What is a Spatula?

If people are asked if they have a spatula in their kitchen, most are so quick to answer yes. But really, what is a spatula? Are you sure that you have one at home?

A spatula is a very important tool in the kitchen, whether it is at home or in commercial food establishments. Some people may not realize its importance right away but it is a handy tool that can resolve a lot of kitchen issues.

A spatula is sometimes called as a palette knife too. Contrary to other types of knives, this does not have a sharp edge or a blade because it is not designed for cutting or chopping. It is flat, flexible and wide. The tip is also rounded so it could not poke or scratch.

Spatula Materials

The main reason why some people are confused when identifying a spatula is because there is a myriad of materials that are used in making this kitchen tool. Metal spatulas are the more traditional ones. These are still recommended these days because it is highly durable. Those which are made of thin sheet of metal are flexible enough but not flimsy. To make them easy to use, metal spatulas also have heat-proof handles.

Another traditional material for spatula is wood. Some people prefer to use this because it does not take a lot of effort to lift them and it would not conduct heat.

There are also plastic spatulas these days. These are excellent because they are lightweight. However, it is not recommended for high-heat cooking. Sometimes, plastic spatulaspatulas have the tendency to melt if it is used for stirring hot food.

These days, silicone and rubber spatulas are becoming more and more popular. These are the ones which are specifically designed not to scratch pots and pans, especially the ones that are made of non-stick surface or Teflon. Silicon and rubber spatulas are great too since the material would not melt even if it touches extremely hot surface.

Spatula Designs and Uses

The shapes of spatulas vary depending on its use. Some are square or rectangular in shape while others are elongated. Usually, spatulas are also perforated, especially the ones which are used for cooking. That way, other wet ingredients or oil would not get stuck on its surface. Spatulas with holes are great for frying

The spatulas which do not have holes are often used for mixing and folding ingredients because it is more efficient. These are perfect especially for baking because the ingredients are blended much easier. When applying icing on a cake, it is ideal to use a spatula without holes too.

Buying a Spatula

It is not a bad thing to have several types of spatula in your kitchen. After all, the different designs have various uses. When picking the right one, you should consider how you intend to use it. Is it for baking, cooking or flipping pancakes? Consider the type of bowls, pots and pans that you have too because some require a specific type of mixing tool so that it would not be damaged. If you are opting for the ones with slanted tips and you are left handed, better check if the slant works for you too.

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