Have you ever heard of someone using plastic wrap in the oven? You may have thought to yourself, “That can’t be right….” Unfortunately, many people have tried this with disastrous results.
Can you use plastic (saran) wrap in the oven? The short answer is no. Saran wrap can melt under high heat and release chemicals into your food. If you want to find a green and heat-resistant alternative, silicone caps or bags would be a safer and better option.
Although plastic wrap seems like it’s safe to use in the kitchen, it’s not always suitable for high-heat situations like an oven. In this blog, we will debunk the rumors about using plastic saran wrap in the oven and explore safe alternatives for cooking with plastics.
What Is Saran Wrap?
While some might take it for granted, Saran Wrap is a household staple that has been around for decades, providing convenience and practicality in the kitchen.
Saran Wrap is a thin plastic material that is widely used in food preservation and storage. Its generic name is cling film, referring to the material’s clingy, adhesive nature that keeps it tightly wrapped around food or containers.
Saran Wrap is made of polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), a type of plastic that is known for its water-resistant and oxygen-barrier properties. The PVDC creates a protective layer that prevents food from drying out or losing its flavor, especially when stored in the freezer or fridge.
The process of making Saran Wrap involves stretching and thinning out the PVDC material into a clear, transparent film. The film is then coated with a layer of food-grade polyethylene to make it more flexible and easier to handle.
The result is a thin, lightweight film that can be used for wrapping food, covering bowls or dishes, and sealing bags or packets. Saran Wrap comes in various sizes and lengths, from small rolls to giant ones, to fit different needs and occasions.
One of the benefits of using Saran Wrap is that it can help reduce food waste and save money.
By covering or wrapping food with Saran Wrap, one can prolong its freshness and extend its shelf life. This is particularly useful for leftovers, fruits, veggies, and bakery items that tend to go stale or moldy quickly.
Saran Wrap can also help prevent leaks and spills from containers and thus minimize mess and cleaning time. With Saran Wrap, you can easily pack food for picnics, parties, or trips, without worrying about the food getting damaged or exposed.
Can You Use Plastic (Saran) Wrap in the Oven?
So, is it safe to use Saran Wrap in the oven? The short answer is No!
Saran Wrap cannot withstand temperatures higher than 257 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it surpasses that temperature, it melts, and the chemicals can leach into the food.
PVDC has been linked to health concerns such as cancer and hormonal disruption, although the evidence is inconclusive and often controversial. Therefore, it is not safe to use saran wrap in the oven.
Does Saran Wrap Melt in the Oven?
Saran wrap, also known as plastic wrap or cling film, is made of polyethylene that comes in various thicknesses. Polyethylene is not heat resistant and is prone to melting when exposed to high temperatures.
Using Saran Wrap in baking or cooking is not advisable, as it will melt and ruin the food completely.
When Saran Wrap is heated in the microwave or oven, it releases harmful chemicals such as dioxins and other toxins that are harmful to the environment and humans. Ingesting food contaminated with these toxins can lead to cancer and other health problems.
Alternatives to Using Saran Wrap in the Oven
If you want to cover your food in the oven, you can use aluminum foil or parchment paper. These are safe and heat-resistant materials that can withstand high temperatures in the oven, making them a better alternative to Saran Wrap.
Aluminum foil is great for the oven because, in addition to sealing the food tightly and keeping the flavors intact, it can also work as a heat dispersant. The foil will help distribute the heat evenly throughout the dish so that it will cook evenly.
If using parchment paper, ensure that it doesn’t touch the heating element, as it can cause a fire.
The third option is using heat-resistant plastic wrap alternatives, such as silicone baking mats or oven bags. These products are reusable, easy to clean, and built to withstand high heat. Wrap your food with these alternatives instead of risking it with plastic wrap.
Best Way to Use Saran Wrap
Saran wrap is useful for covering leftovers or food that you want to put in the refrigerator or freezer. You can also use it as an alternative to aluminum foil or plastic containers for storing food, as long as it’s not exposed to high heat.
To cover food with saran wrap, place the wrapped food on a plate or in a container. The plastic will cling to itself, forming an airtight seal around your food. This makes it perfect for storing foods like cookies, cakes, and sandwiches without them getting stale before you can eat them.
Saran wrap is an excellent material to use when you want to keep food fresh in the fridge or freezer.
How to Use Saran Wrap Safely
There are several risks associated with using Saran Wrap improperly. In fact, the product can pose a serious health hazard if not used correctly. To help you avoid any unfortunate incidents, here are some tips on how to use Saran Wrap safely.
1. Know What Saran Wrap is Made of
Saran Wrap is essentially polyethylene, a type of plastic that can leach harmful chemicals when it comes into contact with food. Therefore, it’s important to know the material and the potential risks associated with using them.
2. Don’t Use Saran Wrap for Hot Foods
If you’re covering a hot dish, never use Saran Wrap. The heat can melt the plastic, and the chemicals can transfer to your food. Instead, use a glass or ceramic container with a lid or a heat-safe plastic wrap that’s specifically designed for high-temperature cooking.
3. Don’t Wrap Acidic Food Items
Acidic foods like citrus fruits and vinegar can cause Saran Wrap to break down, which can lead to the release of harmful chemicals. Instead, use a container with an airtight lid to store acidic items.
4. Avoid Using Saran Wrap in the Microwave and Oven
As Saran Wrap is not heat resistant, it’s best to avoid using it in the microwave as it can release chemicals into your food. Instead, use microwave-safe containers or a plate to cover your food.
Similarly, Saran wrap is not safe for use in the oven because it can melt under high heat. Instead, opt for oven-safe options like aluminum foil, parchment paper, or silicone covers.
5. Do Not Reuse Saran Wrap
While it may be tempting to reuse Saran Wrap to save on waste, it’s not recommended. Reusing Saran Wrap can cause bacteria to grow and transfer from the previous use, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Always use a new piece of Saran Wrap for each use.
Green Alternatives to Saran Wrap
There are plenty of environmentally-friendly alternatives that still provide the same convenience and functionality. If you do not want to use Saran Wrap, there are other options available to you:
Silicone Freezer Bags
These freezer bags are made from silicone, which is reusable and can be washed out with hot water or put in the dishwasher before use.
One excellent option is beeswax wraps. These wraps are made of organic cotton coated with beeswax to make them waterproof, making them both biodegradable and washable.
They’re perfect for wrapping up fruits, veggies, sandwiches, and more and can even be used to cover bowls and plates.
Silicone covers are another great alternative to Saran Wrap. They’re made from BPA-free silicone, can be reused over and over, and are heat-resistant, making them perfect for the oven, microwave, or even the dishwasher.
They are available in a wide range of sizes and are also great for covering bowls and plates.
If you’re looking to completely ditch plastic wrap, glass containers may be the way to go. They’re non-toxic and don’t release any harmful chemicals, plus they’re perfect for storing leftovers and prepping meals.
Not only are they more eco-friendly, but they also provide added convenience because they’re often microwave and oven safe.
Biodegradable Wrapping Paper
For wrapping up sandwiches or snacks, consider using biodegradable wrapping paper. There are plenty of options available made from recycled materials and coated with natural wax or plant-based materials. They’re also versatile and can be used to wrap small gifts or goods.
Another old-school option that has made a comeback is cloth covers. You can use cotton, linen, or hemp to create your own custom covers that are perfect for covering bowls, containers, bread, and more.
They’re completely washable and also provide an added layer of insulation for your food.