Aluminium foil (known as aluminum foil in North America) acts as a total barrier to light, steam, aromas and liquids and is the principal reason for its use in the kitchen.
Aluminium foil is very conductive to heat. If used in cooking, the oven heat is hardly diminished by the aluminium foil used to cover a dish or a joint of meat or poultry. Aluminium foil resists the highest temperatures encountered in cooking, whether it is in a convection oven or under the hottest grill. Aluminium foil has a shiny side and a matte side. This has led to the perception that favouring a side has an effect when cooking. While many believe that the shiny side’s reflective properties keep heat out when wrapped on the exterior and keep heat in when facing exterior, the actual difference is imperceptible.
Aluminium foil is extremely pliable, and can be bent or wrapped around objects with ease. Household foil is now available in a variety of formats. In addition to the range of widths and lengths, there are now textured versions and ready-cut sheets making it easy to quickly use without unreeling and tearing. There is also a ‘non-stick’ foil which solves any problem of baked-on food. The latest idea is a special foil, black on one side, which transfers radiant heat more efficiently from the black side – ideal for roasting.
Aluminium foil is also used for braaing more delicate foods such as mushrooms and vegetables; food is wrapped in foil then placed on the grill, preventing loss of moisture that may result in a less appealing texture. Aluminium foil is also useful to inhibit browning. One popular use for aluminium foil is to put it around the crust of a baking pie so the crust does not burn as the pie cooks.
As microwave energy cannot pass through metal, aluminium foil is very useful for protecting some parts of food from being dried or over-cooked in a microwave oven. To avoid the possibility of arcing, any foil used in this way should not touch metal shelves or the inner metal lining of the oven during cooking. Aluminium packages designed for microwave heating are available.
Aluminium foil can also be used for wrapping food in order to preserve it, for example when storing leftover food in a refrigerator (where it serves the additional purpose of preventing odour exchange) or when taking sandwiches on a journey.
Sub Category: Consumables