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Flippers

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 | Tags: , , ,

Turner, spatula, flipper. Whatever you call it, it's an essential kitchen tool. Who knew that such a simple tool could have so many different designs and features? We found that out when we took four flippers for a test run at our local greasy spoon.

The Basics

Flippers are made from a variety of materials including stainless steel, nylon, wood, and silicone. They also come in many different sizes, shapes, handle lengths, and even colours.

First, consider what kind of food you are cooking. You may actually want to buy more than one flipper to accomplish different tasks:

  • For turning omelettes, pancakes, fish, and even for lifting lasagna, look for a rectangle-shaped spatula with a longer (4-6″) blade.

  • For greasy or drippy items, a slotted turner allows liquids to drip through and stay in the pan.

  • For delicate items like fried eggs, chose a solid spatula that is thin enough to get underneath the food so you can avoid ripping them and can move them from pan to plate in one piece.

Next, consider your cookware:

  • For non-stick surfaces, choose a nylon, wood, or silicone material.

    • Note that silicone’s features should state that it is good for non-stick surfaces and can withstand temperatures from at least 200C/400F and even up to 500C/900F.

    • Look for pure silicone with no fillers to ensure your utensil is truly non-stick and won’t break down. Do a twist test before buying: when you twist it, make sure there are no white strands showing in the material. If so, there are too many additives and it won’t last.

    • Wood flippers aren’t as thin or flexible as nylon or silicone. Make sure they’re sanded smooth so that there is no chance you’ll get splinters in your food. They should also be made from one solid piece of wood so that food and bacteria don’t get caught in the seams. (Always remember to never put wood in the dishwasher, nor let it soak in water. It’s best to wash and dry your wooden tools right away by hand to prevent bacteria growth.)

  • For grills and metal cookware (like cast iron, copper, stainless steel), look for a stainless steel flipper.

    • You still need to be careful, however, because you can scratch your pots and pans if you press too hard.

    • Check for a stamp on the back of the stainless steel utensil that says 18/8 or 18/10. The first number is the chromium content, and the second is nickel. The higher the nickel number, the shiner the finish and the more durable the flipper will be.

TEST CRITERIA

We took our test flippers to a legendary North Vancouver landmark, the Tomahawk Restaurant, and recruited some expert short order cooks to help us with our evaluation. We tested:

  • Trudeau Slotted Nylon Turner with Rest Handle: $10.99
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • OXO Good Grips Silicone-Coated Flex Pancake Turner: $11.98
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Beaumark Stainless Steel Turner: $10.99
. . The Bay
  • All Clad Stainless Steel Large Slotted Turner: $35
. . Cookworks.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Flipping Test

We fried up some breakfast favourites including pancakes, bacon, and eggs to test out our flippers.

  • The Oxo silicone had good weight to it, but was too short. The blade itself was huge so it was great for picking up pancakes, but it was also too thick so it made it hard to get under the eggs without ripping them.

  • The Trudeau nylon felt a bit too light compared to the others, but had a good length. We were also fans of the rest handle feature, which allows you to hook it onto the pot or pan when you’re not using it, instead of messing up your counter.

  • The Beaumark stainless steel had a nice, thin edge, which made it easy to get under all of the food. We also liked the length of this one too.

  • The All-Clad was good for flipping omelettes and one of our chefs loved the length, but the rest of us thought it was a bit on the long side.

OUR TOP PICK

We definitely think you’ll need more than one flipper in your kitchen toolkit, especially if you have non-stick pans. We liked the Beaumark stainless steel flipper (from The Bay) best for its length and blade thinness, and the Trudeau nylon turner for our non-stick pans.

 

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