By Cheryl Brown

There is so much you never even knew to ask!

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  1. It started with candy...and birds. Aluminum foil was introduced in France in 1903, but it didn't enter the world of food until 1908, when Swiss chocolate maker Tobler (known for its iconic triangular Toblerone bar) started tucking its chocolate bars into foil. United States production began in 1913, with foil's first commercial use as identification leg bands for racing pigeons. That same year, Life Savers candies was founded and began wrapping its Pep O Mints in tin foil (it switched to aluminum in 1925) to keep them fresh.
  2. Tin was once in. It was the original metal used to make foil wrap, but aluminum proved less expensive and more durable, and pushed tin out of the picture. Some people still call aluminum foil "tin foil," but it doesn't have a trace of tin in it.
  3. There is no "better" side. Aluminum foil has a shiny side and a dull side, a result of the manufacturing process in which layers of foil pass through a rolling mill. But one side is not functionally different from the other, unless you're using nonstick foil. (In that case, put food on the treated, or dull, side.) So no matter how you wrap leftovers, bake a potato, or grill veggies in foil, the heat will conduct just the same.
  4. It can help loosen up a block of brown sugar. When your brown sugar turns into a brick in your cupboard, wrap it in aluminum foil and put it in a 300°F oven for five minutes.
  5. It can keep celery crisp! Celery gets droopy quick in the fridge; keep it crisp by wrapping it tightly in aluminum foil. Unlike a plastic bag, the foil allows ethylene gas (which causes wilting) to escape.

—NANETTE27


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