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Poach pod - Green
I love poached eggs. They are simply the best way to eat an egg. Yummy. I want one now! But what I don't love is making them. I have tried all the different techniques from swirling the water to adding vinegar and sometimes it works perfectly and sometimes it doesn't and I end up with a pot completely covered in separated egg white. I just don't like making poached eggs, or at least I didn't until I stumbled across the Poach Pod, which is a flexible silicone cooking tool that allows you to make a good poached egg every time and without near as much fuss.
The Poach Pod is a simple piece of equipment, it really is just a curved shaped piece of silicone that allows you to poach an egg while keeping it all together. Using it is also fairly straightforward - all you need to do is grease the inside (I use a sunflower oil spray) plop the egg into the pod then place the Poach Pod into a pot of boiling water - it does take a few attempts to get the timing right for your personal egg preferences, but there really isn't anything overly complicated about the Poach pod. Then you use a spoon and slide the poached egg onto your plate or awaiting buttered roll. Yes, the egg might not look as appealing as a natural poached egg because it does take on the curved shape of the silicone holder but it tastes just as nice.
If I am honest I am the type of person that tends to avoid gimmicky kitchen gadgets, because I just don't like to use quite a few of the ones that I have tried. I like to cook from scratch, but I also like to do it as simply as possible and I usually rely on fairly standard equipment. But the Poach Pod really has made it into my must have list of kitchen items, because with them I really do get a fairly good poached egg with minimal fuss and hardly any mess. Yes they might be a tad gimmicky but they deliver results time after time and make it far simpler to make poached eggs.
The Poach Pod's are microwave safe (although I have never tested this) and dish washer safe. But I wouldn't recommend using them in the dishwasher, as I have tried and they never seem to clean all that well. They are, however, really easy to just wash by hand and take no time to dry before they can be used again.
I bought my Poach Pod's (you get two in one packet) initially from Dunelm Mill but I have seen them on Amazon as well as in some supermarkets and they usually retail for around £5.
Just as a side note - I have found that when using the Poach Pod's you are best to either cook the eggs with the pot lid on or what I usually do is submerge the Poach pod into the boiling water after a few moments to make sure that you get an even cook, rather than over cooking the egg by trying to make sure the white is cooked on top. It can be a bit of trail and error to begin with but I now more or less get the egg exactly as I like it the majority of times - as long as I don't get distracted!
I really don't have any negative remarks to make about the Poach Pod, therefore it gets the full five out of five stars from me and comes highly recommended.
I have eyed the recent plethora of silicon based cooking moulds with suspicion ever since I noticed them in the shops. You cannot miss them, they are often garish and fluorescent and look like rejects from an Anne Summers catalogue.
I am old school when it comes to food preparation . I like to cook with enamel and pyrex pots and cast iron pans and glazed casseroles, none of this new fangled silicon malarkey. I like trivets and old salter scales, ancient measuring jugs and crackled cobalt roasters. These just look so "plastic".
So what the heck is silicon cookware anyway?
Silicone cookware is made from silicone rubber which is created from a mix of bonded silicone and oxygen. When heat is applied the silicone and oxygen mix it can be made into any shape you want it seems including cake cases, cake pans and spatulas. Some tools will have silicon rubber added via injection moulding. Now I know that silicon is a naturally occurring element but the cookware that I have seen looks anything but in its fluorescent colours and funny shapes... luckily for me the "Poach Pod" is a muted green colour.
THE GOOD SIDE:
Silicone cookware is tolerant of both heat and cold and amazingly can be used in the oven at temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit. Whereas glass, enamel and steel cookware must be cooled first, it is stated that silicone can be placed directly into the freezer from the oven (although I would not do this as it will reduce the efficiency of the freezer and partially defrost any food it touches). Silicone bake ware is microwave safe and easy to clean, no more scraping bits of cake or bread from stubborn metal pans. Silicone is not toxic to aquatic or soil organisms, it is not hazardous waste, and although not biodegradable, it can be recycled.
Sounds great so far....
Is is safe?
There is a lot of info about this on the net so I will only touch on it here.
Silicone rubber is "considered" to be non reactive and inert. The FDA state that silicon "does not emit fumes, leech into food, or pose any health risks". However this is contradicted on the internet where you will find multiple reports of silicon leaking during use. There are also reports that silicon can and has emitted an odour when used which have seemingly been traced back to fillers used in the finished product. You can check for fillers by twisting the mould/ item and if you see any white or light colour then throw it away it because it means that fillers have been used. Buy from reputable manufacturers rather than pound shops to minimise the risk of this. Ultimately, the use of silicone in cookware is fairly new and there has been minimal research completed into its safety for food use. So it is your call.
AND SO ON TO THE "POACH POD"
I bought three of these in Sainsburys for £15.00. Wary of silicone for food use, I wanted them for making soap and melting candle wax. Although they are not listed as being suitable for this purpose they have been excellent. I did use the third one that I purchased to melt chocolate and it melted evenly without burning in a bain marie.
The comments made about silicone being easy to clean are certainly true and this is no exception. The cutely named Poach pod is a funny looking thing, made from green soft and pliable silicone. Designed to hold an egg safe for poaching (hence the name) and also useful for melting chocolate and steaming, the Poach pod is a user friendly squashed cup shaped item which can be used in water (bain marie) or the microwave.
They float about a bit when used in a saucepan of water which I imagine works fine for eggs but when making candles you do not want water in the wax at all so I did have to ensure that they did not bob around too much when the water boiled. They have little holes in the shaped top so that you can remove the pod safely which is a nice idea but I did find them a little unstable generally. They are also quite small, perfect egg size I guess but not too useful unless cooking for one. Measurements are 8cm high by 10cm diameter. They are lightweight, weighing in at just 37g and are made in China.
The silicone in these appears to be good quality and passed the "twist test" to check for fillers. The colour (green) is stable and level throughout and no colour or deposits came off in the water.
Of course these could be used in a traditional oven too but I will not be bothering to do this as I have a fetish for vintage enamel and shiny crocks. Silicone is wobbly and unlike a stable cake tin will need much more support when removing it from the oven. It is recommended that you place any silicone bake ware on a tray to minimise the instability. Despite this, the material is strong and you can stretch it all you like but it will not change shape.
Microwave, oven and dishwasher safe.
Easy to clean
Can be frozen
Not enough research done on safety in food use
Cheaper versions can leak oil or dye
Useful for poaching eggs, fish etc.
Worked well for chocolate melting and soap making but a bit too wobbly for melting candles.
"These clever little pods are perfect for poaching eggs baking flans and cakes or moulding chocolates. They are made from heat resistant silicone (to about 350°C) making them flexible non-stick and perfect for the oven or for poaching. These cute little kitchen additions come in a fresh green colour. They float in water to keep your eggs in tact when poaching. Microwave and dishwasher safe."