Eating With Old Silverware
Silverware is cutlery that is made of silver. In Western countries, silverware includes a knife, a spoon, a fork, and eating implements like a knork, a spork, and a spife—combinations of all the earlier mentioned cutlery.
Many are still collecting silverware, and some of them are asking if it is safe to eat using the old silverware they have.
Is it safe to eat with old silverware? Yes, silver is considered safe to use for drinking and eating. In fact, you can eat silver. But, check your antique silverware for lead, as it can cause health problems. Those that are hallmarked, though, are rarely alloyed with lead.
Your question regarding the safety of using old silverware will be answered in this post.
If you are using silverware at home, you can also learn how to take care of it below.
Is It Safe?
Many families, especially in Western countries, claim that they have been eating off silverware for over 30 years old, and they feel fine.
Some even confessed that their silverware is an inheritance from their grandparents.
If the silverware is pure silver, then it is 100% safe. The reason is that silver is not toxic.
However, no silverware is made of 100% pure silver. As mentioned earlier, other metals are incorporated with silver to make it sturdy.
These metals are the ones that might cause you trouble.
Old pewter silverware covered in copper and electroplated with silver is safe to use because pewter does not tarnish.
Even if it tarnishes, silverware with either silver or copper has no adverse effect on one’s health. Just don’t eat any acidic food with that kind of silverware because it will attract lead into your food.
Exposure to high lead levels can cause many different health conditions, including weakness, anemia, brain damage, kidney damage, or worse, death.
To ensure that your silverware is safe to eat with, buy a lead test kit from the hardware store.
It takes only about 30 seconds to tell whether your silverware contains lead. The lead test paper will become dark purple or pink if lead is present in your silverware.
After conducting the test, make sure to wash the silverware with clean water to remove any residual chemicals from the test.
Foods That Are Not Safe to Eat Using Silverware
As mentioned earlier, you cannot eat all the foods you want using your silverware.
The reason is that some foods cause discoloration and leave an unpleasant taste because of the sulfur that those foods contain.
Among the foods that you should not eat using silver are caviar and eggs.
Eggs contain nitrogen that silver also reacts to, forming poisonous silver nitrate.
Here are a few foods containing high levels of sulfur:
- Peanut butter
- Dairy foods such as Parmesan, cheddar, whole eggs, cow’s milk, and gorgonzola
- Spices and condiments like ground ginger, curry powder, mustard, marmite, and horseradish
Besides sulfur-rich foods, you should avoid eating foods with high nitrogen content like tofu and soy-based proteins.
If the alloy on your silverware is lead, that could be a problem. However, old hallmarked silver is seldom alloyed with lead.
For instance, sterling silver is alloyed with copper, which does not negatively affect the body.
Consuming silver itself is not harmful. In fact, people in many countries around the world consume food that is decorated with silver leaf.
On the other hand, silver salts can be dangerous when consumed.
Silver vs. Other Materials Used for Flatware
Compared to other materials used to make flatware, silver is safer. It might spoil the taste of specific foods, but it is generally safer to eat or drink with.
This element contains natural antibacterial properties and is non-toxic to humans.
Some experts believe that it is typical for aristocracies to have longer lifespans because they use tableware made of silver.
People are also interested in knowing whether they can use silverware every day.
The answer is yes, you can. Silverware is safe to use daily. Meanwhile, most antique silverware owners use their silverware only during special occasions.
Reasons Not to Throw Away Your Old Silverware
If you are not comfortable using the old silverware you got from your grandparents, here are some ways to repurpose it.
You can also apply the same ideas to the silverware you bought from an antique shop. Check them out:
- Starburst Mirror – This idea is beautiful. Transform your old silverware into a mirror by ornamenting a round mirror with old cutlery.
- Cabinet Handles – Another way to repurpose your old silverware is by making it into cabinet handles. Stick one old silver spoon to one cabinet door and a silver fork to the other.
- Silverware Hooks – Your old silver spoons can become aesthetically functional by serving as hooks on which to hang your bags or jacket.
How Do You Clean a Badly Tarnished Silver Plate?
Boil one piece of aluminum foil, one liter of water, and one tablespoon of baking soda in a pot.
Place the silverware in the pot for around 10 seconds, or longer if necessary. Use kitchen tongs to remove the silverware from the pot. That’s it!
How Do You Care for Silverware?
Using warm soapy water, wash the silverware as soon as you finish eating, as the salt from food can cause corrosion.
Afterward, rinse off the soap completely before drying.
Always dry your silverware completely before storing and don’t utilize bleach or harsh scouring agents. Also, never leave your silverware inside the dishwasher.
To conclude, silver might be generally recognized as safe to use for eating or drinking, but it is still best to conduct a lead test before using it.
Old silverware with tarnish also needs cleaning before being placed back into your tableware cabinet.
If you love silver tableware, you must make sure that your tableware does not contain lead. Grab some lead test kits at the hardware store to test your silverware today.