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Most of us use aluminum a lot in their kitchens. We pack food in it, we store food in it and we cook with it. However, aluminum can actually have a negative impact on our health.
But why is that?
Well, it can easily reach our food, especially when cooked with it. But there are better alternatives for cooking and sometimes, no covers or wraps are necessary if you know the right tricks. Living without aluminum foil will not only be extremely beneficial for your family and their health, but it will also be beneficial for the environment.
Learn all about it by reading this article.
How to Store Food in a Fridge
Before you learn something about aluminum and why you should replace it, there are good reasons to learn how to use the fridge properly. Many people use the fridge as a food closet, without giving it much thought where they should put what.
This leads to you losing produce and creating more food waste. Different zones of your fridge should be used for different purposes. So, let’s learn more about how to section your food so it stays fresh for longer.
Starting from the top:
Freezer – This may seem very obvious but your freezer is for storing frozen food like ice, frozen fruit and veggies, meat and so on. You can store many other things you don’t plan on using right now but rather later. Tortillas, pasta sauce, bread and so on can all be stored in the freezer. The trick is to pack properly and to use reusable containers. Keep everything organized and labelled to prevent waste of food and save energy.
Doors – Doors are actually the warmest part of your fridge and they should store food that’s not so easy to spoil like juice, condiments and other food that doesn’t perish that quickly. Eggs and milk are commonly found there but they shouldn’t be there because they can spoil very quickly.
Upper shelves – The upper shelves have the most consistent temperatures but they are not the coldest. Place the food that doesn’t need to be cooked there. This would mean leftovers, food that’s ready to eat, drinks and so on. Berries should also be here.
Lower shelves – Perfect for meat, eggs, seafood, dairy and so on. This is where the coldest temperatures are. Assign a special place in the fridge just for raw meats to prevent bacteria from contaminating other food. You don’t want to crowd your shelves in general and it shouldn’t be completely packed.
Drawers – The purpose of these drawers is to keep fruit and vegetables moist and healthy. Don’t jumble them all up together because some fruits can affect vegetables and make them ripen faster. Keep your vegetables in one drawer and then the fruits in the other one.
In essence, make sure that everything is organized and easily reachable or you may forget what's in there and have a lot of spoiled food on your hands.
The top of the fridge shouldn’t be a food storage. The fridge pumps hot air out and it can spoil or ruin the taste of many foods and drinks. So, keep the food off the fridge and you can use that space for storing cookbooks, appliances and supplies.
Is Storing Opened Cans in the Fridge Safe?
Once you open a can of some food – this is especially true for fruit, fruit juices, tomato products and so on – you should place the leftover food in a plastic or glass container, covered. If you just leave them in the can, the tin and iron can dissolve and get into your food which will then have a bad taste. This bad taste after improperly storing canned goods isn't the only consequence; you can also get sick.
Food like that can cause:
- Abdominal cramps
These effects are not long term but it’s still a good idea to repackage food once you open it.
To keep things simple and healthy, just transfer your food from the tin to plastic container and you’ll have a much easier time for later.
Is Baking with Aluminum Foil Dangerous?
People often use aluminum foil when baking fish, vegetables or meat. But, the aluminum often ends up in the meal without you even noticing. However, aluminum often seems unavoidable, especially since it’s one of the most commonly used kitchen items. Pots and pans have aluminum foil, kitchen utensils too.
While this isn’t a bad thing in itself, cooking food inside of aluminum foil is where the biggest problem is. This is especially bad when the food that’s acidic and spicy. The foil
Human body can fight small amounts of aluminum efficiently but they can’t do the same for the large amounts. For instance, a safe amount would be 40mg per kilogram of weight.
However, people consume much more than that. There is aluminum in utensils, cookery, pharmacological agents, in water purification,and deodorants ,as well as foil.
This can be bad for human health – in fact, there were very high doses of people with Alzheimer’s. There are other risks as well like bone diseases, brain function and so on.
So, avoiding aluminum when cooking is very important. For one, cookery is not dangerous because it’s oxidized and this prevents aluminum from getting out, at least until you scrub them after cooking. You can prevent this by boiling water in new cookery a few times until the base becomes matte.
However, you should avoid cooking with aluminum foil at all costs. The amounts that reach your food are far above what is permissible. The heat of cooking causes the aluminum to leach into your food, all without affecting taste.
This is especially true if you cook acidic and liquid solutions in aluminum foil, less so when you cook with alcohol and salt.
You should use glassware or porcelain. Wrapping cold food in aluminum foil is safe but not for long because it can reach your food as well.
What to Use Instead of Aluminum Foil While Baking or Grilling
Since there is scientific evidence that aluminum foil is bad for you and your health, you might want to find a way to prepare food without it.
This can be especially hard when you want to grill something because the food can fall through the grill or it can be tricky when cooking something that sticks a lot, like fish.
Here are some solutions for baking and grilling food without aluminum foil.
Cook food on top of other food – This is great both for the grill and baking. For instance, you can put your vegetables on top of your meat when grilling them and that would help. You can also slice up lemon for the fish before you cook it, squeeze out the juice on the fish and use slices for under the fish. This prevents sticking.
You can use a stainless steel grill basket – Grill baskets are available everywhere and many are made with aluminum. This type is probably not that bad but you can also get stainless steel grill baskets and avoid aluminum completely. There are many different varieties of shapes that can help you grill without losing your food.
Use a stainless grill dome to steam – A grill basket won’t steam vegetables so you should use a grill dome to create steam.
Use stainless steel and cast iron – This will help you cook everything without the need of aluminum foil. You can use them both in the oven and on the grill.
What Can You Use for Storing Instead of Aluminum Foil?
Living without aluminum is not only good for your health, but it’s also beneficial for the environment. And while packaging food with aluminum is somewhat safe, you can go a step further and eliminate it completely, for the sake of our planet.
Reusable cloth wax wrap – Sustainable, natural and great for cheese, fruit, vegetables and bread. It’s very easy to use and wrap around food and bowls when storing.
Silicone bowl lids – These are stretchable and easy to use as well, and you can use them many times.
Reusable glass containers with lids on them – Perfect and simple solution as they can last you many years.
Silicone baking mats – You can use these for baking
Plastic containers with lids – This is perfect for storage, just like glass containers.
Line pans with parchment paper – It’s not really zero waste, but it works in a pinch and it’s not toxic.
When it comes to storing things in the fridge or in general, it’s always best to go for the materials and objects that you can use over and over again. Single use items are convenient, but often not great for us or the planet. This should be a good guideline for when you are trying to provide healthier food for your family. Avoid aluminum in general, whenever possible.
Food can still be cooked without aluminum foil, especially with some of the nifty alternatives you can use.
What are your go-to alternatives for cooking and storing food without aluminum foil? Share your tips down below!