How Parchment Paper Saved Thanksgiving
Every year, families who celebrate Thanksgiving look forward to the feast while the cook in the house usually dreads the preparation and pressure of getting every dish plated properly with perfect piping hot portions.
Of course, in 2020 COVID-19 has a lot of our holiday plans pared down as we do whatever it takes to ensure that we can all gather around the table again as soon as possible.
If you are still planning to craft a multicourse meal for this non-traditional Thanksgiving, perhaps parchment paper can play a role in making preparation, cooking, and clean-up something a little less dreadful and a lot easier.
There are distinct memories of grandma getting upset if the entire Thanksgiving meal was not on everyone’s plates, at the perfect temperature, at 5pm on the dot. There are also distinct memories of her atrocious Miracle Whip and pea casserole, but let’s not go there… ever again.
There are also memories of miles of aluminum foil being used to try to keep food warm - and grandma happy – but, in hindsight, parchment paper may have saved the day. Let’s take a look at how this highly versatile, non-stick, non-toxic baking paper can help you put out multicourse meals at ideal temperatures. This is how Parchment Paper Saved Thanksgiving.
OVEN SAFE PARCHMENT PAPER MAKES THANKSGIVING COOKING EASIER
Everyone has that one drawer in the kitchen that they can barely open because it is so jammed full of awkwardly sized boxes of plastic wrap, aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic baggies, and of course some parchment paper.
The key to presenting a plate full of delicious and WARM food is to take advantage of every type of cooking element you have available to you and unlike all the rest of the products in that janky drawer of yours, parchment paper can help you out in all of them.
Let’s have a look at the most common types of ovens and how parchment paper works with each.
Most types of parchment paper offer a number in Fahrenheit, usually somewhere between 420°F and 475°F. This is the maximum recommended temperature that should be used inside the oven when parchment paper is being used. Above that and
There are stories all over the internet from folks who claim to have subjected their parchment paper to temperatures as high as 500°F with visible charring or failure of the paper. Some folks even bake their high-heat (500°F+) Thanksgiving turkeys on parchment paper, but nobody wants a visit from the fire department on a holiday so maybe just play it safe.
Another great trait of parchment paper is that it can withstand soaking, steam, and boiling without separating into its component fibers as you’d see with other types of paper. This means that you can safely use it to prepare parts of your Thanksgiving meal en papillote, or line the bottom of various vessels without worrying that it may tear or completely soak through.
For Thanksgiving, or any day, here are the safety tips for using parchment paper in different types of ovens:
PARCHMENT PAPER IN GAS OVENS
Do not expose parchment paper too close to an open flame when broiling or grilling or allow it to touch the walls of a preheated oven. One way to avoid that is to always use pre-cut parchment paper sheets to stay safe and avoid waste.
PARCHMENT PAPER IN ELECTRIC OVENS
Do not expose a parchment paper too close to the heating elements when broiling or grilling.
Any sheets of parchment paper that has become brittle, slightly singed, or shows any other sign of even minor failure from previous uses should not be reused in the oven.
PARCHMENT PAPER IN THE MICROWAVE OVEN
Using parchment paper in microwave ovens might be the best-kept secret for how to pull off a perfectly timed Thanksgiving meal. Not just for reheating leftovers, using parchment paper in your microwave is a fast and easy method of defrosting and rewarming cooked food. The microwave’s radiation flows through the parchment paper, heating the food inside and not the paper itself.
A couple basic Thanksgiving safety tips for using parchment paper in microwave ovens:
If you will be using a conventional microwave oven, be sure to wrap the parchment paper tightly around the microwave safe dish to make sure that the fan does not the paper off the food!
Consider using pre-cut parchment paper sheets in the microwave to save time and prevent waste.
PARCHMENT PAPER IN TOASTER OVENS
Toaster ovens function in a very similar way as electric ovens do, so the safety tips and the risks are almost identical. However, because the inside of a toaster oven is going to be smaller than the inside of a conventional oven, you will want to take extra precaution to make sure that no part of the parchment paper directly touches the heating elements or walls of the toaster oven. Again, that problem is easily solved by using pre-cut parchment paper and/or trimming and tucking the excess edges from oversize sheets.
Try using parchment paper for these toaster oven applications and let us know how it went:
Wrap annoying to cook food items like fish or chicken wings in parchment packets and cook on the toaster oven baking tray. (Chicken wings on Turkey Day?! Yeah buddy, it's 2020 anything goes!)
Use parchment paper to line the toaster oven baking trays to make cleanup a breeze when cooking with cheese.
PARCHMENT PAPER IN AIR FRYERS
Technically, you can use parchment paper in air fryers. The only real benefit is to possibly speed up the clean-up at the end, but most air fryers have a pretty good non-stick coating inside the cooking chamber. If you want to try it, you need to line the bottom of the air fryer basket with a perforated sheet parchment paper and place the food items directly on it. If you are wondering how to make perforated parchment paper, just fold at different angles and and use a scissors to cut out half-circles at different positions. When unfolded, you’ll have a random pattern of holes that will allow the heated air inside the air fryer to properly circulate.
With all of these cooking apparatus and a good supply of American made parchment paper in your kitchen you will have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.