Can You Put Aluminum Foil in the Oven?
When you think about common household or kitchen materials, aluminum foil is right up there as one of the most used. Over the years, concerns have been raised as to whether it is doing more harm than good. Claims have been made that when it is used while cooking, this material actually seeps into the food and there is no universe where ingesting aluminum foil in unnatural quantities is healthy. But, how real are these claims? Is it safe to cook with aluminum foil or are these claims a cause for concern? The questions are truly endless, and for that reason, this article takes a closer look at most safety concerns raised when cooking with aluminum foil.
Aluminum Ingestion in General
To really understand the root of these concerns, it is important to have a little background information. Now, get this, there’s actually aluminum present in nature and humans ingest it one way or the other. In fact, this metal is highly abundant in nature and can be found mostly in the soil as well as clay and rocks. There’s also a bit of it present in the air, water and even in food. Almost all food groups have specimens that have little doses of aluminum present in them.
On a more unnatural note, there’s even aluminum present in some of the preservatives added to processed foods. There are even a handful of medications that have a high amount of aluminum present, so there is really no escaping it. Based on all this, with or without aluminum foil, everyone is getting a little dosage of the metal here and there. In small quantities that’s really not a big deal; the body can absorb it and excrete the rest. So, it becomes a cause for concern when cooking with aluminum because that’s more of it for the body to deal with.
Cooking With Aluminum Foil
With all this in mind, is it even safe to use aluminum foil? Can aluminum foil go in the oven and can you put aluminum foil directly on oven rack? When it comes to putting aluminum foil in the oven altogether, it is not advisable. Not only will it obstruct the flow of air in the oven, all that heat coming in contact with the foil is sure to wreak havoc in its own way. In terms of cooking in general, it is equally advisable to take it down a notch with the aluminum. Even more so when the food involved is highly acidic. So, with food items like lemons or tomatoes, this should be a no-no.
General Aluminum Foil Do’s and Don’ts
- Steer Clear of the Microwave Oven
This is already general knowledge, but some things cannot be reiterated enough. The reason for this prohibition is that the electromagnetic waves, which usually pass through other material bounce off the aluminum foil. Not only does this cause an uneven cook, but it wreaks havoc on the microwave oven as well.
- Foil on Meat Works
Now when it comes to cooking beef and poultry, best believe that it can hold its own when aluminum is thrown in the mix. Using foil here goes a long way to keep the meat from drying out by totally trapping the moisture in there. It also prefers it from burning and cooks the inside and outside quite evenly.
- Keep Foil Away From Acidic Food
It has been mentioned a couple of times but some things cannot be reiterated enough. Any dishes or food items high in acid do not go well with foil. So, that means that dishes made with vinegar, acidic fruits, tomatoes and a handful of others are a no-go area. After a few days in contact with aluminum foil, these food items do not only erode the foil but they begin to take in small amounts of the aluminum itself. Since there’s probably already a bit of the metal in most of the food that we eat, this could lead to the ingestion of critical amounts of aluminum.
One sign of aluminum infusion is the presence of white spots on the food, this is actually a substance known as aluminum salts. These are quite unappealing visually and wreak havoc on the taste buds as well. So, plastic storage is the best route to take when it comes to food items and dishes high in acid.
Related Post: Food Storage Containers
- Keep the Cooking Temperature Low
When it comes to cooking with aluminum foil, it is best to keep that heat as low as it can possibly be. This goes a long way to minimize how much aluminum is infused into the food as a whole.
Is Aluminum Foil Toxic?
So, this is a loaded question with an answer that is contingent on a number of things. But, first, here is a concise lowdown. When cooking with aluminum foil, the fact is that it does seep into the food. But this is all dependent on a number of things. How much food are you cooking? What is the acid content? What is the cooking temperature? All this goes a long way to influence the damage done. For this reason, baking with aluminum foil may prove to be a bit more problematic than dealing with cooler temperatures as a whole.
In most cases, when used sparingly, not a lot of the aluminum ingested remains in the body. In fact, studies have shown that a mere 0.1 to 0.3 percent of what is ingested as a whole stays in the body. Similar studies have red-flagged the frequent use of aluminum foil when cooking. Nevertheless, there is no concrete evidence linking the use of foil to any diseases.
So, what’s the verdict after taking in all this information? Aluminum foil is not dangerous, but the fact is that it does increase the amount of aluminum take in. So, if that is something you personally cannot live with, then cut it out of your cooking routine. Do note that it really does not add copious amounts of aluminum to your diet. As long as you are not going out of your way to shovel unhealthy amounts of the metal down, you should be safe.
- Is it safe to put aluminum foil in the oven? – Alter Net