Reusable alternative to foil packets
July 7, 2005 12:33 PM   Subscribe

I've gotten into the habit of wrapping meat and veggies together in foil and baking the whole parcel. Delicious and very easy. But I feel guilty about using so much foil. Is there an alternative technique? I don't mind having to wash something up to avoid wastage.
posted by sid to Food & Drink (16 answers total)
why not wash the foil and use it again?
posted by andrew cooke at 12:35 PM on July 7, 2005

or cook it in a pot with a lid and some extra water - it's just a stew, right?
posted by andrew cooke at 12:36 PM on July 7, 2005

Lots of people reuse tin foil, but that is usually when they just use it to wrap sandwiches or something like that. In any case, have you tried rinsing and reusing the foil?
posted by necessitas at 12:36 PM on July 7, 2005

You could try silicon-impregnated parchment paper. It's a little bit more biodegradable, and is just as study in the oven (although it is a bit more expensive). (Not the broiler though, you might end up with little bits of cooked paper in your food)
posted by Plutor at 12:37 PM on July 7, 2005

Foil pie plates can be reused a couple of times as long as they don't get too burnt. Just about any covered baking dish should work, such as Corningware.
posted by bondcliff at 12:37 PM on July 7, 2005

use corn husks. mmm...
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:47 PM on July 7, 2005

A Dutch Oven will give you the same results and you can buy pretty small ones. There are also ones that are made out of fired clay that you soak in water before using so it steams the food and leaves everything very moist.
posted by 517 at 12:54 PM on July 7, 2005

Isn't this what casserole dishes are for?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:59 PM on July 7, 2005

I often see wax paper recommended for this, usually for fish.

It's a technique in its own right; using a casserole or dutch oven won't be exactly the same.
posted by kenko at 1:03 PM on July 7, 2005

Just to play devil's advocate, perhaps the 'waste' isn't so much of a waste. While the refrain is "reduce, reuse, recycle" and in that order, different materials and processes have different energy costs.

That roll of alum foil not only has a cost in materials, it has a cost associated with the manufacture, shipping, reuse and disposal. One-use means you save the energy costs of the soap, water and heat for the water used in washing. It only gets used once, so you don't amortize manufacturing costs across multiple usages but it also is probably a tiny fraction of the materials and shipping cost of that above mentioned dutch oven.

My point, if you haven't given up already, is that you shouldn't -necessarily- assume that a one-use product is worse (or at least not notably worse) than a reusable one. Eventually you'll drive yourself nuts and it may not be for much. You can also look and see if your region does alum foil recycling - some do, though people aren't always aware of it.
posted by phearlez at 2:52 PM on July 7, 2005

Depending on what I've used it for, I've washed and reused foil a few times before recycling it.
posted by Melinika at 4:07 PM on July 7, 2005

Try a roasting bag.
posted by blag at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2005

Don't use wax paper unless you want your food to taste like crayons!
Parchment paper will do the trick, but is more costly than foil.
According to this site, you can bake in uncoated butcher paper (see the section "en papillote") which is way cheaper.
posted by plinth at 6:17 PM on July 7, 2005

Use a lidded baking dish. Er, casserole dish. I do the same thing with chicken breasts and assorted veggies. Cut, drizzle with olive oil and herbs, and bake. The lid keeps everything moist. The only time we've used aluminum foil is to put cut , herbed potatoes or something like that on the barbecue.
posted by Savannah at 7:13 PM on July 7, 2005

Response by poster: Corn husks sound delicious but a little impractical to obtain consistently. I've tried washing foil but the pieces tend to get caked-on grease on them which is a bitch to get off without tearing the foil. I think I will try a small dutch oven or a roasting bag.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by sid at 6:50 AM on July 8, 2005

Don't overlook clay pots - the Indians of India call 'em tandoors - which are used for just this purpose. Many are shaped like a chicken or a vegetable, you just pop the lid off, cram 'em full of things and spices, and put in oven.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:37 AM on July 8, 2005

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