Food grade silicone is a type of silicone that is safe for use with foods. The silicone is used frequently in making molds to use for food that begin as liquids and solidify. It is nontoxic; does not stain food, dishes or cookware; is easily removed from cast objects; and is safe for use on various plastic objects.
Food grade silicone is often used to make molds of nonfood items for later use as molds to cast food items into the shape of the initial nonfood item. The molds are used for making shapes out of chocolates, butter, gelatin, cheese and candies. Food grade silicone is also used in food processing and packaging to keep foods from coming into contact with unsanitary surfaces while being transported across assembly lines. Hunters and butchers use lubricant food grade silicone to prevent rusting in grinding and cutting machines because it is safe for consumption.
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Food grade silicone can be found in various forms to make it more practical for the different uses and jobs it is capable of taking on. Found in a tube, food grade silicone often resembles cake icing and can be squeezed onto the objects to be molded. It may also be found as a thinner liquid, which will need to be mixed and then poured over the cast objects. Some food grade silicone can be found in a thick consistency much like clay; this type is used for small, typically flat objects that can be pressed into the silicone to create the mold. Another form of food grade silicone is the aerosol or liquid form used primarily as a lubricant in food packaging and to protect the food from introduction to toxic or unclean conditions.
Food grade silicone, as an aerosol or liquid, is flammable when exposed to direct flame, so this type should be avoided in applications requiring such exposure. Food grade silicone in clay-like form and those used to make molds are registered for safe use in temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Users should read specific instructions for each type in order to use them properly and without problems.
The amount of time it takes food grade silicone to solidify for use as a mold depends on the type of silicone (poured, squeezed from tube or clay-like) and the brand of silicone. Many will set in just a few hours, while others will take only a few minutes. Some may need to set in room temperature, while others can be placed in the freezer for quicker setting.
Costing approximately $20 per pound, food grade silicone used for molds may sound incredibly expensive. If one considers the fact that the mold created will last several years and is stretchable for easy removal, then the initial cost sounds more like a wonderful investment. Virtually any small object for use in candy making can be cast using only a few ounces of food grade silicone.