There are a number of things that we do, tasks we perform, that are routine enough that we don’t give them much thought. Some of these are in the kitchen, such as, “If we’re going to bake a turkey, we need to get some aluminum foil.” We don’t often devote much time or thought to aluminum foil. But did you know there are a wide variety of uses for this handy kitchen tool? And some of them have nothing to do with the kitchen! Here are 20 ways you can use aluminum foil to accomplish all kinds of tasks.
Soften Brown Sugar
If your brown sugar has turned into a rock-solid lump, it’s tin foil to the rescue! Wrap the brown sugar up in tin foil, and put it in your oven. Bake the tin foil package at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, and your brown sugar will be soft and ready to use!
Nothing elevates cakes and cupcakes like piped frosting, but you don’t need to own a piping bag to do it! Use a sheet of tin foil to form your own disposable piping bag.
Protect Pie Crust
Use a piece or two of tin foil to cover the edges of your pie crust while it bakes to prevent it from burning. You can use it preventatively, by putting it on at the beginning of the baking process and removing it halfway through. Or you can put the tin foil on near the end of the baking process, if the edges of the crust seem to be browning faster than the rest of the crust.
Create special-shaped cake pans
Make a teddy bear birthday cake, a Valentine’s Day heart cake, a Christmas tree cake, or whatever shaped cake the occasion may call for. Just form a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil into the desired shape inside a large cake pan.
Funnels are often one of those items that you don’t think you’ll need… until the moment that you realize you need one. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you can improvise a funnel using a piece of tin foil! Just form a cone shape with the foil, and fold the edges over to keep the shape.
Tin foil is incredibly versatile, especially in the kitchen! Salmon filets in particular turn out perfectly moist and flaky when baked in tin foil pouches. (And don’t worry, cooking with tin foil is perfectly safe!)
Keep It Hot
Tin foil is very handy for keeping things warm, thanks to its reflective surface. If one part of your meal is ready before the rest of it, just wrap it up in tin foil to help keep it warm while the rest of the food finishes up.
If you’re baking something that you suspect may bubble while cooking, use tin foil to prevent a baked-on mess. Just line a cookie sheet with tin foil, and place the cookie sheet in the oven on the rack below what you’re cooking. If the dish bubbles over, it will land on the tin foil and you can just toss it out later.
Heavy-duty tin foil makes a great material to freeze things in because it doesn’t allow air to pass through. It will keep the flavors in, and the smells from other foods out! Wrap and freeze bread products, casseroles, and more.
Easy Breezy Clean-Up
One of the best ways to use tin foil is to protect large, hard-to-wash pans from greasy messes. Line the bottom of your roasting pan before roasting a turkey or pot roast, then toss out the foil when you’re done. Your roasting pan can go right back into the cupboard, rather than taking up your entire sink!
Use it as a pressure cooker lifter
Placing and lifting bowls into and out of a pressure cooker can be dangerous. Hot food, hot bowls, and slippery surfaces make for a situation fraught with danger. Aluminum foil makes an excellent lifting apparatus to safely and securely raise the precious contents of your pressure cooker without scalding your hands, arms, counter, floor, or curious dog. Just use a piece of aluminum foil that’s the size of your bowl plus about eight additional inches. You’re making a sling of sorts to lift out the bowl with your newly-made aluminum handles. Fold the foil lengthwise two or three times for strength, then place your bowl into the cooker with your shiny improvised lifter. Fold the handles down during cooking, then use them to lift out your hot bit of deliciousness.
Scrub the cast iron pan
Cast iron frying pans are phenomenal. They’re great, but cleanup is sometimes a disaster. Using salt and paper towels works most of the time, but egg and rice (and the combination thereof after fried rice) tend to grip the pan like limpets. With a little bit of crumpled aluminum foil, scrub off tough messes. This works anywhere you might find yourself scrubbing unusually hard like post-casserole Pyrex, forgot-about-the-pasta-and-all-the-water-boiled-off pots, and caramel that’s Maillard-ed to the point of crumbly blackness.
If your silverware has lost its shine, there’s an easy way to get it back! Place a sheet of tin foil at the bottom of a baking dish, and lay your silverware out on the foil. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking soda over the top. Finally, pour in several cups of hot water until the silverware is submerged. Let the silverware soak for 5 minutes, then remove, rinse, and enjoy the shine!
If your scissors are struggling to make cuts, you can sharpen them with tin foil. Take a piece of tin foil and fold it in half at least 3 times. Use the scissors to make several cuts on the foil, and your scissors will be noticeably sharper!
Taping off doorknobs when painting can be a total pain. Save yourself some time and effort by wrapping the knobs in tin foil! It’s easy to mold to the shape of the door knob, and you can toss it easily if you drip paint onto it.
Take It Camping
Tin foil makes a useful addition to your regular camping supplies. Wrap canned food in tin foil and toss them right into your campfire to heat them up! You can also use tin foil as a reflective signaling material should you get lost.
Light It Up
If you’re starting seeds indoors, they could use all the light they can get. One way to amplify the natural light is to line a shoebox with tin foil, and place your seedlings into the box. The foil will reflect the light (and heat!) onto the seedlings and help them grow.
Protect saplings from deer and rodents.
During the wintertime, the tender trunk bark of younger plants is a treat for starving animals. If you don’t want Bambi to make it to spring, just wrap your trunks in aluminum foil for the winter. It should protect your shrubbery until the rosy-fingered dawn brings warmer and longer days later in the year. Don’t leave it on while the plant is growing because it will need some room to grow.
Keep hungry slugs and bugs out.
You work hard on your garden only to see the fruits of your labor devoured by God’s creatures great and small. To keep the small ones from munching on your plants, make an aluminum foil mulch. Weed your bed, then lay normal weed block over it. Place aluminum foil, shiny side down, over the weed block to create a barrier that will send virus-spreading aphids elsewhere. (Reynolds also sells a special aluminum-treated paper for this purpose.) UC Davis suggests that it will work.
Catch ice-cream cone drips
Keep youngsters from making a mess of their clothes or your house by wrapping the bottom of an ice-cream cone (or a wedge of watermelon) with a piece of aluminum foil before handing it to them. This is the real reason aluminum foil has a dull and shiny side.