Many survival preppers believe that aluminum foil is the most valuable everyday kitchen supply we have. It can be used in hundreds of ways limited only by your imagination and creativity. Here are ten ideas to get you started.
1. Pack aluminum foil to take up as little space as possible by tearing off a sheet and folding it into a compact shape to fit your gear.
2. Make a reusable foil pouch for cooking just about anything. Even the toughest game will tenderize when wrapped in foil and slow-cooked. Add vegetables and seasonings to taste.
3. Boil water by folding a sheet of foil into a square pot. Be careful handling the heated metal to avoid burns and poking holes in the foil. You can stabilize your make-shift container by setting it on a rack with bars set close together. Always boil water from an untrusted source before drinking or cooking with it. Heat the water to a rolling boil (very bubbly) for at least one minute.
4. Build a solar oven. First, line the inside of a cardboard box with foil, put a dark-colored pot (which will absorb heat better than a light-colored one) in an oven bag and put the bagged pot in the oven box. Orient the open side of the oven box toward the sun and – presto – feel the heat. This simple oven can raise the temperature to 180F which is a low conventional oven heat capable of slow-cooking food and pasteurizing water.
5. Go fish. Wrap some foil around an unbaited fish hook to resemble a small baitfish. Fish aren’t very bright and they go for shiny prey. I caught a fish on an unbaited unhook. Adding a foil lure or even a square of foil to the hook or sinkers can attract reluctant fish and get them to bite.
6. Signal for help. Shiny aluminum foil can be used as an emergency mirror to flash as a sign for assistance. It can also be shaped to reflect sunlight or torn into fluttering strips before attaching to branches to identify your location. Find a spot where the foil can be seen from the air or a road. Mark your path with dangling foil for a highly visible message that you are lost or need aid.
7. Sharpen blunted scissors by cutting aluminum foil that has been folded over two or three times to thicken it. This really works!
8. Make a candle handle. Keep hot wax from dripping on your hands by folding some foil to thicken it, then tear a hole in the center and push the candle through. Shape the foil into a cup or bowl to collect the wax.
9. Block wind around your campfire or other heat source with a wall of aluminum foil. For extra stability, wrap each of the two sides around a tent stake (or sharpened stick). Leave enough bare stake at the bottom so you can pound them into the ground. Position the barrier upwind of your heat source.
10. Clean metal pots and pans, and utensils by balling up some foil to make a scrubbing pad. Don’t use metal foil on Teflon or other non-stick surfaces because it will scratch and damage them. You can even your grill after using it by covering the grate completely with a sheet of foil. This traps the heat and acts like a self-cleaning oven. Don’t throw the foil cover away – ball it up and use it to scrub the grate.
Aluminum foil has so many uses in emergency situations that it is a must-have in your bug out bags. Stock up when it goes on sale.
One final tip: aluminum foil is available from several manufacturers and varies a lot in quality. If you are tempted to use an “off brand” of foil, buy one roll and do a home test. Compare its strength to other brands of foil: will it tear off the roll without shredding? Then, decide if it makes sense to pay a little more money for a higher-quality product.