as stainless steel. If you do not take good care of your utensils, then they can easily break.
Not easily available
If you are looking to buy bamboo utensils, the chances are that you might have to take longer to get them. This is because such utensils are not easily available in various stores in your area. Sometimes you might have to buy them online.
Most are not dishwasher safe
Washing bamboo utensils is not the easiest job. You need to wash them in your sink. This is because most are not dishwasher safe. Using a dishwasher might crack or split your utensils.
Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Utensils
Impressive heat transfer
The reason why stainless steel utensils are popular is because of the heat transfer. This can be ideal when you use the utensil as cookware. We cannot say the same for bamboo utensils as they do not do well when in direct contact with a heat source.
To enhance the heat transfer of stainless steel, sometimes manufacturers combine it copper and aluminum. You now end up with a cooking surface that has a better heat transfer. This will make cooking food to be faster as compared to other materials.
For anyone who is worried about the environment, you do not need to worry about stainless steel. This is because more than half of the stainless steel utensils right now are made from recycled metal scraps. Metal can be recycled many times, ensuring that there are not dumped into the environment.
Also, whenever metal is melted, it can be molded into various shapes with ease.
Easy to clean
Remember when we said that cleaning bamboo utensils is not the easiest? Well, it is the opposite when you are using metal utensils. Cleaning them in your dishwasher should be possible unless stated otherwise. Also, you can clean them with a stainless steel cleaner to help maintain their look.
Bamboo utensils might need more care to keep them looking good, but stainless steel utensils are generally easy to maintain.
Bamboo material is not as strong and durable as stainless steel. When handling bamboo utensils, you might be worried they might break, so you would take great care. As for stainless steel utensils, they are sturdy and strong. This makes them durable for various applications you might think of in your kitchen.
Corrosion and rust resistant
Stainless steel should remain corrosion and rust resistant for long. Even if the utensils are exposed to an environment that causes rust on metals, that will not happen to your stainless steel utensils. Other materials such as nitrogen, chromium, and nickel added to the metal help to keep it from corroding.
Other than being corrosion resistant, these utensils are still dent, stains, and ding resistant.
Each store that is selling utensils for your kitchen will have stainless steel utensils as their main product. Unlike bamboo utensils, it is easy to see that stainless steel utensils are easily available. No more worrying about making special orders for your utensils.
The price of stainless steel utensils will vary largely with the grade and level. It is why you can see so much discrepancy in the price of such utensils. You can always expect that high-quality utensils to be more expensive. As much as they are expensive, expect such utensils to serve you for longer.
Some cases of heavy metal poisoning
To make stainless steel utensils, some manufacturers have to use heavy metals such as chromium and nickel. If these metals leach into your food, they can cause heavy metal poisoning. Make sure that you learn more about the utensils you are about to buy.
Easy to get scratches
When you are using metal utensils against each other, sometimes they will scratch each other. The resultant is a heavily scratched utensil over the months. You might want to consider combining bamboo and stainless steel utensils to avoid scratches.
How to Care for Bamboo Kitchen Tools
Bamboo utensils might need additional care as compared to stainless steel utensils. With proper care, it should be easy to keep your bamboo utensils lasting for a long time.
Prior to using
For most bamboo utensils, you would get them untreated from the manufacturer. To help them last longer, consider sealing and conditioning the utensils with food-grade mineral oil. Rub the oil on the utensils with a clean rag. Make sure that the oil gets into all the areas of the bamboo utensil.
Here is a video with more details on how to oil your utensils
Once you have applied the oil to the utensils, do not use them just yet. Give them up to 24 hours for the oil to set.
Some might ask, what is the role of the oil? Once applied, the oil forms a protective layer around the utensil so that it can repel water, prevent possible cases of splitting, and gives your utensil a smooth finish.
Washing bamboo utensils
It is never wise to wash your bamboo utensils in a dishwasher. This is because the heat in the washer will remove the oil coating and still lead to warping. For those who soak their bamboo utensils, they might also experience the same case of warping.
So, what should you do? It is best to wash your bamboo utensils in the sink. Most manufacturers of these utensils will give you the correct procedures to keep your utensils looking good and clean.
To prevent staining, you should clean the utensils after use. Do not leave the utensils soaking in the food waste. With a spatula, scrap off the remaining food waste from the utensil and wash it in running water. As suggested earlier, do not leave the utensil in water more than necessary.
Removing stubborn stains
As much as you might be keen to keep the stains away from your bamboo utensils, sometimes it is not possible. When this happens, you might be tempted to use chemical cleaning agents to clean the food stains. Do not do that, but rather follow these steps to remove the stain.
- Use coarse salt or baking soda
- Start by covering the stained area with coarse salt. Rub the salt into the area with a sponge. Add more salt and keep rubbing until the stain is out.
- If you are using baking soda, then rub it into the stain just as you did with the coarse salt. Give it a few minutes before rinsing off the baking soda. You could repeat the same process until the stain comes out.
Deodorizing bamboo utensils
Sometimes you would want your bamboo utensils smelling good. To do this, it would be best if you sprinkle salt and squeeze lemon on the utensils. Leave the mixture on the utensils for a few hours and rinse the utensils. The few hours are important for the mixture to penetrate the bamboo dealing with any other odors. It is why you would not find bamboo utensils having odors when you can deodorize them.
Restoring the surface
After using your bamboo utensil for months or years, you will notice is finish is not as smooth as it used to be. When this happens, you can always restore the surface with a few simple tricks.
- One of the top choices would be to use a sheet of fine sandpaper. Proceed to re-sand the surface until it achieves the best smooth surface as before.
- If your utensil such as a cutting board has warped, submerge it in warm water for a few hours. Then, place it on a flat surface and add a flat object over it. This will help to bring the cutting board back to its original shape.
Can I wash my bamboo utensils in the dishwasher?
We do not recommend that you wash your bamboo utensils in a dishwasher. This will make them wear out faster. Some might run the washer on the mild cycle, which would keep these utensils looking good for longer, but it is best to wash them in your sink.
Is it a must to oil bamboo utensils?
No. It is not a must to oil your bamboo utensils, but oiling them can help extend their lifespan. Oiling also helps to keep them in great condition even if you keep using them for longer. It is not a hard process and it can be done in a few minutes.
Can you reuse bamboo utensils?
Yes. They are just like many other utensils. It is possible to reuse them as much as you want. With proper care, expect these utensils to last you for years without having to replace them easily.
Are bamboo utensils good for our environment?
The bamboo material as we know is a biodegradable material. Even if you decide to dispose the utensils, you do not have to worry about the environment. Still, bamboo is a fast-growing plant, so replenishing bamboo utensils should be easy as compared to wood utensils.
If you are looking for the best utensils for your kitchen, you might want to consider the bamboo utensils. They have proven over time to be reliable and can make your kitchen look better too while on display. It is important that you know how to properly care for such utensils. As much as they are good, consider also getting stainless steel utensils too. They can be used where bamboo utensils cannot apply.