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Do you have a collection of manky oven gloves? Have you ever burnt yourself on an oven side or stained a tea towel lifting a dish from the oven? Orka oven gloves are one of the most hygenic and amazing inventions to hit the kitchen.
*** What is it? ***
The Orka oven mitt/glove is a large 100% silicone mitt that you slide your hand into. It goes quite far up the forearm and is quite roomy/baggy. The inside surface that covers your fingers and thumb has ridges for grip, the rest of the glove is either smooth (the original design) or comes with some ribbed rings (said to be more flexible and called the Orka Flex). The photo above is of the original design, more commonly available. The original design can now also be purchased with a cotton liner inside for comfort (called the Orka Plus). This is a removeable inner glove. As mine are older I can't comment on that liner.
The price is around £10-15 for one mitt. It is available in supermarkets now as well as specialist kitchen retailers and online stores.
It comes in a range of cheerful colours. Blue is most common but the raspberry pink (pictured) looks gorgeous and I've also seen deep red.
*** What is good about it? ***
It is heatproof to 480 degrees farenheight or 250 degrees centigrade (the new Orka plus has higher ratings). This means it is superb for all every day cooking.
It is basically indestructable. I have had mine for over 10 years and have managed to make only one mark on the silicone where I laid it on the induction hob during cooking and it got a patch of mild discolouration.
It is ambidexterous so fits either hand equally well (due to the loose baggy fit!).
You can throw it in the dishwasher, washing up bowl or washing machine to keep it clean. This is a major improvement as it means when you wash up at the end of the meal you can wash this up too. No more grotty stains or unhygenic oven gloves. A quick scrub with the dishes and it looks like new. If you are washing it by hand, as I do, it is best to use a brush to clean the ridges out throughly - they are a fiddle with a dishcloth and impossible with a sponge.
The length protects you when reaching into the oven from burning yourself on the side or shelf edges.
As it is silicone it is waterproof so can be used with hot liquids as well as solids.
*** What is not so good about it? ***
It is a bit baggy, so you have to get used to how loose it feels (some of them now appear to come in different sizes, but most stores stock a standard one size is baggy for everyone).
You still have to be careful to get a good grip when lifting dishes - the thick silicone does tend to reduce your dexterity to a noticeable extent.
I still feel the heat through it when cooking, so be prepared for that.