Are you the recent owner of a Crock Pot, toaster oven, air fryer, or Instant Pot/pressure cooker? Congratulations!!!
These recent cooking innovations are exciting new areas of kitchen appliances! They make cooking more accessible to everyone.
Less time in the kitchen, AND delicious food prepared while relaxing?!? Sign me up!!
These modern innovations boast a full line of benefits that we can all enjoy. Cooking quicker and easier without loosing the quality of food appeals to all.
But, BEWARE - there can be a hidden downside to these time-saving appliances. Many of them generate a significant amount of heat.
We can't really fault the appliance, that IS what we buy them for, right?! Cooking food requires heat...
BUT, the heat can do permanent damage to your expensive counter tops (depending on the counter material). Unless, you've been proactive in protecting them...
We've done the research and found:
There are three primary ways to protect your counter from "cracking under pressure".
1. A silicone pad the same size as, or slightly larger than, the appliance you are using. Silicone pads are lightweight, heat resistant, and easy to clean. Many people simply submerge them in soapy water to clean them when they finish. Their affordability and availability makes these a consumer favorite.
The downside this lightweight, convenient mat is that, although the heat might not damage the silicone, it can often pass significant heat through to the counter. This renders your new silicone mat useless as it fails to do its' one job.
In reading reviews of silicone heat resistant mats for sale, we found that many consumers are unhappy with the quality of the mats they receive. However, this remains a highly popular option as one can roll the mat up for easy storage.
If you choose to buy a silicone counter mat, read the reviews carefully to make sure you are purchasing a quality product.
2. Metal counter mats with non-slip backing. Here is a metal counter mat with a non-slip backing available in both silver and copper color. Unlike the silicone mats, you cannot trim them to fit a certain space or appliance. BUT, they come in various sizes.
These do a great job of protecting counters or serving as a trivet on furniture. Reviewers state that these are easy to clean and very durable.
If you are looking for something to place on your counter top and forget about, this is your best option.
Some of our staff have used these for several years under their coffee pots and other heat-generating kitchen appliances. They simply wipe them down when washing their other surfaces.
For long-term use, these are our favorite option.
3. A wooden cutting board. Simply place your wooden cutting board underneath your toaster oven or other small appliance. This is something most people already have on hand, and saves time and money.
This solution adds a little bit of height to the appliance, but works well. You do need to check periodically to see if the cutting board needs mineral oil applied to keep it from drying out and cracking. The heat from the appliance can dry the board out quicker than usual. But, if you are looking for something to use short-term, this is a great option!
Of course, much of the choice here is up to individual aesthetic taste. Are you a wood-look lover and want to showcase your acacia cutting board? Would you rather cover your counters with a thin black mat in a low-profile design? Or do you like a little class and style without being too gaudy?
The choice is up to you, but choose you must. These heat-generating appliances were designed to increase enjoyment in the kitchen, not stress. So, protect your counter and cook away with peace of mind.
By Robby Richardson