FAQs on Food Wrapping

Everything You Need to Know about Wrapping Food Right

food storage Why wrap food? That’s easy to answer. We do it to prevent oxidation (interaction with oxygen that causes food to deteriorate), loss of moisture, discoloration, transfer of odors, and microbial cross-contamination.


How best to wrap (or store) food?  That takes a lot more space to answer. The array of storage wraps, bags, and containers in the supermarket can leave one befuddled about what product is best for what purpose.  In addition to regular plastic wrap, today there are plastic wraps  and bags for freezing as well as plastic wrap that’s presumably microwave-safe  and wraps that clings better than the original versions (such as Saran Cling Plus).  There are plastic containers in a variety of sizes and shapes, some labeled microwave safe. Then there’s aluminum foil. (Don’t call it tin foil.  It isn’t made with tin anymore.) It comes in various lengths, widths, and strengths as well as a nonstick version and pop-up foil wrappers.


Of all these wrapping products, what best protects your foods from air, pathogens, and each other? Click below  to reach 18 Q/As that tell how to extend the shelf life of foods and wrap them safely.

Is it safe to use aluminum foil in a microwave oven?

In general, for microwave cooking or heating, it’s better to use a ceramic plate or glassware and, to cover, paper toweling or another ceramic plate. However, some plastics are microwave safe, and aluminum foil can be used in some ways if you follow the USDA instructions given below:


Will a foil cover help keep foods on the table hot or cold?

“Aluminum foil is not the best insulator, but it’s better than no insulator at all. Aluminum foil insulates best when it traps a dead air space above (or around) the food product,” explains food processing engineer Timothy Bowser.  “One of my favorite tricks is to cover a hot (or cold) dish with aluminum foil and then add a dish towel on top of that to increase the insulation value.  This works really well if you want to keep an item at a constant temperature while it’s on the counter, just before serving.”




Why does foil sometimes darken, discolor, and leave black specks on food?

The darkening may be caused by moisture from a food being covered.  It is the result of a buildup of aluminum oxide, a totally harmless substance. 


Occasionally, foil comes in contact with a different metal or a highly salted or acidic food and, as a result, pinholes develop in the foil.  This reaction does not affect the safety of the food.




The New Face of Reynolds Wrap Foil  “Frequently Asked Questions”

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