The idea for this blog came from my dad, who was talking about a common fire hazard that people were unaware of.¬† The hazard is WHAT? Aluminum foil?¬† I thought ¬†the stuff was fireproof.¬† As it turns out, there’s a few other things about aluminum foil that I was unaware of.¬† Here’s 5 things you may not have known about a product that we use all the time.
1.¬† OK, the first one is a given. NEVER put aluminum foil in the microwave. ¬†If you didn’t know this already, maybe you should stay out of the kitchen.¬† We have to start with this one though, because the National Fire Protection Association estimates that an average of 7200 fires in the home¬†per year are started with the microwave oven.
2.¬† The second one will catch some people.¬† NEVER line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil.¬†¬†The foil can trap heat, start a fire or damage your oven.¬† Many manufacturers will void your warranty if you line the oven with foil.¬† The reason many people have lined the oven with aluminum foil is, of course, convenience in cleaning.¬† This¬†little tidbit was¬†handed down from parents, grandparents and their parents before them.¬† A few generations ago, people were using tin foil (yes, there is a difference). ¬†Tin foil was, of course, made from tin and the term stuck although we have been using aluminum foil since right after World War II.¬† Aluminum¬†has a lower heat tolerance¬†than tin and should never be used close to your heating element.¬† According to Reynolds Wrap, it is safe to place a sheet of aluminum foil on the shelf below the one you are baking on as long as the sheet is only slightly larger than your cooking dish.
3.¬† What side of the foil is supposed to face out?¬† Shiny or dull?¬† That’s an easy one I thought…but I was wrong.¬† Truth is, it doesn’t matter.¬† The difference comes only from the manufacturing process and has no bearing on cooking.¬† If you are using a non-stick foil product though, the dull side faces the food as that is the side that has been treated with a non-stick coating.
4.¬† Is it safe to wrap left overs in aluminum foil?¬† Yes, as long as the food is not high in salt or acidic value.¬† Aluminum foil is generally a safe way to wrap leftovers and keep smells out of the fridge.¬† Just don’t warm them up in the microwave with the foil still on!¬† Adding a layer of foil over plastic-wrapped foods that you are freezing is a good idea as it will help keep out oxygen, which causes freezer burn.
5.¬† What if the foil-wrapped foods you bake have dark spots from the foil?¬† I actually threw out a ham one time because I was afraid to eat it.¬† As it turns out, it is normal to get these spots on the food if the foil comes in contact with foods high¬†in salt, vinegar or acid.¬† Just remove the spots and food is safe.
So there you have it.¬† A good safety tip from your insurance professional, a history lesson and food storage tips all rolled into one.¬† And we thought it was just tin foil.