Plastic, and particularly single use plastic, causes great damage to our natural environment. Alarmed by this, people are turning to sustainable alternatives, such as bamboo. Bamboo replaces plastic in a wide variety of household items, including kitchen products. Read on to discover the best bamboo cooking utensils currently on the market.
Humans manufacture a whopping 300 million tons of plastic every year. “Yeah, but we recycle,” you say. Well, sadly, this is not the case for much of the plastic we use. In fact, we recycle less than 10% of the plastic produced each year. The vast majority is thrown away and ends up in our landfills, in our rivers, in our oceans. And frighteningly, in our bodies. If things don’t change, scientists predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than fish!
What can you do to help reduce plastic use?
Here at The Portion Queen, we believe that small changes can make a big difference and if more people begin making better choices, it will add up. Be aware of simple things and try to do them consistently. Examples include:
- Stop using single use plastic items, like drinking straws. Many restaurants now ban them. Encourage ones that still use them to stop.
- Take canvas bags to the grocery store and have your groceries packed into them.
- Buy more bulk foods and also foods and other goods that have less packaging.
- Purchase glass food storage containers instead of plastic ones. (This is also healthier for you personally, since some plastics can leach harmful chemicals into your food.)
- Begin to purchase non-plastic durable goods, such as bamboo cooking utensils.
Why bamboo cooking utensils?
Bamboo is super strong and durable, so much so that people in the biz call it “green steel.” But unlike steel, it is also very lightweight. And unlike both man-made plastic and steel, it is a natural product and is biodegradable. So, you can get multiple uses out of bamboo cooking utensils. And then when you are ready to dispose of them, they decompose back into the earth as nature intended. Bamboo is also naturally anti-bacterial, so it is a wonderful choice for cooking utensils or for any use that involves food.
Also, since bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet, it is highly sustainable. Bamboo absorbs 2x more carbon dioxide than trees. It also generates a vast amount of oxygen, about 30% more than most plants and trees. Additionally, bamboo helps protect biodiversity and endangered species by creating homes for a variety of living creatures. Bamboo also provides food for animals, including some cuddly residents of the bamboo forest that I'm sure you recognize!.
What are the best bamboo cooking utensils available today?
Here is a carefully curated list of bamboo cooking utensils that purchasers rate highly.
If I had to pick one item on this list that I cannot live without, it is this set of toast tongs. A friend of mine gave me a set for Christmas a couple of years ago, and at first, I couldn’t understand why. But the first time I used these babies to pluck a piece of scorching hot toast out of to the toasted, I was a convert. Game changer! No more burnt fingers. Ditto for turning bacon, without scraping non-stick plans or struggling to pick the pieces up. These reusable classic bamboo toast tongs pick up thin food items with ease. The surfaces of the toast tongs are smooth, the tongs are incredibly light and rebound to their original shape after you’ve released your toast. You pick one up here.
I like to keep one set of tongs for grabbing dry items and the other for wet items, like extracting pickle slices from a jar. They work brilliantly!
This is a great gift for the chef in your life (and maybe that’s you!) You may have seen Alton Brown using one for his Kosher salt on The Food Network, and with good reason. It’s a beautiful and functional vessel to store your cooking, finishing or specialty salts. It looks great with “Salt” laser etched into the lid. The lid shuts firmly closed with a magnetic lock and then swivels open easily with just one hand. The wide mouth also makes it so much easier to measure out an amount of salt into a measuring spoon (versus trying to measure from the spout on the salt box.) You might even want two: one for the table and one to keep close to you while you are cooking. You can purchase one here.
Heat resistant and easy to clean, this set of 25 bamboo and silicone kitchen utensils covers all of your needs from measuring to serving. The set includes: a whisk, basting brush, pasta spoon, silicon tongs, solid pancake flipper, slotted flipper, solid serving spoon, slotted serving spoon, baking spatula, round spatula and a deep soup ladle. Bonus items include a bamboo utensil holder, 5 measuring spoons, 5 measuring cups, 2 hot pot mats and a slotted spoon rest. The set comes in both green and gray.
Sometimes you just need a little scraper to get at the last bit of peanut butter in a jar. This is a terrific spatula set for those smaller tasks, and includes a mini spatula, mini basting brush, mini half spatula, mini spoon and mini pointed spatula. All have BPA-free food safe silicone heads and sustainable bamboo handles. The spatulas each are a different color and the set includes hook for hanging up. Use this set for all of your smaller baking and cooking needs, since the silicone spatulas are heat resistant up to 400° F.
In addition, these spatulas are easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Buy them here.
What is a spurtle, you ask? It’s a wooden Scottish kitchen tool, dating from the 15th century, and was traditionally used to stir porridge. The rod-like shape meant that porridge could be stirred without forming lumps, unlike a spoon, which would have a dragging effect during stirring. Made of bamboo for the modern day, this set consists of 5 different spurtles of varying sizes and designs along with a honey dipper and a fabric drawstring storage bag. The handles are smooth and easy to grip with no rough edges (or possible splinters) like other wooden utensils. Water and sauces bead up on the bamboo, so very little sticks when stirring or flipping food. Even dried rice comes off with just a wipe with a dry cloth. Buy it on Amazon here.
A great gift for dinner party hosts and also cheese lovers in your life. This set includes a narrow plane knife for chipping away at the block of cheese, a flat cheese knife for slicing aged cheeses, a cheese fork for picking up cut pieces of cheese, and a small spade for breaking off chunks of hard and dry cheeses like Parmesan. The ergonomic handles provide a comfortable grip. These cheese tools are of excellent quality and they are easy to clean with gentle hand washing. (As with most bamboo kitchen utensils, do not place these in the dishwasher.) Buy them here on Amazon.
This is a beautiful, lightweight, yet sturdy bamboo spoon. The large spoon surface is perfect for stir frying in a wok as well as for serving. It's safe for all of your cookware and strong enough and long enough to handle heavy meat needing to be stirred or turned in a deep pot. There are no ridges or grooves in the wood, which makes it super easy to clean. Durable, heat and stain resistant, many people find these bamboo cooking spoons superior to silicon (which can stain) or stainless steel (which can get hot). Available here on Amazon.