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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cooking Q & A / Safe alternatives to aluminum foil?
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    Safe alternatives to aluminum foil?

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    Stargazer43
    Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:27 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have a question. So when I cook, my least favorite part of the process is the cleaning! I frequently use aluminum foil to line the pan, and sometimes to wrap the food in, since then cleanup is a breeze and I can just throw away the foil. However, I have recently seen reports in medical journals that cooking with aluminum foil causes the aluminum to leech into the food, and that doing it frequently can cause harmful levels to accumulate in your body.

    So, I am looking for other alternatives that achieve the same function. Are parchment/wax paper safer alternatives? Anyone have any other suggestions?
    Zeldaz
    Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:15 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I love parchment! I just put a tray of Brussels sprouts and grapes in the oven to roast on a tray lined with parchment. But if you are against using things like Teflon, you won't want to use it. Aluminum only reacts with acidic foods like tomatoes and wine and fruit, and even then it takes some time to do that. Another consideration when using foil is the environmental impact of using a product made of bauxite ore from mines, which is then smelted and refined, causing air pollution and water use, and which is then tossed into the landfills after being trashed. Recyclers don't accept it if it's contaminated, and it takes even more water to clean it up. Actually, that's the reason I stopped lining pans with it.
    You might also want to avoid buffered aspirin and some antacids if you are concerned about aluminum.
    Dee514
    Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:11 pm
    Forum Host
    I'm curious Zeldaz, what do you wrap fresh (or leftover) meats in to protect them from freezer burn?
    DrGaellon
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:02 am
    Food.com Groupie
    If your kidneys are working normally, you really can't accumulate enough aluminum to cause any damage. Aluminum foil is quite safe when used appropriately - though, as Zeldaz points it, it's not very eco-friendly.
    Chicagoland Chef du Jour
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:50 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Dee514 wrote:
    I'm curious Zeldaz, what do you wrap fresh (or leftover) meats in to protect them from freezer burn?


    I use my vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn.
    SarasotaCook
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:55 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Most things I wrap in parchment then in freezer baggies. I use the sealer for longer term storage.

    I wrap thing like leftovers in the fridge in foil usually.
    Krislady
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:34 am
    Forum Host
    I store leftovers in the fridge in Rubbermaid or Pyrex containers. The advantage of Pyrex, for me, is that I can easily reheat leftovers in the micro for breakfast or lunch.

    For cooking, I usually line sheet pans with silicone mats or, in the alternative, parchment.

    Or I get my husband to wash the dishes. . . icon_wink.gif
    Red Apple Guy
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:09 am
    Forum Host
    Ignoring that comment about getting husbands to wash the dishes, icon_lol.gif , I've voting with Dr. Gallon on this one. I've been in the aluminum bidness for 30 years and while it is a reactive metal, it's not nearly as reactive as we all are reading and listening to the various reports and warnings in the media. Seems like there is little good news out there and just about everything except flax seeds will kill us (and I'm not so sure about flax.....they used to make linoleum out of that stuff).

    For example, I can create a scary senario to using parchment (one type is silicone-treated and the other type is treated with "deadly sulfuric acid" to give non-stick properties). but I digress....

    Aluminum foil is great for lots of foods, but acidic ones like tomatoes, citrus, vinegars and soft drinks can pit or corrode aluminum foil depending on how acidic the food is, what the temperature is and the duration of contact at those conditions. There are a few studies out there: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1397396

    For cooking, i use aluminum foil or parchment. Wax paper doesn't take high temps. For freezing or storage, I'm comfortable with plastic containers, plastic wrap, plastic baggies or aluminum foil. I don't think significant leaching occurs at those low temps.
    Zurie
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:20 pm
    Forum Host
    Quote:
    Red Apple Guy, you said: For example, I can create a scary senario to using parchment (one type is silicone-treated and the other type is treated with "deadly sulfuric acid" to give non-stick properties). but I digress....


    As I am in South Africa, brand names and descriptions are often way different from one country to the other.

    I'm using baking and cooking paper these days to line oven dishes, as it saves so much on burned-on sauces and the battles to get dishes clean.

    This baking paper is probably the same as that used to line cake tins.

    Is this the same as "parchment paper"?? I have no idea.

    Please advise!! As we are only 2 and dear DH is the washer-upper at night, he is humbly grateful for me baking stuff in dishes lined with baking paper!! icon_wink.gif Is this now also a health hazard? (Yikes ... icon_mad.gif )

    Oh -- the real reason DH is the main bottle-washer is that he prefers to eat long after me! Strange habits, we have here! icon_lol.gif
    Red Apple Guy
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:14 pm
    Forum Host
    Zurie

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of all kinds of parchment paper. I just see folks scaring other folks needlessly (in my opinion) and perhaps all of us over-reacting to food safety issues.

    I watched an old episode of Julia Child cooking a chicken. She handled the chicken, then picked up this and that, moved it from one surface to another and never washed her hands. Try that on TV today.
    Chocolatl
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:31 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Red Apple Guy wrote:
    Zurie

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of all kinds of parchment paper. I just see folks scaring other folks needlessly (in my opinion) and perhaps all of us over-reacting to food safety issues.

    I watched an old episode of Julia Child cooking a chicken. She handled the chicken, then picked up this and that, moved it from one surface to another and never washed her hands. Try that on TV today.


    I hate these scare tactics, too!

    Fact 1: Anything CAN kill you.
    Fact 2: Something will.

    One thing that you really shouldn't do is store acidic foods in aluminum foil, because the acid can eat tiny holes in the food. But I never heard any convincing reason you can't cook with it.
    Zeldaz
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:36 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Chicagoland Chef du Jour wrote:
    Dee514 wrote:
    I'm curious Zeldaz, what do you wrap fresh (or leftover) meats in to protect them from freezer burn?


    I use my vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn.


    Yup, me too. I used to use heavy freezer paper and freezer tape, but those got hard to find for some reason.
    Chocolatl
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:50 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I haven't seen freezer paper for years.
    Chicagoland Chef du Jour
    Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:15 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I'll bet you can find it online or ask a butcher for it. Problem is, you may not live long enough to use it up!

    Amazon has it! I love Amazon icon_biggrin.gif
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_1_8?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=butcher+paper&sprefix=buthcer+%2Caps%2C255
    Dee514
    Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:12 am
    Forum Host
    I agree with Dr G and the others about the "aluminum hype."
    I still use aluminum foil for freezer storage, and covering/wrapping leftovers. If I am covering something acidic (like a pan of lasagne) for freezer storage, I will place a piece of freezer paper or parchment on the surface of the lasagne, then cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. As mentioned before, tomato sauce will eat through the foil. I have never used foil for lining roasting or casserole pans, and I see no reason to start now.

    Freezer paper (Reynolds brand) is still sold in supermarkets (at least where I live), its usually on the bottom shelf next to the parchment paper and the wax paper.
    For aluminum foil, I prefer using the 100% recycled aluminum foil (If You Care brand) - usually found in the health food/natural section. I rarely use plastic wrap, bags, or containers if I can help it.
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