How To Safely Use Foil In The Freezer

Make this useful kitchen tool better for food storage.

IMAGE Shutterstock

One of the useful items you'll find in many kitchens is a roll of aluminum foil. This tool is versatile in its capability to be used in both cooking and baking as well as for storage. 

However, did you know that foil is not a good choice when storing food? 

This is because when it comes to storing food, how the food is stored is a big deal. There are two food safety tips that should be considered when storing food: 

  1. 1 Food left at room temperature should be stored within two hours to minimize bacterial growth. 
  1. 2 Food should be wrapped tightly or placed in sealed containers, preferably air-tight.  

You can safely cool down food that is still hot safely by either fanning the food until cool or placing the food in a container and then submerging the container in an ice bath until it cools down. This will ensure that the food does not stay at room temperature beyond the two-hour limit where bacteria can grow. Covering your food especially when it's not being eaten prevents pests from landing on your food. 

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Air-tight containers are best used for food storage since air can cause food to more rapidly spoil. It's not the air; it's what in the air all around us that can encourage it. This refers to the microscopic bacteria, mold spores, and other airborne organisms that are in the air. If you can limit and control the air that is around and touching your food, the higher the chance that you can prevent these invisible organisms from spoiling your food. 


This is where the foil comes in. Foil is not an air-tight material. In fact, it's hard to make it airtight since is a hard material that won't seal. This is why storing food in foil is not the best idea, especially for long-term storage in the freezer. 

How do you store food in foil? 

The most obvious answer is that you shouldn't. While foil is safe to use for wrapping your food before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer, it's not the best tool. Foil is best used for baking, sometimes in cooking as well. Here's why: foil easily tears and this exposes your food to the air around it (even in the freezer) and allows food to absorb smells and might even expose it to raw food and its bacteria which invites contamination. This applies to household foil since these are thinner than heavy-duty aluminum foil used in the food service industry. 


If you still want to wrap and store food in foil, here's what you should do instead: wrap food in foil then wrap the foil-wrapped food in plastic wrap or another kind of air-tight material or container before freezing. You can also use freezer bags. You can also do the opposite and wrap the food in plastic wrap and the using the foil as an overwrap.  

Aluminum foil baking containers are great for storing in the freezer for baking later but these are containers, not storage. It should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to ensure that it not only stays as fresh it was made but also prevent freezer burn and absorbing freezer smells.  


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