By Kim Robson
I don’t know about you, but I go through a fair amount of aluminum foil. While it is recyclable and reusable in theory, in practice it’s often too soiled or wrinkled to reuse. Plastic wrap is technically recyclable, but many recycling centers won’t even accept it. Many of us are just too lazy to wash and dry used aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and plastic bags. Luckily, there are several new-fangled gadgets available that replace foil and plastic wrap, and can be used thousands of times!
1.3 billion pounds of aluminum foil, in addition to enough plastic wrap to shrink-wrap the entire state of Texas, is produced annually in the United States alone. Read on to learn about products designed to replace aluminum foil:
Stainless Steel Dual-Sided Reusable Barbeque Sheet – Available from Mr. Bar-B-Q, this commercial-grade stainless steel sheet keeps small, delicate food on the grill and out of the fire. Its perforated design spreads heat evenly, resulting in crispy perfection, not soggy messes. Dual sides allow you to sear and grill simultaneously. It is perfect for covering messy public barbeque grids at campgrounds, beaches, parks, and tailgate parties.
I use most of my tin foil for cooking. However, since it doesn’t breathe, foil can produce limp and soggy-bottomed food, especially when baking. This dual-sided Mesh Crisper from Chef’s Planet allows hot air to circulate underneath food, creating a crispy bite. It sits directly on the oven rack, cools quickly for cleaning, and is dishwasher safe.
People who’ve tried using a Pizza Stone never look back. Made of durable cordierite ceramic, a pizza stone will give your breads and pizzas a marvelous crustiness, just like those out of a commercial brick oven. They distribute heat evenly and hold heat exceptionally well, keeping temperatures steady (the secret to brick-oven baking). Baking stones also pull moisture from the outer surface of the dough to promote perfect crustiness.
I also love baking with parchment paper, but it is not reusable. This nifty Reusable Parchment Baking Mat, however, can be used thousands of times with the same results. Made of Teflon-coated fiberglass, it’s nonstick, won’t absorb odors, withstands temperatures up to 500°F, and can be cut to fit any size baking sheet.
Aluminum foil frequently is used for covering food to keep it hot. Also from Chef’s Planet, this silicone Thermal Food Cover is a much better alternative. Measuring 18″ x 11,” this reusable quilted cover withstands heat up to 475°F and keeps food hotter, and does so longer than foil can. If it gets soiled, just throw it into the washing machine.
Do you use plastic wrap to seal the tops of containers? These Reusable Silicone Lids actually create a better seal than plastic wrap and can be used forever. The set of three sizes can fit round, oval, or square containers; seal to glass, plastic, ceramic, or metal; and are dishwasher and microwave safe. Heat resistance up to a whopping 570°F means they can double as pot holders or trivets. The lids are also BPA- and phthalate-free. To seal, place a lid on the clean rim of a bowl and press down firmly. To break the seal, simply pull up the rim of the lid.
So you see, there are plenty of ways to reduce or even eliminate our consumption of wasteful disposable plastic and foil wraps. New technologies are being developed every day, so keep your eyes on future Green-Mom posts for more ideas on how to live green!