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When do you use plastic wrap, when do you use aluminum foil?

For storing food, when do you use each type of covering? I tend to use each interchangeably when covering salads, meats, or pasta leftovers in bowls. When does it matter for what kind of food?

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  1. I use foil to cover hot things and plastic wrap to cover room temp or cold things. For leftovers in the fridge, we use rubbermaid containers. But that is mostly to keep them from becoming a disaster in my bag instead of my lunch the next day.

    1. Plastic wrap is far more capable of making an air-resistant layer of protection. A glass container wrapped with the right kind of plastic can be liquid & air tight, whether cold or in the microwave.

      Foil makes a nice vessel for reheating in a conventional oven, it can slow the loss of moisture, but is never as impenetrable as plastic.

      Some things (like baked goods) do better stored so that they can dry out a bit, but the sealing ability of plastic helps more foods remain fresh. That would include salads, meats, and pasta -- I would only wrap those in foil if I were going to reheat in a conventional oven in a short time (hours).

      I find that most plastic wrap doesn't stand up to freezer by it self, so I often end up wrapping things for the freezer with plastic wrap and then into a zip lock bag or a layer of foil.

      1. Plastic wrap for the fridge, foil for the oven.

        1. I don't use foil when there's anything acidic involved, like tomatoes, lemon, etc. I will wrap a piece of cooked meat in foil. I use plastic wrap to cover bowls and plates of food, since the seal is tighter. Most of my leftovers are in tupperware.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mojoeater

            Don't use foil for anything aggressively alkaline, either! I wrapped some tortillas in foil one night, intending to heat them in the toaster oven for breakfast, and in the morning the foil was lacy with holes and the tortillas discolored.

            I'm using pretty much only Ziplocs and disposable-but-reusable fridge containers nowadays, with waxed paper for short-term wrapping (stuff like hamburger patties), microwaving and grating cheese onto, and plastic wrap for when I want to refrigerate leftovers in the serving bowl. Foil's hardly ever used around here except for lining or covering roasting pans.

            1. re: Will Owen

              I use the non-stick foil when it is going to come into contact with food. Tomatoes ect.don't eat their way through it.

          2. if you wrap something in foil and stick in the jfood fridge its as good as dead. no see no touch theory. plastic only so everyone can see.

            if you use heat, only foil and if you use the MV then only waxed paper.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              Yep - we have the same experience.