crumpled aluminum foil

Mom and Grandma always had aluminum foil in their kitchens. They used it for everything from freezing meat and leftovers to tenting over chicken in the oven and covering the burners on the stove for easy cleanup.

At the holidays, they relied on aluminum foil when they cooked the turkey. And they used it to line the pans for side dishes like Mom’s stuffed mushrooms. If we had any leftovers, Mom or Grandma would wrap them in that same foil for us to take home.

But my most vivid memory of aluminum foil takes me back to my school days. Mom wrapped our sandwiches in it for our school lunches. Foil was so handy and it had so many uses!

Mom found aluminum foil so essential that it was one item she bought even though it was expensive. She would watch the prices and buy more than one roll when it was on sale. “Hey, it won’t go bad,” she used to say. When Mom had a friend who was a member of a price club, they would buy a four-pack of aluminum foil together and split it. They both saved money that way and had extra foil for later.

These days, I always have a roll of aluminum foil in my kitchen. I use it mostly to wrap foods that I freeze and for baking or roasting in the oven. I reuse it as many times as I can if I didn’t use it to store meat. And after its last use, I clean off any food from the foil, crumple it into a ball, and toss it in with the recycling.

Aluminum foil is one of my favorite food storage options, along with jars and large yogurt containers. Foil isn’t expensive if I shop carefully, and the jars and yogurt containers are free with the food that I buy. And at the end of their usefulness, all of them can be recycled.

Feature image courtesy of Pascal on Flickr

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.