Silicone: cooks gotta love this stuff! Consider all the fabulous products made of silicone that have popped up in kitchen stores lately. There’s more than hotpads and trivets; it includes products completely off your radar like the Fusionbrands Silicone Foodpod.
You have to admit a foodpod is weird-looking: it kind of looks like a jellyfish or a collapsed balloon, with a stem like a gourd. It forms a pumpkin-like ball about six inches across and three tall; made out of yellow silicon film. The “stem” is maybe six inches long with a fat hook at the end.
Take off the top (the part with the stem) to reveal an opening three inches across. Opening and closing is simple; the top is a plastic disk with three prongs that fit into reinforced holes around the opening. The pod’s surface is dotted with holes, some of them up to one inch in size. When full, the pod fits comfortably into a 3-qt saucepan, but it can fit into a smaller pot if only partially full. Full capacity is about 1¾ quart, enough for a dozen eggs.
The foodpod is intended for use when blanching or boiling greens, eggs, potatoes and similar foods. Since the holes are pretty big it isn’t much use with small vegetables like peas. We use our foodpod for hardboiling eggs and blanching green beans and snap peas. Smaller pieces tend to leak out the holes and get loose in the water, so we keep a skimmer handy. That hook on the “stem” clips on the rim of the pot or on a bail-type handle, or sticks out of small pans. It doesn’t get hot, even when the pod’s in boiling water. The multiple, different-sized holes let water circulate, and we use the long arm to swirl our pod in the hot water, then we pull it out and let the water drain off.
Silicone doesn’t pick up color or flavor by coming in contact with foods, and it’s certainly safe to clean in the dishwasher. We find it a useful tool, although definitely not essential.
A foodpod is simple to use: you just fill it, close the lid, and dunk pod and all in hot or boiling water. When done, you haul it out with that handle. The excess water drains off quickly except perhaps with leafy greens. I’d probably like it more if the holes on the bottom were smaller, but I can ignore an occasional escapee if my fingertips aren’t singed as often.