Cooking with foil

How do I use aluminum foil for cooking? Someone said I need to wrap the food with the shiny side in.

From: Helen, CA

For cooking, it does not matter that much which side is in or out. It is true the shiny side conducts heat better than the dull side, so if you wrap the food to cook with the shiny side in, it will reach cooking temperature slightly faster. However, once the aluminum foil has reached that temperature, both sides are very hot and there is no real difference.

Substitute aluminum foil for cooking with a natural food wrap such as corn husks, hoja santa or banana leaves, if you can get them, or change your method. A casserole pan with a tight lid will serve to keep food moist.

Storing food is another matter. To keep a roast warm and moist while you prepare the gravy, wrap it in foil, shiny side in and it will keep warm for longer. Wrap a chilled sandwich in foil, shiny side out, and it will keep cool for longer. Acidic food such as tomatoes, fruit or cabbage, will get some taste if it is kept in foil for long. Don't use foil for these.

Plastic wrap is an alternative to aluminum foil for covering and refrigerating foods. Parchment paper or wax paper is the substitute for linking baking sheets and pans, covering a roast or wrapping foods.

People who believe aluminum is involved in many nervous system degenerative diseases prefer to avoid it altogether because some aluminum may leech into the food when cooking, especially if they are the sort of acidic food mentioned. It is not clear how harmful cooking with aluminum might be. Some believe drinking tea, which is high in aluminum, causes more harm as aluminum from containers or food wrap is not easily absorbed into the body.