Aluminum Foil – Possibly the Most Versatile Tool in the Kitchen

By , January 14, 2010

I use, and reuse, aluminum foil everyday. It is possibly the most useful tool in my kitchen. I use it as a cooking tool, a food keeper and then I repurpose it as long as I can.

As a cooking tool, aluminum foil has many lives. I use it as a toaster for bread and a mini-oven for making quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches on the surface of the wood stove. I use it to line a steamer basket for reheating foods like stuffing so they don’t get too moist from the steam and can be removed easily to a plate. Single servings of leftovers from a turkey dinner work well this way. Foil can also be used to divide leftovers from each other while reheating. When a “non-stick” pan becomes scratched or the coating is flaking I give it new life by lining it with aluminum foil. In the summer I make a solar oven to warm foods or proof bread dough either in a sunny window or in the green house.

Aluminum foil does an excellent job of keeping food fresh. It stays on cans better than plastic wrap, so I use it to cover partially used cans of tomato paste, for example. I also use it to wrap items I want to stay moist, but not too moist, so the surfaces don’t get soggy. Cheese and bread like a foil wrapping. Celery stays crisp and tender in foil much, much longer than in a plastic bag.

Of course aluminum foil can be reused multiple times. Wipe off used foil and keep as flat as possible. Reuse until tears or holes get in the way. When potting plants, I crumple used foil into loose balls to take up extra space in the bottom of a large planter. Crumpled foil also does a terrific job of scrubbing barbeque grills (though it may help to wear ear plugs!). When all hope of reuse is lost, smash the foil flat and take to the recycle bin.

Not many items in my kitchen get such a workout. We keep a backup roll of aluminum foil in the pantry and there is a dedicated space on the shelf in the kitchen for the used foil so it is always there when I need it. Foil gets my vote as the most versatile tool in my kitchen.

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