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Be Food Safe

In many cultures of the world food is cooked and served on a leaf. Sometimes the leaf is to be devoured with the dish and sometimes not. Why go far, in Southern India dosa is traditionally served on a banana leaf which is hygienic, flexible and waterproof way of serving your food. This banana leaf is also used in cooking. The food is wrapped with banana leaf and steamed to perfection. The leaf imparts a subtle sweet flavour to the dish, lends an overwhelming aroma and acts as a platter for serving. Not just south India, the culture of using banana leaf is widely popular in many other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, China Vietnam.

In Mexico, their popular breakfast Tamales are steamed and cooked wrapped in a corn cob leaf and served in the same leafy wrapper. Similarly, in many countries bamboo barks are used as natural eco friendly packaging material. The list is endless. However, over years the culture of using leaves as food wrapping and packaging material has been replaced by clay, ceramic, metal and now plastic. This advent has been, not only a disaster for environment but has also exposed our food to a number of hazards. The plastic reacts with our food and makes it toxic. Also, the plastic doesn’t biodegrade itself. When it breaks it readily soaks up and releases toxins that then contaminate soil and water.

It’s understandable, the world is moving at a fast pace where everything is portable and in a hurry. Fast food chains are mushrooming up with junk food and adopting unsafe ways of cooking and serving them. On the other hand, finding such leaves appropriate for wrapping and cooking food can be quite a task. They may not be readily available or may be too expensive. So the pertinent question arises what are the other safer available food wrapping material, which does not cause havoc to the environment, are safe to use and sound on your pocket?

  1. Of Course, nothing replaces the good old Banana Leaf. As discussed earlier, they are convenient, safe and natural product used both for cooking and serving.
  2. Traditional cotton towels can be used to wrap lunches. However, care has to be taken to wash them after every single usage. Otherwise, they themselves can be a storehouse of germs and highly unsafe for the food you wrap in it. You can cook your food wrapped in parchment paper or en papillote
  3. Use of good quality Food wrapping Paper is a safer way of wrapping food for storage, for taking aways and hygienic lunch boxes.
  4. Parchment Paper is another multi-purpose and safer option. It can be used for baking, wrapping and even lining confections.
  5. Airtight containers are another option, but they have their own limitation. They are to be washed after every usage. They are not very compact and not that light weight and of course, they can be messy as the food can spill inside the container.