Aluminum foil is a silver-colored shiny paper prepared with thin metal leaves and has a thickness to near about 0.2 mm. The aluminum foil papers are flexible in nature and can easily be used in wrapping and folding. But the aluminum papers are actually very lightweight and fragile and can easily get torn.
The aluminum foil is made on rolling mills that involve placing a sheet of aluminum between two rotating rollers under pressure. Aluminum foil is produced by heat rolling for thickness and is rolled into two sheets of 2 and 10 mm thick and then again cold rolling is done to bring flexibility to the thickened aluminum foil.
The aluminum paper has two sides. One is a shiny side and another is a matte side. The shiny side is kept upside while covering food materials and the matte side is kept down, which remains in touch with the food because increased reflectivity actually reduces the absorption and the power of the radiation.
The reflectivity power of bright aluminum foil is 88% and the matte side is near about 80%. Aluminum foils are generally sterile, odorless, and tasteless; therefore, the hygiene of the food is never hampered.
Although foils are very thin they are able to maintain the shape of the food and do not even react to the food or absorb liquid out of the food.
What’s the Maximum Temperature that I Can Expose Aluminium Foil To?
Aluminum retains the heat and keeps the food warm. Foil papers with water and greaseproof papers on one side are used for the packaging of food items like butter, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products.
Although Aluminium foil is a real good invention for storing food we have to be careful about what food we are actually storing inside.
There are certain foods like apple sauce, sour cucumbers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, salted herring, vinegar-containing foods, etc are never stored inside the aluminum foil. These foods actually react with aluminum foil.
Foods that are highly acidic or have high basicity reacts with aluminum foil to make them corrosive. Although Aluminium foils are good corrosion-resistant. When aluminum papers are rolled around any metallic things then there may occur a high electrolytic reaction, which may cause the aluminum foil to totally get broken up and hamper the benefits of the aluminum foil properties.
Aluminum papers usually provide more features to some foods only while cooking in the microwave but a small amount of aluminum paper can be used to cover small areas or else sparks may occur when the aluminum paper is used in large amounts to cover the foods and send them to microwave preparation.
However, since the aluminum paper has got two sides this may be of some value for using each side accordingly to get the best results and properties of aluminum foil. Aluminum foils are very conductive to temperatures and can be heated to very high temperatures without losing any shape or the food being melting down and getting damaged.
The conductive power of the aluminum foil speeds the process of refrigeration, heating like preparing grilled foods as well and deep freezing as well. The most important feature of aluminum foil is that it can be given any shape.
There are certain things to be considered when using aluminum foil. As aluminum foil tends to react if all foods are highly acidic or highly basic, we need to keep in mind the temperature of the food while storing. The acidity of a particular substance increases with temperature as per chemistry, which may cause the aluminum foil to react with the food and thereby causing health effects if eaten.
If the aluminum foil is not alloyed, it melts only at a temperature of 655°C. But adding other materials to aluminum increases this temperature to 1245°C, which varies from alloy to alloy.
Most of the aluminum foils in the market melt at 1015°C to 1245°C. Even the red-hot foods, does never goes beyond 145°C, so we are always on the safe side with the temperature. Although melting temperature is really high for aluminum to react with acidic food needs only 400°C.
Sometimes we wrap chicken using aluminum foil and put it in the Tandoor oven. It’s safe to cook chicken that way but if the chicken is marinated with vinegar, the cooked chicken actually becomes unhealthy.
There have been a lot of studies on this and a study shows cooking aluminum-wrapped red meat for 20 mins at 250°C, increases aluminum content in the meat by 89-378%.
Even the same study in poultry showed an aluminum increase by 76-215%. As per the same study, the least increase is observed when red meat is cooked for 60 mins at 150°C, considering that meat is cooked.
Usually, fat content in the meat drives the transfer of aluminum. Although there are several factors driving this migration of aluminum like PH value, salt, acids, etc. This migrated aluminum is more than the permissible limit of our body.
Aluminum papers are easily recyclable, non-harmful, and non-toxic. The recycling of aluminum foil needs 90% less energy compared to its production. Therefore, it’s better than plastic when wrapping of food is considered, as it marks the best eco-friendly medium of food storage.
But we have to be careful about the adverse effect of using aluminum for food wrapping considering the temperature of the food that is wrapped with this foil. Aluminum gets dissolved in the foods at high temperatures regardless of the liquid or vapor phase, thus making foods an easy medium for aluminum to enter the body.
Aluminum foil does not always react with foods. It depends on Ph value, salt content, and various other factors like the spices of the food that we are wrapping.
There is no harm in consuming red-hot foods wrapped in aluminum foil, but wrapping foils should not be used to cook the food at high temperatures.
Read the instructions in the Aluminium foil packet, if it allows you to use the foil for cooking foods, only then use it. Otherwise, you may suffer serious health issues.